“Fear comes from uncertainty. When we are absolutely certain, whether of our worth or worthlessness, we are almost impervious to fear.” William Congreve, English playwright and poet.
It’s Sunday (i.e. yesterday). I woke around 6am to a cold morning (28 deg F/-2.2 deg C), the result of a clear, moonlit night.
Then as the night sky lightened with the coming dawn, the green, forest-cloaked valleys, visible to the East through the bedroom windows filled with a white, morning mist. In a metaphorical sense that descending mist matched a mood of gloom that was trying to descend on me.
As I lay back against the headboard of the bed, Jean still sleeping close to me, dogs Cleo, Hazel and Sweeny snoozing on and around me, I pondered on my mood. It came to me that I might be picking up the growing sense of anxiety, of uncertainty, that seems to be ‘in the air’. Me reading too many blog articles about global warming, climate change, et al. Being three-quarters through Professor Guy McPherson’s book Walking Away from Empire: A Personal Journey wasn’t helping either!
Then I recalled a recent conversation with dear friend and colleague from our Payson, AZ. days, John Hurlburt, who said that fear is the absence of faith. That if we trust what will be will be, then we can counter the fear of the unknown and embrace the present day, one day at a time. Living in the now as, you’ve guessed it, that dogs do so supremely well. Something else to learn from dogs!
I made a decision to take a stroll in the forest, emotionally speaking, for this week, so far as Learning from Dogs is concerned. Enjoy the beauty of the world around me and offer a few essays on the meaning of life. No blog posts at all about anything that engenders fear from any quarter!
And if that doesn’t slash the readership figures, I don’t know what will! So there! You have been warned.
So let me start by offering this essay from John. John is one of those rare people who has been through more than his fair share of ‘challenges’ over the years, yet has grown from those experiences.
Here’s John – I’m turning over and going back to sleep!
Education, Formation and Transformation
Most Americans remain comfortably complacent despite world economic brinksmanship, the escalating deterioration of our planetary environment and raging world discontent. Although we may be caring and compassionate in our personal lives, we are often reluctant to take any risk of reducing our personal comfort.
Education is a process. A process of learning how to think life through in order to become aware of whom we are, what we are, where we are, and why we exist. Education has always been the human gateway to a better future.
Knowledge does not guarantee wisdom. Education, formation and transformation are an integrated process which includes studying to gain knowledge, making natural connections based on the best information available, and experiencing the higher levels of conscious awareness we recognize as wisdom. The educational process works best when it is open minded, factual and sustained. We learn best when we learn together.
The human wisdom tradition is rich in myth, mysticism, symbols, imagination and creativity. It tells a common story of emergence through centuries of sacred writings stretching back through time to the earliest human cave scratchings roughly 17,000 years ago, and the beauty of the prayers of the Rig-Veda 12,000 years ago which all begin with an homage to the natural energy of the Sun.
We’re conscious components of a living planet. We’re surface dwellers with exposure to universal and planetary energies. Our species is only 200,000 years old. The universe is roughly 13 billion years old. Our planet is deteriorating and we’ve lost our collective moral compass. What can we do to make a local difference?
We only recently learned to hunt woolly mammoths in packs using bows, arrows and spears as tools. A perception of God in relation to our responsibility to each other and creation exists as the foundation of a human wisdom tradition which, relatively speaking, has just began.
In many ways, nothing seems to have changed as we have passed through successive cyclic waves of emergence and contraction. It becomes simultaneously increasingly more complex and exquisitely simple to understand. That is as we begin to realize how our metanexus emerges, contracts and turns inside out without breaking … like a pulse.
The next ten years are more important than the next several thousand years in respect to the choices we make about our biosphere.
There seems to be little doubt that our world problems are steadily increasing. What’s the next right thing to do? It’s time to grow our conscious connection in God. It’s time to share the spring of human wisdom from the ground up. It’s time to develop a world economy which is gentle to the earth.
The Clearing Rests in Song and Shade
The clearing rests in song and shade.
It is a creature made
By old light held in soul and leaf.
By humans joy and grief,
By human work,
Fidelity of sight and stroke,
By rain, by water on
The parent stone.
We join our work to Heaven’s gift,
Our hope to what is left,
That field and woods at last agree
In an economy
Of widest worth.
High Heaven’s Kingdom come on earth,
O dust, arise!
Wendell Berry; 1909
“The illiterate of the future will not be the person who cannot read. It will be the person who does not know how to learn.” Alvin Toffler