May Saturday 7:40 a.m.  The pale, faint gray-blue sky provides a autumn presence and a cool wind.  Yo Yo Ma keeps me company.  The pastures and the forest are green from rain and the cows and newborn calves slowly eat their way down the slope.  

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… the tradition of Christian spirituality and mystical wisdom needs to be presented today …

Thomas Keating, in The Heart of the World

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When I look around the world, when I observe or interact with others in America today – I see, hear and experience flatness.  That is to say, I see people and hear discourse that is blunt, without depth or texture, message or coherence, insight or worth.  Yes, the human voice is reduced to superficial chirping and chatter, childish whining and predictable ideologically-formed complaint and carping.

This: the voice of those who have not integrated life – come to know and experience reality seen and unseen.  For them any thought of human experience itself as transcendent and immanent is lost or at least forgotten.  I conclude in this that Keating is right: we need to attend to our spiritual growth and its implicit depth and access to wisdom – and particularly that which is mystical in nature – that which exceeds scientific materialism or a lust for power, celebrity, status or identity tied to gender, sexuality, politics, grievance, class, race, economic measure or government “benefit” which always defines us down, reduces our dignity and sacred value.

We are not, at present, close to being a nation of integrated, whole, wise, meaningful and purposeful human beings.  Rather we are flat and unflattering in this flatness.

To be flat is to be without curve, of one plane, shallow and without depth, unvarying, uninteresting, dull, vapid, stale, deflated, monotonous.  And I add mundane.

We are (and have been for some time) inclined in the wrong direction – living on the surface and tilted toward mere material and self-centered existence and far, far from spiritual experience and the depth, insight and contentment it alone provides.

In affluence we have lost our value, access to ourself and divine experience.  Our health and survival requires that this must change.  Our present circumstances starve the soul and lead to extinction.  Any wonder that homicides, suicides, addictions, broken families, and a range of pagan pursuits prevail as they do today?

Shalom.

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