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Image by Daria Petrilli

There comes a time when we must allow something timeless to touch us in order to truly change and move beyond our fixed attitudes and limited understanding of the mysteries of life. When it seems like all might end in disaster, it becomes a question of finding the deeper imagination of life, the enduring patterns and essential stories that reunite us to the pulse of nature and the heart of culture.”

I’m not talking in religious terms, I’m talking in the old language of spirit and soul and saying what so many old stories say, that we are each secretly connected to something divine and to the dream of the world, which must take a new shape again, as it has done many times. And when it does, we will be asked to be there and to see it with new eyes. But for this moment, I’m reminded of something written by Ikkyu, that wild Zen poet and monk, who sought to remind us that no matter what circumstances of sequester we might find ourselves in, “we cannot help but be who we are and where.”

We may have to suffer a time of surprising restriction. But the old idea was that freedom is actually the active, imaginative mind. And another old idea stated that the unimaginative mind is paralyzed by its own doubt. And if we refuse to feel the doubt and suffer the despair, and if we deny the feelings flooding through us and flooding through the world, we may not find that deeper place. — Michael Meade

The problem is we are not looking for a deeper place. We’re looking for a comfortable place. A comforting place, an unchallenging place. But the world seldom agrees to give us that easy life, and if it does it’s to our detriment because we remain shallow. We won’t grow if we don’t have to.

Restriction, doubt, despair? That doesn’t sound like fun, does it? The movement of human events makes it inevitable that we will be called upon to imagine a better way simply because our vision of how to conduct ourselves is so lacking in depth.

We find ourselves now at one of those crossroads where the old ways are collapsing of their own internal logic and we must imagine a better way. The mental equipment to accomplish this task rests on our ability to imagine, which implies an inner freedom. The freedom to see things afresh, to question and change.

The forces of entropy will fight mightily for the status quo, you can be sure of that, but it’s a status quo that is killing us and killing the natural world we live in. New thoughts and new ways are tender shoots at the moment. They will need nurturing, but they will be coming fast and furiously now. Human beings are creative. Visionaries live among us. They have just had a small voice until recently. Maybe we will start to listen, though.

Our political and financial leaders can’t be relied on to see a better way, for the most part. I look to the creators and mystics, the thinkers and artists. Those are the people who are paying attention to the Soul of the World, to the subtle energies and connections of the whole paradigm we inhabit.

We live in a mystery, after all. We are guessing where we come from and where we’re going. We have our facile stories and explanations that we’re too easily satisfied by, that stop us from looking more closely at things. The occasional jolt, like now, causes some of us to awaken from our dream, for at least for a bit. The tendency is to roll over and go back to sleep, unfortunately.

Maybe enough of us can stay awake this time. It’s not easy, as the fever circles the globe, testing our courage and intelligence. We’re not used to facing death so closely, in our culture at least. It’s a shock. We hunker down and wait, hoping the angel of death will pass over us.

Our culture hides and attempts to sanitize death. We have a habit of fighting even the realization that we die, that we will die. We try not to think of it. We have a chance at this juncture to face facts, that we are mortal and that in our brief time here we can add to or subtract from this beautiful planet. The choice is ours.

This is a good time for humans to become more humane.

Written by

I occasionally write fiction and also about creativity, loving, language learning and travel. I’m a longtime painter and reader.

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