Saturday, August 25, 2007

The Wisdom of the East

It's been a month since my last post. Like many of us during summer's wandering time, I've been out on the trail, visiting the forest and the sea without and the spiritual lands within. I've also been writing a book, based in my work with dreams, art, mythology and religion. I promise to post chapters from it in upcoming months. Meanwhile, into the midst of all this, I have felt a sea change: the wind is shifting. I'm no longer who and where I once was.

"The Lord God has given me the tongue of a teacher." I've learned that I must teach and learn as others must breathe. And so, I am grateful that I have been invited to return to St. Paul's Episcopal School in Oakland. During the three years we have been apart, we have both grown and changed: St. Paul's is now nearly twice the size it was, with sparkling new facilities and a renewed mission. I, meanwhile, have had the chance for a rich and deep parish life, infused with prayer, relationship and contemplation. It has led me to a place of believing that the faith of the future will be increasingly what we now think of as interfaith, as a world at risk reaches out for the wisdom of all its spiritual traditions. I long to work with young people as we figure the great task that lies ahead, restoring our broken world. That is what teachers of faith have always done: ventured with love into the world beyond the confines of establishment, whether Abraham leaving Haran, Moses leaving Egypt, Jesus leaving Nazareth, Prince Siddartha leaving his father's kingdom and his own infant son, Muhammad, leaving Mecca, Lao Tse leaving and returning in the ebb and flow of the Tao, Dame Julian leaving home for her room of prayer and almost all of the first peoples whom I love so deeply, who ventured into the solitude of rock and tree to find how the Divine was gifting them. Such is the call of this life: leave attachments behind and seek the courage to follow where the spirit leads.

Long ago, wise men saw a star in the East. I, too, standing on the western edge of America, see my hope in the East. If that East is only Oakland, well, like Thoreau, I travel best close to home. Years of spiritual practice have taught me that our species is connected person to person as completely as the Tree of Life is connected, root, trunk and branch. It is time to return to my roots. I am an Earth Person and earth's children and calling me to get down and love all the beautiful growing things. It was in Tilden Park and at Lake Merritt that the Divine first whispered in my ear. And now, like the geese who graze by the Lake, I go East.

As a result, this Blog will be taking some new directions, becoming more interfaith, more deliberate in its discussions of science and the spirit, evolutionary biology and evolutionary spirituality, the educated imagination, the world of the nonlinear, and, always, and ever, the animals whose wisdom has guided me in my quest to be fully human.

See you next week.

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