Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Journey of Soul

At the north end of YanCheng, in the southern part of Changzhou, a series of three open arches alert one to the fact that one is about to enter a different world, perhaps a different time.  I have yet to enter into this area of YanCheng as I am saving it for a Friday or Saturday in the not too distant future when sunlight promises good photography conditions.

Perhaps that is not the only reason that I delay the trip to the inner world of YanCheng.  I will only know when I finally make this journey.  If the open arches have any relation to the the journey, it will be one that is challenging, psychologically.  When is one ever ready for the next stage?  Always there is a fear of the creatures one will find that threaten the world as one knows it.  What will result from meeting these demons of the inner world?  How will I change?  Will the change disrupt my life as I know it, the patterns that have now become comfortable?

Perhaps that is the key - life has become comfortable.  I have been resting and gathering strength and courage for the next stage of the journey.  The words of Hollis find resonance within me:
"Clearly, we live in a culture of great spiritual impoverishment: addictive materialism makes us slaves to surfaces; fundamentalist clamor makes us fearful and anxious; and distracting, banal ideologies diminish rather than enlarge the journey of the soul." (Hollis, Mythologems, p. 8)
Ouch! Banality is where I have been finding myself lately.  In between teaching and preparing lessons, I fill in as many of the spaces playing cards against the computer with little ambition to do much more than that.  I have been thinking of buying another guitar and investing time with a return to playing music.  Why?  Perhaps as a diversion, as a way to fill in time and avoid doing some real work.  I am not sure.  And because of this, I sit and wait, holding the tension of waiting, for the pull back into the journey of soul.


  1. Have you ever read the books by Durant? He elevates beauty.. and I have always believed, though lately I do not practice it, that the pursuit of beauty in every aspect of my day is the highest pursuit of living. Whatever I do, must be beautiful, or done beautifully or it is not worth doing. I realize that is a bit idealistic, but, for example, pursuing guitar... it could just become another chore, another way to fill time, unless it is done in the spirit of living in the present moment.

    I think it is less about "beauty" and more about being present to each moment, for me. Tonight the kids and I told secrets and chased each other about, and of course I had to go back to work, but taking that time to show up to them, to my crazy life was the most important thing I could have done today.

  2. Being present to your self and to others and in your activity and in your moments of silence IS the most important task of life. Thanks.