Why am I here?
Who am I?
What is life?
You don’t have to be religious to ponder the mystery of life, the miraculous, and the everyday goodness of human beings. One act of kindness can restore your faith in people. But still, we have intolerance, violence, hate, and atrocities. And we have the old answers to unanswerable questions. You can’t have the light without the dark. But those answers have never been satisfying to me from the time I was very young, and I asked the prime question to a bible scholar, “How do you know what you’re saying is true?” And the teacher answered, “You just have to have faith!”
The answer didn’t help but stopped further questioning at that moment in time. Still, over the years, when shock at current events left me thinking about the spiritual significance of what happened and what it means about being human, I pondered my own connection with the sacred — which to me is beyond the boundary of the known. How do we hang out in the unknown long enough to experience something genuinely new, sacred even? And if I knew the answer to that question, would that help the world come to peace? Or at least peace of mind that we’re on a fulfilling track that includes all of us.
Entertaining a new thought is hard. A new way of being extremely difficult. A new way of thinking almost impossible when people dig in their heels. A new way of relating and stepping into someone’s shoes to see the world they see, rare to never.
New isn’t a rehash of what’s known. What’s known has brought us to where we are today.
To be new, it would have to be something unfamiliar, even strange. Something that would transform your thinking and show you a path that is both fulfilling and exemplary. A locality you haven’t visited before that surpasses any view you’ve experienced up until now.
New: of a kind now existing or appearing for the first time, unfamiliar or strange
Strange: unusual, extraordinary, curious, or odd, coming from outside of one’s own locality
Locality: the state or fact of having a place that every material object must have, and non-material things like thoughts and beliefs that have a place in our minds and hearts
How do you cultivate a new strange locality? How do you open a portal to something new, maybe even divine?
I connect to a new strange locality through:
Meditation: Have you ever tried to clear your mind of repetitive thoughts, especially the ones you want to get rid of? I recently listened to a meditation with the Muse app, and they likened meditation to training a puppy. You call the puppy over and teach it. The puppy responds and then, after a bit of time, runs away to play. You call the puppy back and go over the training again, and then after a while, the puppy runs away to play. You don’t get angry or frustrated. You may even laugh, but you get the puppy and keep training. Meditation trains us to notice our thoughts and return our attention to just breathing in and out. A calm state settles in, and for me, a peaceful state of being, and then a thought comes in like the puppy running away. And I notice the thought and ask myself where that thought came from, and then I’m down the road thinking. And then I notice again and return to breathing in and out. What am I accessing? It is a new strange locality to sit there instead of doing something, sit there instead of solving something, sit there, and let it be.
Nature: I’ve stood in the ocean and let the waves wash over me. I can body surf the waves, I can move back from the shoreline and out of the water, but I can’t stop the waves from rolling in and out. I can stand in my forest and let the beauty of the trees fill me with joy. I can walk around the maples and the pines, the alders, and the dogwoods, but I can’t stop the weeds, the horsetails, or nettles from growing. I don’t resist. I pull the weeds lovingly and laughingly. I put bark on the open areas. I prune some trees and plant more flowers. I work with it as a thing of beauty. What am I accessing? A new strange locality to appreciate what is.
Love: I keep returning to love as the most extraordinary access. Can I fix the world with love? Too big, too much. So I return to thinking about where I could bring more love in my immediate world. Where can I listen a little longer and bring more patience? Where can I include others instead of excluding people I feel uncomfortable around (where I groan at just the thought of them). I can choose to think about them differently, as dynamic instead of static. I start there. Then, I see them as they are instead of how I think they should be. I have a more expansive state of connection and presence with all. What am I accessing? A new strange locality of acceptance.
My connection to what’s sacred begins with sitting, appreciating, and accepting. How do you connect and gain access to something new, even sacred?
My love goes with you.
May your day be peaceful and fulfilling.
Paulette Sun Davis