Man has always seen the world in terms of great natural cycles. Everything that was will be again, says one of the Wisdom books of the Bible. The seasons revolve like the constellations, predictable and reassuring to those below who experience change and mortality. Repetition however has a double edge: comforting in its predictability, tedious in its sameness. So we try to have the best of both worlds, seeking change as it might better fulfill our wishes yet clinging to the status quo because, however incomplete, it’s what we know best.
Perhaps most of human history and most of our lives are spent trying to square this circle.
The cycle of nature is the bass-beat. But on it we prepare the creative variations that offer us freedom from all its monotony. Once the spirit of creation has been set free we feel connected to the source of the cyclical repetition which is never tedious and is always new. The experience of God as the fountainhead of all that exists is ultimately the goal of all human effort and desire even the most deluded and offensive. Like the great migrations in nature that constantly take place around us, we always seek home because that is where we can be fulfilled and at peace, secure and capable of development.
“The Father is in me and I am in the Father”
On pilgrimage, in the great exodus from oppression of spirit, we realise that we carry home within us and that we make progress towards it in cycles of discovery and dispossession, of finding and losing. In the daily exodus of our meditation we turn the wheel of prayer and it always carries us to somewhere new.
Laurence Freeman OSB