The morning talk was a workout -- odd about that, since all I do is sit in armchair and talk. What's so strenuous about that? But I am tired when I finish, and desirous nothing more interactive than staring at a blank wall until energy returns.
Perhaps it was the subject matter. It was the second in a series of one-day retreats for a class in leading retreats, and this one was on The Also-Life, my phrase for the larger life that contains this one. I don't like to call it the After-Life -- as in the life after the one we're living now -- because the very notion of "before" and "after" is a notion of time, and I grow daily more convinced that the life God lives is one time does not measure. Our departure from this world will also be a departure from its categories, and time is one of them. We will awaken to a new way of being and realize immediately that we have always been like that. Just didn't know it.
This is a little hard to put into words -- if you doubt that this is so, just reread the last paragraph. The Also-Life is a slippery concept. I stammered my way through the better part of an hour on it, giving three inadequate examples of ways to think about it, examples which have taken me years to assemble, and finished unsure if they had shed any light on it.
But the group talked a bit. Other minds besides my own considered it, and will continue to do so -- it's an idea that bears pondering. Someone suggested a book -- Mario Livio's The Golden Ratio: The Story of Phi, the World's Most Astonishing Number and I've ordered it, although I suspect I may not be smart enough to read it when it arrives. I will do my best.
I love to think about ultimate things: the end of life, and its beginning, the limits of time and space, the life God lives. Necessarily, I think about these things from a posture of almost total ingnorace: I am about as well equipped to discuss God as an amoeba is to opine about me. But I love it all, from the vast distances of outer space to the ridiculous tininess of the atom's interior. I don't mind in the least if rational people don't believe in God because the evidence doesn't convince them, since all language about God is inadequate by definition -- if you can describe or prove it, it's not God. My choice to think on these things is just that, a choice. The evidence does not compel it. If it is compelled by anything, it is compelled by the delight of wonder alone.
Barbara Crafton will speak at Trinity Wall Street this Sunday, November 15, 1-2:30. 74 Trinity Place, 2nd floor, as part of a series on women's spirituality sponsored by the Psychotherapy and Spirituality Institute, General Theological Seminary, Auburn Theological Seminary and Trinity Wall Street. Find out complete details about the whole series at http://www.mindspirit.org/spring2009programs.htm#women