Midnight Musing

by Rosemary Gray-Snelgrove

If I am at present wobbly of faith, am I letting go of the assurance that I matter?

I Matter – I’m Part of the Significant Set

If we believe that:

a)                  a spark of God’s spirit is in us (God being the essential creative source in the Universe)

b)                  God loves every inch of his creation…

then we can imagine that we matter. We’re hooked into something so fundamental and important, along with everybody else who is part of the Family, that we’re not just a speck of nothingness.  Our being here is meaningful because we’re part of the life force of the Universe.  And we’re loved.

It’s a really good feeling.

 Oops, I’m Really Insignificant

Ah.  But.  If we decide that a divine personal entity doesn’t make sense, we’re out of the only loop that matters.  (Maybe).  We’re left with being infinitely insignificant.  Our puny reality – up against which we come periodically or regularly (tip of the hat to chronic existential depressives) – is quite painful. It may be too painful to permit the courage to go on.  Afloat in the massive loneliness of space.

It can happen when I look in the bathroom mirror at night and realize all my ordinariness and remember I’m an organism just like billions of others, with a brain that runs me.  And my time is running out – oh, that’s downer too.

 Need to be Part of a Narrative

So one of these outlooks feels good and one feels awful.

Taking a step back, it’s clear that I like, I need, a narrative.  I need to be part of a bigger story to keep the good feeling that my existence is part of something.

Fitting into God’s story has felt more than fine.  Glorious at times.  But increasingly, some of that story doesn’t feel fair or moral.  Jezebel.  Thrown to the dogs by God’s prophet for not giving up her faith.  God – part of a system of power that I’ve rejected as being the antithesis of loving relationship.

Nonetheless, the best story around still tends to be the God story, especially when Jesus enters, where inclusive all-encompassing love triumphs, notwithstanding some misery along the way  And where we have a part to play.  We each matter in furthering the experiment Jesus leads us into:  living love, beyond power.

[Problem!  Was the sacrifice, is sacrifice, necessary to freedom and love?  Oh – there’s another whole night’s musings.]

A Theory About the Need for Social Meaning

I believe that we need to know that we have some impact on our part of the world (that to which we relate).  It can be positive or negative or both, with many different degrees on different days.  But we help move God’s story along. There isn’t yet scientific evidence of that – of the significance of our individual energies on the body of the world — but I like it as a theory.

Another Problem with the No-God Version of Life

What about the negative impact on ourselves if we blow it and do something that we and our community consider ‘bad’.  Hurtful to another.  Something that puts us outside the comfortable norm. Without a forgiveness process – which I think exists only within religious communities – how do we find our way back in?   Social meaning has to have some permeability – allowing some in and out.  Jesus’s narrative allows for that.

 Is There an Alternative to the God/No-God Positions?

If standing outside God’s story, is there a possible alternate one that can provide both social meaning and forgiveness ?

Some must live bravely, outside anyone else’s story, looking only to the people around them for a valid purpose.  Family, friends, neighbours, colleagues maybe provide the story, with one’s own history being the narrative that matters.

 Or do some embrace the aloneness, cherishing and able to protect their senses off  having a significant self?

 Diana, in her Comment on this blog of July 12th, spoke of tuning into some high frequency of the mind that she thought was perhaps the God realm. Maybe we’re simply here to get to that frequency of the universal, whenever and however we can  Thus the appeal of mind-altering drugs for some.

 It’s a very very inward reality if that’s the truth.  Unless we all tune in together.  Is that what communal prayer is?

 A Private Note

Personally (really- what else is this blog but personal!) I’ve always longed toward that comforting light and warmth – what I learned to call God.  I’ve felt companionship, comfort, challenge, urging, command, and in these last couple of years, clear direction..  I have thought of it as walking near Jesus.

Romantic longing  Is that what it is?

Please, if you can, tell me of your personal sense of these matters.  Does anything else matter as much?

Finally . . . 

Thank you to those to whom I’m writing – the ones who will read this.  With love.

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3 Comments

Filed under A Bigger Circle, Rosemary's entries

3 responses to “Midnight Musing

  1. Mike Gouthro

    Pondering the mysteries of why we exist, what our life missions are, and what part of us survives our deaths is as addicting to me as it likely was to my ancestor who lived 50,000 years ago. It seems we’re all wired for curiosity and an urge to not merely survive as long as we can but to persist beyond physical death.

    Unlike some folks, I have never had any supernatural glimpses nor any paranormal experiences. So I have nothing beyond my own thinking to explain and validate my urge for immortality. My thoughts on these big questions are based entirely on casual research, logical analysis and speculation. Yet I intuitively disagree with some rationalists who claim these very questions are pointless because they cannot be tested in the scientific sense.

    Organic life has transformed the earth in dramatic ways not observed on dead planets. Life can be as basic as procreation and self preservation, and as complex as self awareness, empathy and tenderness in more evolved species. None of these traits can be shown to have a higher strategic purpose beyond making immediate life more successful.

    But when I observe human traits like abstract reasoning, curiosity and the wish for immortality – the notion that these traits exist solely due to “survival-of-the-fittest evolution” seems incomplete. These advanced traits actually seem superfluous to the viability of any of our close hominid relatives. So why do we have them?

    And it’s these uniquely human traits which transform our planet in ways and at speeds unlike the methodical engines of geological and genetic evolution. In our great-grandchildren’s lifetimes we may extend our transformational reach to nearby planets. What will a thousand years bring, or a million or ten billion? And how many other transformational species travel similar paths throughout the universe?

    This transformational trajectory feels like cosmic purpose or mission to me – dependent on but not explained by the known laws of physics and genetic evolution. This purpose seems deeply mysterious, yet I do not feel a strong need to know how it arose. The awe it inspires in me is entirely based on getting a glimpse of a wondrous destination – it is prospective, not retrospective.

    Reasoning, curiosity, the urge for immortality and other human traits make it possible for us to grasp this unfolding cosmic possibility. At the same time, these traits are also the key building blocks, the enablers, and the very flesh on which the cosmic transformation is occurring.

    My life exists on two different plains. 99.99% of the time, I take care of daily living by being useful and helpful. This is a rewarding mission that has been programmed into my genes. But a discretionary .01% of my life is devoted to playing my miniscule role in a cosmos that is ever so slowly being occupied by consciousness.

    Playing this small cosmic role largely satisfies my desire for immortality and frankly seems about as much as one can hope for without relying on wishing. And it is a remedy if nihilism ever gets hold of me. I don’t expect or need my “me-ness” to persist after my body dies. If it did, it might be a bonus. On the other hand, being disconnected from physical existence, my soul would somehow seem irrelevant to the big cosmic project – whereas physically based consciousness is the very essence of it.

    This cosmic role, as titillating as it is to me, is essentially passive awareness at this stage in our corner of the universe. The other 99.9% of me takes care of daily business and determines how good and generous and effective I am. It derives from the same source other living species draw on i.e. genetic wiring evolved since simple life got a foothold. In my world, there is no God with expectations, love, guidance and consequences for me.

    Theoretical physicist Freeman Dyson said “If we are to examine how intelligent life may be able to guide the physical development of the universe for its own purposes, we cannot altogether avoid considering what the values and purposes of intelligent life may be.”

  2. Thanks Rosemary for your willingness to share deeply.
    I have been ruminating on Voltaire’s ‘God made man in his own image and man returned the favor’
    I seem to be a master at making a god like me, but hopeless at making room for the ‘holy Other’; the One who is, outside anyone’s fabrication.
    To ‘come learn of me for I am humble of heart’ is consoling. If we are willing to accept God as Holy Other, his humility makes the learning possible.
    The learning is both a romance and a shaking, a terror and a peace. He who is ever the Greater Love, also holds the keys of death and hell. I know perfect love casts out all fear but while imperfect I waiver between love and fear with love slowly gaining the upper hand and familiarity giving way to awe.
    And yes Rosemary – nothing matters as much!

  3. Paul Connelly

    Sorry to jump to the question for another night: Was “the” Sacrifice “necessary”? I’d say not. The killing was a consequence of people’s refusal to change.

    Is sacrifice necessary? Sure, it is a possibility that has to be faced if the priority is responding with love to any situation, no matter how violent, or any person, no matter how wrong-headed.

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