In response to the first post, people sent in descriptions of living at our best, providing an enduring resource for our conversation. (The post remains open for added comments for 20 days, and you can comment on others’ comments.) These descriptions also provide a good introduction to today’s topic.
Soon this weblog will enter a path of thoroughness, a sequence involving several themes, an approach to living in truth, beauty, and goodness. But we can get lost in the details of a path if we do not stay in touch with the way of simplicity–the kind of simplicity that so many of you expressed in your recent comments. Scott wrote of living life in the moment (a moment nourished by a perspective embracing past, present, and future). Tonia referred to the love of our Father. Pat spoke of doing good to others. Janet wrote of being “fully alive being with a group of people of all ages and backgrounds, united in celebrating our one global family.” Joy related with evident good humor her ability to “’live at my better’ and aim for the best.” For Maradeth it’s a fresh spiritual feeling of cheerfulness looking toward what God’s will brings each day. Charlie told of a clarity linked with “functioning fluidly, without doubt, without question,” when “any ‘I’ that is operational is dissolved: There is no singularity, only relationality, and I mean relationality in any context.” Mahtab wrote of physical, intellectual, spiritual, or blended experiences that feel like an end in themselves. Sherry wrote of loving and being loved in alignment with the Father’s will. James Perry feels integrated and complete when revealing our heavenly Father by truly helping someone with a real need. Karmo briefly indicated a variety of situations of excellent acting and relating in a way that conveyed real depth.
Although people interpret the way of simplicity in terms of different concepts, some concepts recur and cluster together again and again. The convergence of high concepts indicates a harmony of experience. At its depth, the way of simplicity is one.
Honesty demands the way of simplicity when any other approach would be evasive. There are times when it is evasive to ask how, to ask for a method, a list of steps. For example, if we experience the powerful appeal of a person who is spiritually advanced, if we trust our intuition and mobilize ourselves, we can break through and come into the divine Presence, wake up to truth, feel the beauty, and follow goodness. The way of simplicity is the altar call, the Zen gesture, the revelatory proclamation, the decisive action, the enthusiastic hug.
Here’s the example that I promised last time, an example of living at our best with a twist. In an aesthetics class, I asked students to recall an experience of truth, and this was given (with permission to share it) by Sydney Jordan. “For me, truth is a feeling of satisfaction. Not in the way of feeling full and satisfied after a meal, but rather a sense of wholeness. For example, my family has a rather large garden that we work every summer. This past summer was the first time I was allowed to have a crop of my own. The feeling I got from the start when the ground is first turned to the harvest is a sense of completeness. At the end of each session in the garden I am dirty, sweaty, and tired, but it is my hard work and dedication that produces something good. People that do what I do need determination, hard work, patience. Being in the garden every summer is a truth for me. We plant it, care for it, wait, and it grows then feeds us and others. Truth is what is there when all of the fancy is taken away. Truth is understanding the value of things, that all things have value and are in some way connected.”
I have a request of you today. As you express the simplicity of living at your best, you mention core concepts. If you can reasonably find the time, would you please share an experience that has deepened for you the meaning of one of these concepts? We have seen how teamwork greatly multiplies results. Thank you for your silent and verbal responses.
The photo is from Wikimedia Commons.