Wholeness

June is spent. This new month comes rushing out of the depths of time, a gift for all of us alive and participating in life. Though I want to live in each moment, I often forget to be mindful. The Tibetan Buddhist monastery up the road from me had an open house festival or celebration the other day. I did not go since I am not a Buddhist, but should have gone just to learn how they celebrate being alive.

I stayed up late last night by the camp fire and talked with my Oregon sister-in-law. She tells me Oregon has been cold, foggy, rainy, as if there will be no summer. Seasonal affective disorder is real for some who must have sunlight. Some of her acquaintances have had to move because of the disorder. I know that my own feelings are heavily influenced by the weather. In many of my journal entries, which I customarily write early in the morning, I make some note of what the sky looks like, whether rain, sun, fog, or brilliant sunrise, because the outside conditions set up conditions inside of me for that day.

I’m reading more of Schleiermacher today. I learned of his writings when studying New England transcendentalist Ralph Waldo Emerson. Emerson has always been among my cultural heroes. Something about his clarity of vision, but I am forever trying to tease out the meaning of some of his long and dense paragraphs. When reading his biography, Mind of Fire, I could see that Schleiermacher spurred Emerson to many of his most astute thoughts and observations about the nature of reality. Both owe much of their intellectual acquisitions to Plato. Religious truth is not words, creeds, or church services. It is more like an intuition that comes to life in my feelings. Faith, or the lack thereof, rings true to me through my emotions. My inner life is influenced by what is around me in the physical realm, such as the weather. My feelings do not easily distinguish between these two sources of input. I can have this sense that I am one with the creator of the universe and simultaneously be inspired by a brilliantly colored sunrise. Both things, creator and sunrise, reside in one universe. Plato describes a universe where the metaphysical and the physical are inseparable, which modern folks would like to see snapped apart into smaller pieces.

The discovery this past week of the Higgs-Boson particle in the research reactor in Switzerland is an example of some of that fracturing of the universe that modern science likes to do. Now that we have found this elusive particle that gives mass to the atoms of the universe, we are able to reproduce the big bang that first lit up the universe and brought it to life. Our understanding of a few basic principles may have changed, but the universe itself has not. Perhaps our newly acquired knowledge will help us in our growth to whatever we as a world of people must become. For me, my sense of wonder and beauty about the universe is only increased, instead of being lessened. The new thing we have found that holds all together is profoundly special, obscure, sacred, complete, and whole.

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