Iris Murdoch (1919-1999) used to say that love was the sudden realisation that somebody else absolutely exists.*
Perhaps that was the real quest of this adventure, the infinite quest for connection with everything, everyone, everywhere, always – the quest to let down my barriers, let go of my agendas and expectations, and simply be open to who and what may come, now and next.**
There are two important things emerging from the time of coronavirus lockdown for me which need to be pursued as we emerge into a new future: #blacklivesmatter and hope for the young unemployed. Both are concerned with recognising the beauty, wonder, dignity and contribution of every person.
It is not a matter of wondering whether this will become a pivotal moment in history; we must make it so.
A number of texts came together this morning and I share them here.
I love the description of Brian McLaren for his trip to the Galapagos Islands because they also describe the life-quest we find ourselves within: to be fully connected and open to the possibility of a new humanity and a new earth.
Wendell Berry expresses how this quest begins in solitude:
One’s inner voices become audible. One feels the attraction of one’s most inner sources. In consequence, one responds more clearly to other lives.^
When life finds us out, we can go to great efforts to avoid looking within at our own embarrassment, guilt or shame and yet it is within that we find our seed of hope, and this far more powerful than anything we may hide from.
Karen Armstrong describes the growth of this seed in ekstasis: “the state of being beside one’s self or rapt [carried away] of one’s self:”
The aim of this step is threefold: (1) to recognise and appreciate the unknown and unknowable; (2) to become sensitive to over-confident assertions of certainty in ourselves and other people; and (3) to make ourselves aware of the numinous mystery of each human being we encounter during the day.*
Here is a journey I also came across in Theory U, taking us from the centre of ourselves to the edge and then to step beyond the edge and into the other where co-possibility is to be found in co-imagination, co-operation and co-creation:
Gloria in ekstasis!
(*From Karen Armstrong’s Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life.)
(**From Brian McLaren’s God Unbound.)
(^Wendell Berry, quoted in Maria Popova’s Brain Pickings: Wendell Berry on Solitude and Why Pride and Despair Are the Two Great Enemies of Creativity.)