Saturday, November 26, 2011

Earthen Spirituality & Storytelling (26 November 2011)

“What we call fiction is the ancient way of knowing, the total discourse that antedates all the special vocabularies.”

- E. L. Doctorow  Esquire, August 1986

 “We learn who we are through the stories we embrace as our own. – The story of my life is structured by the larger stories (social, political, mythic) in which I understand my personal story to take place.”

- Sallie McFague  Speaking in Parables (1975)

 “The stories scientists tell are not simply bedtime tales.  They place us in the world, and they can force us to alter the way we think and what we do.” (49)

- Thomas Levenson  Ice Times (1989)

As we adventure though the seasons, meditating and reflecting on our experiences, a narrative inevitably emerges.  “Remember when x happened?”  “Last year, at about this same time …”  When did we last go to x (i.e., a particular place)?  Want to go again today?”  “All of the things that have happened there!”  The longer we immerse ourselves in Nature’s cycles, going deep and ever deeper into what the round of the seasons presents us, the more insightful will be our stories; even our anecdotes of ‘this hike’ or ‘that visit’ to a certain natural vista that has inspired or that sill haunts us with intimations of meaning.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Adventuring Through the Seasons (20 November 2011)

"Science is not only compatible with spirituality; it is a profound source of spirituality. When we recognize our place in an immensity of light-years and in the passage of ages, when we grasp the intricacy, beauty, and subtlety of life, then that soaring feeling, that sense of elation and humility combined, is surely spiritual.” (29)
- Carl Sagan  The Demon-Haunted World (1996)

“Days and nights, seasons and tides cycles of fertility, rest and activity: all are reflections of the rhythms imposed upon us by celestial motions.  They have influenced where, and how, people may live; the elements that they must overcome; the shelter and dress they must construct, and the stories that they tell about it all.” (114)
                                                                - John D. Barrow  The Artful Universe (1995)

“The practice of observing the natural world – of getting down on one’s hands and knees before a tide pool, a lichen, a quail, a silent stone, learning from such wild things all one can about their place, their life, their needs, and doing this over and over again, over days and years – is humility’s medium.  In such moments, our vision is renewed, our sense of proper place in the world is both strengthened and deepened.” (110)
- Lyanda Lynn Haupt  Pilgrim on the Great Bird Continent (2006)
 Life is an adventure; spiritually understood.  While there will be quiet times as well as stormy ones, and though we are sometimes more at home and at ease with ourselves and our path than at others, living is always a matter of negotiating the choices and maneuvering around or through the obstacles that come to be ‘in our way,’ whether by accident or intent.  We make plans, and think we know where we are going, but we don’t usually end up exactly where we intended.  This is the adventure_ to path consciously; not to be drawn along by the crowd; to be awake in the flux and flow—not to be a pawn of circumstances, if we can help it.