If you wonder what I believe, and what I believe you ought to believe, it's simple: I believe, and believe we all ought to believe, that it matters how we live. That's almost it as far as believing goes. It has a corollary: I believe we all ought to find what is ours to do and do it. That's all there is to it. What are you good for? What is your specialty? Your shtick? The things you love to do? How often do you do them? For how long? Everything about us and our life comes down to, revolves around, finding our life and living it within the context and circumstances of our living. If you think that's easy, climb down on its back and tell them to open the chute. See if you can go the full eight seconds. See if you still remember who you are after one second. I'm betting not. It's the old Taoist/Zen (And Zen is what happened to Buddhism when it met Taoism) question, "What is the face that was yours before your grandparents were born?" That's long before things started messing with you. Who have you always been before the beginning? You are the only one of you there is, ever has been, ever will be. You really ought to be making the most of it. Showing your stuff. Finding and being who you are. You've wasted enough time as it is. Of course, it actually isn't a waste at all. It got you where you are, here, now. All that has gone on before is like priming the pump. Preparing you for the Big Stage. Or better, preparing you to being prepared for the Big Stage. This is where you come in. Your place from now on is to live mindfully aware of you-- of what is you and what is not you. Only you know that. And it's time for you to know what you know, and to live in light of it, between the you you are and the you your situation in life is requiring you to be. You have to work it out. How much for you and how much for your sitz im leben. That's the question that will "Fill your heart brim-full, and break it, too" (William Alexander Percy). That is the question that will introduce you to what I call the Eden/Gethsemane axis, with the Garden of Eden being the face that was ours before we (or our grandparents were) born, and Gethsemane being the way back to it. We pay a price to be who we are. And we pay a price to not be who we are. Which price are we going to pay is the question. And our answer to the question starts with our finding our life and it is answered by how we live it. My idea about the place of the church in our life is that it ought to throw away all of its theology and doctrine, catechisms and hymn books (Books of doctrine set to music), and start helping people find their life and live it. Until it does, we are on our own. We create our own "churches"-- I call them "Communities of Innocence." Innocent in the sense that they have nothing to gain from us, with no agenda to serve and exist only to assist us in the work of being who we are, where we are, when we are, how we are, why we are, what we are, for the full eight seconds of the ride. And at the end, it will seem to be a lot shorter than that.
Carl Jung said, "There is in each of us another whom we do not know." The Other Within is a psychic reality for all of us. Projected outward as "other than us," this Other Within has always been called "God"-- which goes back 5,000 years or so, and may find confirmation in Julian Jaynes' book, "The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind." The Other Within is constantly responding to our environment with urges, feelings, compulsions, "red flags," moods, symptoms, dreams, instinctive actions, intuitive notions, etc. And our ideal relationship with this side of ourselves is a collaborative "meeting of the minds," where we consult the Other, and develop our ability to read the Other, in a joint partnership that guides our boat on its path through the sea. The fundamental, essential, Way we are to follow is that of seeing what's what and what needs to be done about it in each situation as it arises with the gifts/daemon/specialties/shtick/etc. that come with us from the womb, doing what needs to be done, when it needs to be done, where it needs to be done, the way it needs to be done, because it needs to be done, with nothing to be gained from it beyond the joy of doing it and the satisfaction of having done it. We meet all of the ebbs and flows of life from the orientation of taking what comes and doing what can be done with it, trusting that we have what it takes to find what we need to do what needs to be done in conjunction with the Other Within all our life long. Absent from this scenario is any concern for our profit, our gain, our benefit, our advantage, our wealth, our privilege, our good at the expense of the good of the whole. What is called for here and now? In light of the true good of the whole? What does "Thy will, not mine, be done," mean to you? Who is the "Thy"? It is the good of the whole. The good of the "more than I." The "I" "comes not to be served, but to serve, and to give his/her life" in the service of the good of the whole. "The whole" being the family, the tribe, the nation, the world. In this is the "plan" for the whole of life.