As we cope with the sound of the ‘multitude’ in daily life, we have to keep awake if we want to ask what is going on, who is there, what is happening.
Clare Coburn who taught us so much more about storytelling last weekend, told me of a man who responded to her question, “How do you hear?”, by answering “With my whole body”.
This has resonance to what Otto Scharmer describes when he quoted a violinist who was playing in a Cathedral. The musician, described feeling intensely aware of himself at first, then focusing on the musical piece and the violin; then breathing out to sensing the audience, but then, expanding into the full experience of his playing as he sensed that the whole cathedral and all within it were the instrument creating the music. The performance was carried into and experienced in a higher realm.
When we have the ability (and skill) to retain an inner focus that takes in the whole of what is happening with our whole selves but is still able to assert our individual part in it, including our questions — then we are more awake to the possibility of contemporary human being.
This segways into the previous week — which I didn’t write about — in which a Vow of Poverty bears its own riches. When there is no profit motive and no evident benefit, when we are exposed to our surroundings and those in it, vulnerable and awake, we begin to face the sheer wonder and even potential terror of this human life on earth. Erich Fromm eloquently expresses his view when he writes “Man is life becoming aware of itself: he has awareness of himself, of his fellow man, of his past, and of the possiblities of his future. This awareness of himself as a separate entitiy, the awareness of his own short life span, of the fact that without his will he is born and against his will he dies, that he will die before those whom he loves, or they before him, the awareness of his aloneness and separateness, of his helplessness before the forces of nature and of society, all this makes his separate, disunited existence an unbearable prison. He would become insane could he not liberate himself from this prison and reach out, unite himself in some form or other with men, with the world outside”.
And I must now divert Fromm’s thesis and will add, ” and to his/her divine origins and existence”. In sensing an ever greater reality in our existence and to not be diverted by a crowd of information, views, demands, and distractions, but to ask for and listen for the essential Voice of Love and Be – longing in our very existence, which is there for us, all we need is Ourselves.
(Luke 9: 1 – 17, for last week, and this week, Luke 18: 35 – 43)