The world is calling to us, in an ancient language. Let us listen!
“Every time we walk along a beach some ancient urge disturbs us so that we find ourselves shedding shoes and garments or scavenging among seaweed and whitened timbers like the homesick refugees of a long war.”
Science author Loren Eiseley penned these words. He entreats us to find “a little gate into the world of infinitude” — that moment when we see with the saucer-wide eyes of a child. “Since humans first painted animals in the dark caves, we have been responding to the holy, to the numinous, to the mystery of being and becoming.”
Eiseley described two kinds of scientists. The first “still has a controlled sense of wonder before the universal mystery, whether it hides in a snail’s eye, or within the light that impinges on that delicate organ. The second is so busy stripping things apart that the tremendous mystery has been reduced to a trifle. This approach can result in behavior so remarkably cruel that it ceases to be objective.”
“One does not meet oneself until one catches a reflection from an eye other than human,” he wrote. But what is it we encounter in the snail’s eye? Beyond the genius of its form and function, what is it we see when we look there – when we comprehend with our whole spirit the snail’s very life, the light that shines on it, and the great mystery that washes over us all?
The theme at WBUUC for April is immanence: The Practice of Blessing the World. This is about a two-way communication. We bless the world when we understand it as holy and align ourselves with its ongoing health. The world blesses us when we see with the eye of a child, opening to our kinship with all things — microbes, frogs, long-gone mammoths, and the elements among them.
I am thankful for children, and for the compassionate eye of scientists who see the shining light. May they, and each of us, fall often and deeply into awe, understanding, and kinship.
Consider: When have you fallen into a slack-jawed state of wonder? How does the world speak to you? What is its message? In what ways do you bless the world? How does it bless you?
Eiseley excerpts redacted from his book, The Immense Journey, and essay, Science and the Sense of the Holy. Hear the essay at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kPG6WJfQ1Lc