Tuesday, November 15, 2011

"When death finds you, may it find you alive"

Something that moved me a lot this week. Published in The Sun Magazine November 2011 Issue: ‎

"Your Own Damn Life"
Interview with Micheal Meade by John Malkin

Meade: Fear tends to drive me toward imagination. The scariest thing for me is when imagination becomes locked down and everything becomes predetermined. That’s when I feel concerned that life will be choked off. Fear is there to generate motion; it becomes a problem when we are paralyzed by it. Healthy fear actually triggers instinct and intuition.
Malkin: You take issue with the idea that the Internet is joining us together.
Meade: My complaint is that the World Wide Web, with all its horizontal strands, lacks a verticaldimension. People used to think the world was flat. Well, they think that again in believing that a flat web connects us. The real web of the world has vertical extension as well as horizontal dimension.
Take social networking. The problem is that it’s not really social enough. “Social” suggests being together, being companions in life. The story comes not just from horizontal experience. The dramatic part appears when it goes vertical. A person rises above others or falls down below everybody else. The realms above and below used to be called “spirit” and “soul.” Spirit lifts the person up, whereas soul pulls a person deeper into life. We’re not supposed to live a horizontal life on the surface of things. We are supposed to live the entire gamut, from the heights of thought and imagination all the way down to the depths of woundedness and the deeper capacity to love. We live in a world of many dimensions, and the human soul is equal to the world. After all the exploration of the earth, the world is being made smaller again. When I work with young people, I tell them they have the capacity and need to participate in the larger world.
One reason for the seemingly intractable problems in this culture — this mindless battle between stimulus and cutting taxes, for example — is a collapse of imagination. Life, with all its dreams and surprises, has collapsed into economics. When the economy rose to the top of the conversation in the culture, I knew we were headed for financial disaster, because wherever people put their attention, that’s where the drama will go. So the drama must be acted out financially. What’s lacking is imagination. There isn’t enough imagination to change the debate. And there is so much fear. People are afraid to let go of the little bit they have. When everything collapses into economics, younger people can’t use their vertical imagination to set their life on a course with meaning, and older people begin to forget who they really are.
Malkin: Could you tell me more about the difference between soul and spirit?
Spirit in mythology and traditional cosmology is connected to fire and air, and it rises. Soul is connected to water and earth, and it descends. When we rise with spirit, we get peak experiences and those overviews of life that include moments of freedom. Soul goes the opposite way. Water runs down. The earth has gravity and pulls us to it. The soul wants us to grow down and become deep like a river. When people talk about “connection,” they’re really talking about soul. The real connections are not surface connections. You can have many friends on Facebook, but your real friends are those who know and support your deep self and will remind you when you’re losing touch with your own soul.
What is often missing in modern mass culture is this depth of connection. When you see a culture dividing into simplistic polarities — which is all of our politics nowadays and most of our religion — what’s going on is a loss of soul. People who are in touch with their soul know what they’re supposed to be doing in the world and what their way of contributing to life is, in the same way that people know what music they love and what food they enjoy — not just life-sustaining food, but food that has flavor, that makes you feel nourished, even inspired.

Read most of the article here,or better yet, get a subscritption to The Sun:

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