Rebuilding Our Spiritual Foundation, part 1

One of the things I love most about reading The Bible and other ancient literature is the sense of connectedness I get from our ancient ancestors. They were connected to the land they farmed and developed through the use of hand-made and hand-operated tools. They were connected to each other by trade routes that required human interaction. They were connected to God by a deep sense of awe and mystery in every rainstorm; in every gently blinking star. They were people filled with wonder, open to the idea of mystical experiences that simply couldn’t be explained.

We have lost much of that sense of awe and mystery. We understand most of the processes of nature, and what we don’t understand we’re analyzing in a way and with tools that would themselves inspire awe and mystery amongst our ancestors. The scanning tunneling microscope, the internal combustion engine, jets, rockets, the Large Hadron Collider, inoculations—these would be the stuff of magic to our ancestors.

Unfortunately, in our constant quest to learn more and develop better technology, we’ve lost our connection. We have these vast, global social networks, yet we never really talk to each other. International trade is handled by huge multinational conglomerates, and almost all of it is done electronically with very little human intervention. The art of two people negotiating a deal is largely lost. The art of interpersonal communication is almost nonexistent. Nobody shares stories or flirts around the community's water well these days. Our sense of awe and mystery at the universe has been reduced to mathematical formulas that strive to prove one theory or another. Math is beautiful and awe-inspiring in its own right, but it attempts to unravel mystery, rather than encouraging mystical experiences. We constantly attempt to define things that simply defy definition, rather than trying to understand the life- and world-changing power of stepping more deeply into the mystery for its own sake.
Perhaps our world is a mess at least in part because we no longer feel connected to our land, our tools, our communities, each other and God. Even talking about God in this postmodern, post-enlightenment world is less philosophical than it was for our ancestors. Discussions about God in the ancient world almost always ended with "it's a mystery," and that was more than okay—it was the point. To experience the mystery of God is transcendent. It gets us out of and over our individual self importance. The foundation of our spiritual selves is crumbling, because we no longer even think of ourselves as spiritual beings.
Fortunately, I believe there is a new awakening happening. Most of this is being accomplished through our children, who are being born into the world with an innate knowledge of the Great Mystery of being. They will help many of us remember what it means to be humans in community with each other and with God. We are all invited to participate in the Great Mystery. We are all intended to rebuild our cracked spiritual foundations to serve the world more effectively. Our world is broken at a foundational level, and the way we're going about repairing it now is akin to having a broken arm and trying to heal it with a box of Band-Aids. The broken arm can only be healed by working from within--on the structure itself.
The structures of our world need complete foundational repair, and for that to happen, we all need to repair our spiritual foundations first. There are many, many ways to do that, and we'll explore some of them this week.
Meditation: Heal me so I can more effectively heal others.

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