We find ourselves surrounded by, surfeited by loud, shrieking (philosophically capitalist and theologically fundamentalist) voices proclaiming that the supreme value leading to a good life is competition--which means that there must be winners and losers. This leads, inevitably, to greed, hatred, and ultimately violence and destruction. In the midst of all that noise, it is hard to believe that there is any other way leading to a more abundant human life. And then we may well come to believe that the only possible realistic attitude is one of despair.
But there are other (human and non-human) voices, speaking more quietly (not surprisingly, given what they proclaim) telling us that a good human life is one of compassion, respect, and non-violent action. But to hear these voices, we must sit still and listen to Silence. When we see (not just look) at a sunrise or a sunset, when we listen (not just hear) while walking in the woods, or climbing a mountain or swimming in the water, we may come to know these other voices. Once we quiet ourselves enough to recognize these voices, we discover another attitude is possible: one of hope. Then Julian of Norwich's claim that "All will be well, all will be well, all manner of things will be well" sounds right on.
Last night, sitting, watching the sunset (actually facing the other direction from it) I caught glimpses of the evidence supporting this other view. Here are two studies of what I saw:
When I was younger, I thought it would be good to have a cottage on a beach so that I could watch the many moods of the sea. Now I have moved into my apartment--three or four minutes from the beach--and while it's not right on the beach it will allow me to watch those many moods. So a new chapter of my life begins; what it will contain is unknown, but for now it looks like it may be a very good chapter indeed. Part of what this means for you who read my blog is that you will also get to see some of those moods, beginning with this one:
We have gone from hot and humid to (very) cool and dry, a mostly welcome change.
Here's another photo worked over by Topaz's Impression:
This is for one of my friends with whom I have had numerous discussions about identity:
"I am not my moods and thoughts, my beliefs or my social roles and status. All of these are powerful aspects of myself. They possess a temporary, partial reality. But they are too arbitrary, too conditioned and too ephemeral to constitute Selfhood. Nor can I identify myself with my sensations, my desires, my fears, my pleasures and my pains. Passing emotional states, however intense, are uncertain foundations for a true sense of identity . . . I may say I am victim, lover, judge, hunter, artist, priest, father, mother, child, clown or trickster--there are many archetypal roles and combinations. But they don't answer the important question [about my identity]." Laurence Freeman
And this is one of my favorite photos, turned into an oil painting, thanks to Topaz Impresssion:
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