The war in Ukraine. Climate change. The degeneration of democracy and the rise of nationalism. Energy prices and unemployment. Being diagnosed with cancer. Failing mental powers. The loss of love. Dealing with these problems, often overwhelmed by them, we can feel we ‘have to do something right now’ to solve them. We grasp at easy answers and seductive solutions that promise quick success. The greater the challenge, the briefer the solution. Frightened and impatient, we veer to extremes, as today’s politics show. We escape by denying problems, blaming dark conspiracies or engaging in cynical judgementalism. Withdrawing from the social responsibility of citizens, we become consumers and the life of society becomes merely ‘the economy’.
The alternative is new perspectives. The best solution is not to imagine that solutions are the immediate answer. Only metanoia changes things: a change of mind and heart happens when ideas loosen their grip. Then we experience new perceptions, new connections, fresh fields of understanding, the opening of the eye of wisdom whereby God may be seen. If the goal of life was an answer or a solution, he would have left books and systems behind. Instead, he left a spoken Word, a remembered transmission of perception, heart to heart. Experience is the teacher. It teaches us to transmit it in our turn, communicating it as a universal truth through the medium of the spirit, across all cultures and time zones.
After meditation: “Iris of Life” by Zitkala-Sa (Red Bird, Yankton Lakota 1876-1938) originally pub. in The Earlhamite, vol. 5, no. 31, November 1, 1898, public domain.
Iris of Life
Like tiny drops of crystal rain,
In every life the moments fall,
To wear away with silent beat,
The shell of selfishness o’er all.
And every act, not one too small,
That leaps from out the heart’s pure glow,
Like ray of gold sends forth a light,
While moments into seasons flow.
Athwart the dome, Eternity,
To Iris grown resplendent, fly
Bright gleams from every noble deed,
Till colors with each other vie.
’Tis glimpses of this grand rainbow,
Where moments with good deeds unite,
That gladden many weary hearts,
Inspiring them to seek more Light.