More to Life … Revisited

running in the mustard field 2There is more to life than waking up in the morning to work, to earn money, to live an easier life, to go through the motions of mere existence that only shadows genuine life authentically lived… There is the distant horizon and what lies beyond; that which stirs deep in the soul and beckons one to reach for the stars, to bravely and creatively venture into the unknown. Indeed, “no person knows what delights of the eye are kept hidden for them – as a reward for their good deeds.”[1]

Who can tell what might be found? Those who have been courageous enough to explore the daunting wilderness of life have left only scraps of evidence, tell-tale signs of what might be … so in the end, it is a discovery we each must make for ourselves, but this is what makes humanity unique, more than our own mere physiological constitution. As Sir Charles Sherrington recounts the great 16th century French physician and physiologist, Jean François Fernel’s observation of humanity:

Man, linked to the rest of animate nature in so many ways, in one respect breaks wholly from it. His alone are reason and free-will … man has a soul which nothing else earthly has. By that right he is in truth not of the earth.[2]

Sir Sherrington seems to take some exception to this; however, science has its proper limitations, and scientism is plainly unacceptable.[3] That we are today so imprisoned in routines and rituals, demands and expectations, and pragmatic, corporationalist habits really speaks more of the naturalistic scientism of the world in which we are imprisoned than it does of the nature of humanity as created in the divine image.[4] We no longer bow to the numinous, to the unseen pantheon, but to technology and profit.

Would that we cast off all fetters, that we break the chains that bind, and run free and wild, soar into the heavenlies in complete liberty…  It is our right and privilege, even our duty.

And may the sovereign Good be ours!
According as one desires bliss may one receive bliss,
Through Thy most far-seeing Spirit, O Lord,
The wonders of the Good Mind which Thou wilt give as righteousness,
With the joy of long life all the days![5]

What, then, retains us from being so blessed, from blessing ourselves in simply being what we are to be? Is it fear of the unknown – that is, then, that we no longer know ourselves?

In the words of one great poet, then, perhaps “the world is too much with us.”[6] Ah, but we were made for this world, as well as for another. Indeed, we have to see beyond what is seen by the naked eye.  We have to see the unseen in order to realize all of the grand possibilities of our life, and that is the real adventure made possible by the humanity of humans!

To fly into our wildest dreams and never look back, nor to the left or right, because those dreams were woven in the heavenlies! To run in the open fields of divine potential and promise, “and not grow weary,” to “mount up with wings as eagles”[7] and know with certainty that our life in the end will have been much enriched by this bold escapade! To begin with the cry of life and end with a kiss and sigh, as we fade into the eternal, the grandest adventure of all… This is the humanness of humanity. This is our best destiny.

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[1] Qur’an 32.17

[2] Sir Charles Sherrington, Man on His Nature, 166

[3] Arthur Peacocke, Theology for a Scientific Age: Being and Becoming – Natural, Divine, and Human, 101-102; Also note: “Scientism” refers to “the excessive belief in the power of scientific knowledge and techniques.” Cf. also, Jeffrey Schwartz and Sharon Begley, The Mind and the Brain: Neuroplasticity and the Power of the Mental Force, 35: “Within the scientific if not the philosophical community, the rise of scientific materialism in the mid-nineteenth century seemed to leave Cartesian dualism in the dust. Materialism not only became the reigning intellectual fashion; it emerged as virtually synonymous with science. In fields of biology to cosmology, science is portrayed as having vanquished the nonmaterial explanations that prescientific cultures advanced for natural phenomenon.”

[4] Cf. Genesis 1.26-27; Mishnah, Abot 3.18 (Judaism); Wisdom 2.23

[5] From World Scripture, “The Purpose of Life for the Individual: Joy and Happiness,” Avesta, Yasna 43.2 (Zoroastrianism)

[6] William Wordsworth, “The World is Too Much With Us,” which can be accessed online at Poetry Foundation

[7] Isaiah 40.31 KJ21

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