One Organic Whole

“Solitude has its own special work: a deepening awareness that the world needs. A struggle against alienation. True solitude is deeply aware of the world’s needs. It does not hold the world at arms length.”
-Thomas Merton
Conjectures of Guilty Bystander

Society is becoming increasingly fragmented and polarized, which poses a great danger. We are in desperate need of a spirit of communion and compassion to wash afresh over all of us. We need to resurrect the lost art of conversation in which we truly listen to and share with each other. Through communion, compassion and conversation we can find our common ground and work together for the common good of all, while at the same time realizing that we are all fumbling around in the dark of an infinite mystery that is beyond words and understanding. While God is beyond words and shrouded in silence, God nonetheless is in a perpetual conversation with each of us, even if most of us are rarely listening; our failure to recognize and appreciate this divine conversation has caused us to turn a deaf ear to the other, to anyone who does not believe as we do, which in turn stifles communion and compassion.

Each of us is a different expression of the same divine energy and we were created to be in communication with each other and the Other. Each of us is a part of one organic whole. Each of us is only a temporary and infinitesimal fraction of a gigantic universe, and our failure to humbly grasp our individual smallness allows us to assume a far greater importance than we deserve and causes us to be human-centered rather than God-centered. We are so centered on ourselves, we have failed to grasp the organic wholeness of life and the divine beauty of the entire universe.

In looking over the last two paragraphs, I was struck afresh with the oft-ignored reality that “God is beyond words and shrouded in silence.” Yet we are drowning in words and shrouded in noise. Silence was once a natural part of life. Max Picard, the famous Swiss philosopher, accurately observed: “Nothing has changed the nature of man so much as the loss of silence.” And he wrote that long before such noise-making devices as television were invented. Today, it is normal for earphones to be almost permanently jammed into ears, earphones connected to iPods, i-Pads, i-Phones that are channels for endless, pointless chatter. And we watch life through little screens which distract us from the real life in front of us. We now film our lives with our phones and then e-mail selected scenes from our self-centered lives to everybody we know. No one looks up anymore…we are all looking down at our i-Whatevers and typing something that someone else needs to know. Writing has become “texting.” We tweeter away the day and keep God at bay.

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