It has a been a number of weeks since Sacred River has seen a new post and for that I apologize. Alas, life got in the way. Fortunately, it has all been good changes, but they have nevertheless left little time for writing essays.
But that does make me think of something to mention. This is more of an invitation to ponder rather than a full examination, but that itself makes the topic relevant. One of the core themes of Sacred River is the notion that spirituality is not a distinct branch of living, such as family or education, but is infused into all parts of life. From this perspective, spirituality is an approach or orientation towards living, informing everything we do. Yes, there are times we can set aside for specifically religious activity, but those events should ideally enrich or expand upon one’s everyday spiritual self.
I mention this because my own life has been filled lately with the pragmatic and common—travel, work, school, relationship, home. If I were to list out everything I’ve been doing the last few weeks nothing really stands out as exceptional or unusual, much less spiritually transcendent. While transcendence is a perfectly acceptable spiritual goal, it is not one of our key aims, which include meaning, fulfillment, and joy. Part of what I’ve been trying to do recently is to take time each day to examine all the things I’m doing and to put them into perspective. By that, I mean I try to see things holistically, to see all these mundane activities as parts of a larger and far more magnificent whole. In doing so, I’m reminded of my place within the order of things and of the splendor that is ordinary life.
There are times when we need to disrupt, to challenge, and to grow. There are also times to celebrate and bask in the joy of living. And yet in other times, it is all we can do just to cope and keep our heads above water. How we approach all of these times determines to a very large degree what our life ends up meaning and how we perceive it. A significant part of spirituality involves this very question of how we approach things like disruption, growth, celebration, relaxation, and coping. Frankly, I have nothing very wise to say about what such an approach should be—that is ultimately up to each person to decide based upon their own genuine sense of self. But at the very least I can remind you that we have choices about such things. And that we have such choices at all is what makes us such astounding, miraculous creatures.