I have had a number of experiences lately where I speak a world into public space and get this swift and seemingly closed response. In my recent book, Restoring our World Soul, for example, I use the term “Right to Life” as our most worthy Cause – to champion the spiritual Right of every person to know and to be free to Live out what they determine to be their purpose for being here. Why do we back away from conversation when any one – person or group – moves to claim sole ownership of that term? Clearly we do not wish to engage in meaningless conflict over what view is “right”, but what is the wall that comes up and where does that say we are in our development?
Another example – “universal faith”. I was opening a conversation this morning about the connection between Victor Frankl’s writings on Man’s Search for Meaning, and what I observed as moving across the globe that was greater than belief, race, gender. We missed one another and I had to sit back to remember how sensitive language is, how very difficult it seems to be for us to pause and take the time to understand what shared “meaning” is actually being invited.
One more example, skyping with two beautiful and deeply spiritual African women this morning, they mentioned how uneasy it is, how very careful they have to be when mentioning the word “spirit”. In their context, they explained, the word is usually connected with church and with those close to God; it is also connected with the sense of ancestral spirits. Imagine my delight when I asked them how they personally understood “spirit” – “like the wind”, one said, “reaching out to each one no matter how we appear to the world”. The other said, “it champions”.
It was from Africa this morning that I sensed the deepest and most profound connection in “meaning”.