My spirituality has taken a radical shift since becoming a hypocritical agnostic. I say hypocritical because I am not a very consistent agnostic. Since entering the winter of my discontent, I have distanced myself from the god of my past. But oddly enough, I am experiencing a kind of spiritual renaissance. While I see less evidence of a personal god, I have begun to see life as more than a series of meat and vegetable bags. My spirituality now focuses on seeing the connections instead of the divisions.
Joseph Campbell in a series of interviews with Bill Moyers talked about the “thou” and the “it”. When I see the other as an it, the relationship tends to be one of exploitation. When I see the other as a thou, I enter into a sacred relationship where I appreciate our commonality.
I am trying to be more cognizant of these moments of recognition. When I see the sacred thou, I am very easily snapped back into “reality.” The challenge for me is going to be finding a way to hold the moment.
Here are a couple of examples of grasping and then losing the moment.
Friday night I went to Panera to pick up some dinner for my family. As I exited the house, I noticed that it had just rained. The birds were chirping merrily and the temperature was in the 70s. Perfection. I drove to Panera with the radio off and the window down. As I walked up the store, I noticed the sun peeking behind the clouds. Sublime. I got in line and gave the cashier my order. She told me the total and I remembered that my wife had given me a gift card to pay. The cashier asked if I had a Panera card (reward card). I said, “Oh, I have a gift card,” and went to grab it out of my pocket.
She gave me an exasperated look and said, “A gift card is not a Panera card!”
(No shit Sherlock).
At that very moment, she ceased being a thou and became an it. The moment was gone.
Much later that night, I woke up at 3am. I laid in bed for about 15 minutes until it was clear I was UP. I went downstairs, fed the dog and made coffee. As I was sitting on the couch, I had a sublime moment. The coffee pot and dog crunching sounds mixed in a symphony of the ordinary. I was alive. Creative thoughts flooded my mind. I had multiple topics to write about. I sat there soaking it all in.
Then for reasons that are unclear to me, I almost automatically got up and took two antihistamines. Within 15 minutes I was in a dead sleep. Noooooooooooo, what was I thinking???
I am actually encouraged that I see myself snapping out of thou mode. It gives me something to work on. I have a goal. There is no it. I just need to focus on thou.