Monday, November 7, 2005

INTROSPECTION

Lisa made the comment that a lot of us in journal land seem to be getting very introspective these days. I can’t speak for anybody else but I always have been prone to introspection. It’s just more conscious right now.

 

For me it’s the realization that all the sturm and drang that fills the news these days are the symptoms. They aren’t the disease. I guess I’m trying the get closer to the roots of the disease. I find the unity between the physical and spiritual world in Celtic spirituality to be very comforting and maybe part of the answer.

 

We keep trying to treat the symptoms. It’s like trying to get up a muddy slope. Each time we get a little way we slide back and we never quite make it as far as we did before. A little further away from the light every time we slide back until we’re cold, tired, covered with mud and ready strike out at anything the seems to get in our way.

 

It appears too easy for too many people to use the Bible’s claim of a separate creation for humans as an excuse to not take care of the rest of the God’s creation. Here is a statistic for you. Scientist’s have mapped the genetic code for humans and many other creatures. There is an approximate four percent difference in the gene code between humans and chimps and approximately six percent for dogs. That means that over ninety percent of the genetic code does the same job for most of the creatures on the planet, especially mammals. We all breathe, digest, move our muscles, chew, swallow, create the substances our bodies need to work,  and so on pretty much the same way.

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But oh that four to six percent. In that small difference you will find color vision, stereoscopic vision, fully upright posture, the ability to walk upright, fully opposable thumbs, (even apes can’t touch their thumbs to their first finger the way humans can) and spoken language. Apes have learned sign language and some symbolic computer created languages, but cannot speak as we do. The speech center in the human brain appears to be unique.

 

Apes make simple tools, sticks to fish for termites for example. They can pile objects to reach food that’s just out of reach. But I’m not sure if they stockpile sticks or big rocks for a rainy day. The ability to project ourselves into the future, to visualize possible futures and act on them may be unique to human beings. At least unique among land animals.

 

Unfortunately, that imagination also allows us to make war, find ways to oppress and dispossess our neighbors, and generally act in ways that “brute creation” never has and probably never will. Cats may not build cathedrals (they probably wouldn’t see the need for them even if they could) but they don’t make war, build torture chambers or death camps. And I fear that is our blessing and our curse.

 

We can build huge monuments to honor our conception of the Creator. But I’ve never felt in a building what I feel on the edge of a cliff above the waves at high tide or deep in a grove of trees. I can’t describe it. I suspect you all know what I mean and if anybody has found the words I’d love to hear about it. I don’t feel dwarfed so much as complete. It’s that “oh, these are the pieces that I didn’t even know were missing” feeling. Your soul feels like it’s glowing and you feel all warm and as if the cork has just been pulled from the bottle of champagne. It’s scary and wonderful. Does any of this make any sense?

 

I take it back I did feel this in church once. And guess I’m lucky to feel it even once. The cross on the wall behind the alter and organ in the sanctuary is lit so that it appears that the head and shoulder of a man are on the wall behind the cross. I’d just gone through the membership class again and it was communion Sunday. For just a moment all the pieces of the puzzle seemed to fall into place and I felt “something” that I can’t describe. I have never felt that inside a building since. 

1 comment:

lisaram1955 said...

I can only feel that overwhelming feeling of gratitude to the Creator when I am out of doors.  It doesn't even have to be someplace spectacular, or witnessing something spectacular.  Often times the tiniest miracles make me the most breathless.  Lisa  :-]