2018 comes into being after a strangely mixed year of brave, awaited change and surrounding ominous happenings—hope and woe. Gladly I recognize in me, a reorienting universal energy, bārāq, a capacity that flows out of humility to listen to the universal wisdom that is resident in old and new traditions ("Let one who hears, hear") and a readiness to respond meaningfully with the gift of life (embodied intentionality), the courage to be and wonder among all that we view and experience around us.
Mark Jarman lyrically captures this spirit in “Psalm 5”.
Lord of dimensions and the dimensionless,
Wave and particle, all and none,
Who lets us measure the wounded atom,
Who lets us doubt all measurement,
When in this world we betray you
Let us be faithful in another.
I am concentrating on the virtue and dynamism of wonder, conveyed in this paradox of thought by John O'Donohue: “All thinking that is imbued with wonder is graceful and gracious thinking . . . And thought, if it’s not open to wonder, can be limiting, destructive and very, very dangerous.
James Baldwin embodied much woe in his bones of experience, learned and preached with his life and writing courageously of the need for wonder and offered to the world the all-important call to each individual—“to know yourself.” “An artist is a sort of emotional or spiritual historian [whose] role is to make you realize the doom and glory of knowing who you are and what you are.”
We are doomed, in the sense that we cannot unshackle ourselves from the world. Yet each one of us is privileged to be stewards of the inner life, which is accessible only through thought--a proper reverential of attention. We human beings carry with us a human identity and potential for ongoing human growth; this requires finding some kind of balance between the privilege and the doom or the inevitability of carrying within us this incurably painful human condition—reality as a whole, which Karl Jaspers called “the Encompassing.
Jason Silva is a post-modern philosopher who acts out rhetorically philological thought as the ancients did. Here he challenges his audience to take over the cognitive (perceptional) mechanisms to become what it is you are beholding.
Stewardship of internal life ultimately means taking control of your movie—this is key to any and all satisfaction; to invest in immersive experiences that catapult you into trance that steers/captivates one’s awareness so that you enter a state of liminality that fuses cognition and dream, the space of poetry, the space of reverie [transcendence].
This year’s challenges reveal the ground of being, more fully known, felt, more stable, feeding the courage to be among the growing circle of influences within the inner river of life while facing and engaging the outer world more awakened. For me and you: what kind of habits or practices might cultivate a way of imaginal wonderment that becomes a bridge between the two worlds, the inner self and the outer world and turn our minds toward the good for the sake of self, the other and the planet?