Saturday, November 8, 2014

Hochma in Estes Park

November 9, 2014

Dear Friends,

Tending to my desk is an ongoing adventure in archeological exploration. I am astonished at what I “find” in the various piles, and intrigued to imagine in retrospect the journey by which that particular object, book, or piece of paper came to its desktop resting place.

I have come to believe that my desk has a life of its own that operates according to laws that differ from the common reality of my everyday life.  I do hope this statement does not alarm you—I am not losing touch with reality. It’s more that I increasingly sense that there is more to reality (however we define it) than I can perceive through the conscious cortex action we call thinking.

Today my “find” was a quotation from Bill Moyer—I had carefully kept it, and faithfully attached his name to the quote. Unfortunately, I totally omitted any note (if in fact I ever knew) where the quote was initially published. I know it was Moyer’s work, and find it an idea worth thinking about.  So—credit Moyer, and think with me about his insight.

Moyer wrote:
What we need is what the ancient Israelites called hochma—the science of the heart. . .the capacity to see, to feel, and then to act as if the future depended on you.  Believe me, it does.
Coming home from the weekend in Estes Park has required a great deal of what I think Moyer refers to as hochma, that capacity to see in the everyday the significance of tomorrow. 

Surrounded by the towering peaks of the Rockies, breathing clear, clean air, watching the massive ballet of clouds, listening to the wind-music in the pines—in that environment the paradoxical sense of the largeness of life and the significance of small things is practically unavoidable.I was standing on the deck, drinking coffee and watching the sunrise when unwittingly, without effort, such an awareness came. 

It took only the sight of one Happy Meal McDonald box dropped carelessly by the path to make clear what Moyer was saying—even here in this overwhelming world of wind and rocks, the slow shape of the future that is coming depends on me. 

Yes, I did gather up the litter and deposit it in the bear-proof garbage can. You see, of course, that in doing so I depended on someone else [resort staff] to help—it takes a village to manage tomorrow, you know.

But it was in coming home that I was struck by the difficulty of living out of hochma.

I found myself remarkably uninspired to do dirty laundry, repackage and freeze left-over food, and deeply resistant to responding to voice mail and email and plain old US Postal Department deliveries.

I experienced a powerful impulse to act as if the whole disorderly mess could be safely neglected while I pursued Damasio’s concept of the way in which the brain/mind/consciousness connection functions. Understanding human consciousness—now that is truly tending the future, I rationalized.  Laundry and emails, well, that could be safely left until tomorrow, or the day after, or the day after that without significant consequences.

It can’t.

One of the subtle dangers of everyday life lies in our short-sightedness. Tomorrow depends on what I do today, pragmatic and uninteresting though it may seem at the moment.

Thinking with you that the heart science of hochma—seeing tomorrow in the ordinary today—is more than thinking sensibly--is the seeing-gift of God through the Spirit. 

Trusting that God will give me—and you—eyes to see and the energy to do today's work with hochma so that His Kingdom comes on earth today and tomorrow and in all ages to come.

See you next week.


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