Brian’s Reflection: Wednesday, May 4, 2011
I do not say think as I think, but think in my way.
Fear no shadows, least of all in that great spectre
of personal unhappiness which binds half the world
Thomas H. Huxley, English biologist & educator;
he was born on this date, 1825
Half the world only? I would say much more than half!
To be bound to “orthodoxy” (“right teaching”) can have a cozy and secure feel. But that “world” has for the most part gone. Many know it’s gone from Christianity, fragmented as it is. Many think it has not gone from Islam ….. but it has, and indeed has been built in since the 7th C - Sunni and Shiite and Sufi at each other’s throats. And so with many of the prominent religions.
But orthodoxy is very often a prison of the mind and heart and spirit. Life never ceases to change. Change is paradoxically Life’s only constant. And Change is always an invitation: to enter into it, and grow and deepen. Orthodoxy almost always separates from Reality, and Life with all its newness and freshness moves on. Eventually all that is left is an irrelevant and bitter cult of sorts.
Huxley postulates that “personal unhappiness”, casting its shadowy fear over all it can envelope, is what entraps us, makes us afraid of what worse could happen should we take the risky steps. We prefer the “devil we know than the devil we don’t”.
I have learned, through my life as a monk and priest, that “personal unhappiness” is the “voice of God”. Always! I envision God as One Who abhors unhappiness in any creature. If we sit with unhappiness for but a few moments, we hear the “still small voice” saying, as it said to Elijah, “Come out!”, and the loud voice of Jesus calling to Lazarus, “Come forth!”.
The voice of Personal Unhappiness says, if we listen with courage, “Fear no shadows”. Step into “unorthodoxy”. Often the unorthodox, the rejection of convention, is the only path to new Life.