Every growth, growth as such, is dialectical. It needs thesis, antithesis, and synthesis; synthesis again in its turn becomes thesis, and creates antithesis and synthesis — which again, in its turn, becomes thesis.
That’s the way the whole existence works. That’s why you find duality everywhere. The duality is thesis and antithesis. One can remain caught between the two, divided, split; there will be no growth. One can make a bridge between the two, and create a new phenomenon: that is synthesis. One can remain at the synthesis; then growth stops there, unless this synthesis again functions as a thesis to produce antithesis… ~ Osho *
I have tried walking many different paths. Many times I had no idea what my path or paths were. Some writers say when you loose the path you will always find the way back. That’s not my experience – in fact, I don’t want the “way back.” I carve my way through jungles making a new path. There really was a night I was lost in the jungle and as I’ve written before I did find the path home – the one that wound around the back of the mountain; the long way home branching onto new paths.
Christianity was my first path, cut by my parents through a small Episcopal church where the message was Love. Since then I’ve trod many paths, exploring many directions. Last week I attended a gathering of 25 people to engage in dialogue about Christianity and Muslim beliefs. One of the presenters quoted possibly Osho – who often cut an unsavory path but with good advice – “don’t get stuck on the bridge.”
During the gathering we were directed to discuss our “leaning/learning spiritual edge.” At first in a thinking outloud answer I said, “My challenge is to not stay stuck in the middle of the bridge.”
Later I told a story about one of my teachers asking a group of Wisdom students if we considered ourselves introverts or extraverts. I replied I’m an introvert. Everyone laughed. The teacher, a wise man, said “she is a noisy introvert, she knows the Mystery and shows it.” This is where my challenges lie – not staying on that bridge being comfortable with someone else’s definition of me. Synthesizing my introversion and my outloud self and sharing what I know of the mystery – moving off the middle of the bridge to where ever paths I’m led.
Two weeks ago I was with 4 of my grandchildren in Oregon. They and friends were chasing around in a very loud game shooting each other with foam darts. I asked one granddaughter what they were playing. The answer upended me. “Terrorist.” Suddenly I was once again aware of how, even in families with no TV, our culture invades everyone, everywhere.
I was moved to tears in the gathering of Christians and Muslims when one woman told us that she’d worn black and a veil for weeks when the U.S. invaded Iraq. Still thinking about kids playing terrorist, I told a friend about the kids play at a dinner party. He responded “there are always good guys, and bad guys.” Of course, but being a contemplative person, sitting on the bridge I continue to ask why, why, why?
One way I search for under-standing is to read read read and read some more. I have a pile of books by my chair and my bed – Brian Doyle’s The Thorny Grace of It; John Shelby Spong’s The Sins of Scripture, Exposing the Bible’s Texts of Hate to Reveal the God of Love. The Divine Conspiracy, Rediscovering our Hidden Life in God by Dallas Willard is here with a couple of Thomas Keating’s books about Centering Prayer. Jamal Raham’s and Rabbi Ted’s book about our misunderstandings of each others’ religions is on my bed. This morning I am deep into And Man Created God, A History of the World at the Time of Jesus; the subject is how religion uses empire and how empire uses religion.
Another way I ask Where do I stand? and Why? is moving into silence – deep silence where often I find the ground of my being and see the world through laughing eyes.