Sunday, April 21, 2013

ORIGINAL PARTICIPATION

The time in human history when the people plotted their days by the observance of the sun rising (beginning a day) and the sun setting (ending a day) was a human ritual in sync with a natural rhythm. I would argue that that was much healthier than living by a clock.

 And that is not a romanticizing of times past as if things weren't a challenge then too. Just suggesting that a lot of what we call progress might not be as helpful to us as we have bought into.

 I posted those thoughts a few days ago on a friends site during a conversation dealing with how nurturing rituals are really good for us. My life now, spent more in a way of living that is in concert with nature has a ritual-like quality to it. It in so many ways has saved me.

 My friend Mike later this morning, after I posted those thoughts, posted this daily meditation from Richard Rohr. It fits well with my post and with this photo of the sun that began the new day for me here in this part of the natural world I live.

 "Original Participation

 Before 800 B.C. the thinking on the whole planet, no matter the continent, was invariably tribal, cosmic, mythic, and ritualistic (according to German philosopher Karl Jaspers). Owen Barfield calls it “original participation.” Simply by watching the sky, birds, and trees, the seasons, darkness and light, people knew they belonged. Though we call these people uncivilized people, many conjecture that they might have had healthier psyches than we do because they lived in an inherently enchanted universe where everything belonged, including themselves. And they knew that simply by listening and by observing and living! (Almost too simple.) The cycles of darkness and light, of growth and death, fertility and fecundity—which were everywhere all the time—were their primary and natural teachers. 

Why do we call them uncivilized people? The very word “pagan” is a dismissive word meaning “those who live in the country.” We thought by moving into so-called civilization, into cities, we were better and smarter, and maybe we were in some ways. But they perhaps were in other ways! Native peoples learned of the divine, the sacred, God, through the natural world. They already saw the Great Spirit in everything, as Pope John Paul II said to the natives gathered in Phoenix some years ago. Religion was much more about healing and harmonizing than sin management. Salvation wasn’t a reward you got after you died for good moral behavior, but as the very root word (salus) reveals, it was a healing and harmonizing now. This had the power to make the world a much more livable place than we have made it."





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