Which of these is the greater:
On the last descending step from church
I received my answer.
It is not, as you might suppose,
that they are all hypocrites,
to the off-beat of the drum.
As truth is found
Only in questions personal,
It is for me.
It is for you.
The cost may be great
but the soul is not for sale
nor for hire.
Do what you must.
The greatest duty
is to live
from the depths of your soul.
To hear the song the world sings
in harmony with your own
in the great inner amphitheater,
Your head on the rising and falling
Chest of Love.
Things seem quite clear. We trust our eyes. If our sight is blurred, we get corrective lenses and the world sharpens. We believe in the reality that we see. We accept what we observe and place (too) great faith in our interpretations. We operate from our understanding without second thought. How else could we live if we didn’t trust our vision?
And yet, though we often forget or ignore it, we know that there is always a deeper reality. A world that exists beyond the one that we live in every day. We know this world exists, but it remains a vague whisper in our minds, like the dream from a few nights ago. Just as every now and then a dream leaves a deep enough impression to stick with us over time, to overcome the veil of waking reality, so too this deeper reality sometimes raises above a whisper, sometimes lingers with us longer than the passing breeze.
“What gives my life meaning?”
Is there any more central question than that? Most days we don’t even dare face such a heavy question, such an existentially loaded quagmire. Yet, we all carry this question–even if it is buried deep down within us and rarely if ever sees the light of awareness.
Perhaps the biggest hindrance in our search for the answer to this question is that so much of religion teaches people that they cannot trust themselves. They must trust an outer authority more than their own soul. Trust the pope, the priest, the Bible, but not your own experience. Trusting yourself is dangerous. It’s ripe for abuse (never mind how much the same is true of any authority). And so people look to an external authority, a voice from outside to tell them what their life is all about. Continue reading