The Razor's Edge


Scripture: Ecclesiastes 4:4And I saw that all toil and all achievement spring from one person’s envy of another. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.

From the Katha Upanishad: Sharp like a razor's edge is the path,
The sages say, difficult to traverse.


Thought for the Day: In the Hindu Katha Upanishad it is written, “The sharp edge of a razor is difficult to pass over; thus the wise say the path to salvation is hard.” The spiritual path is narrow and requires balance. Ecclesiastes reminds us that relentless pursuit of wealth (or any material gain, for that matter) is a shallow goal that ultimately has no spiritual payoff. In the verses just before this, we are admonished for being lazy. So it seems that in Ecclesiastes, as in the Upanishad, we are being instructed that the middle ground is often the wisest spiritual path.

We have many opportunities to find the middle ground in this country (and throughout the world). Yet, we remain polarized in ideologies and dogmas that are as unrelenting in their grip on us as we are in our quest for ever greater material profit. The sense of social justice that comes from a spiritual lifestyle is virtually lost. We have been blinded to the wonder and awe of looking out to the stars by the unrelenting light pollution of our cities. We have been divided into left and right, red and blue, vegetarian and carnivore, and we talk about the polar opposites so much that we forget there are many of us in the middle.

I enjoy vegetables and meat! There are aspects of the Republican agenda (fiscal responsibility) I agree with. There are aspects of the Democratic agenda (social justice) I agree with. I’m an environmentalist and a libertarian to a certain extent. I think most of us are moderates. Yet, a media that attempts to divide us into neat little packages ruthlessly bombards us with the ancient and misguided "us v. them" mentality. And we’re all buying into it.

Being human is not a neat little package. It’s a messy process, full of mistakes and regret, yet also full of incredible discovery and joy that stirs the soul. I hope we can start to remember that compromise is not a four-letter word.

Prayer: Faithful God, guide me over the razor’s edge so that I might remain moderate in temperament, focused in spiritual study, and ever obedient to your command that we love each other and you, Eternal One, with all our hearts. Amen.

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