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That Spark of Connection

Julie Peyton
On Normality (July 2022)
Inward Light

Back in the days of my Dark Night Journey, I worked hard to define what I meant by “spirit” and “spiritual.” What my reasoning mind came up with was an analogy: Just as our eyes are physical organs of sight, designed or evolved to detect certain frequencies of electromagnetic radiation, our spirits are as-yet-unidentified organs of relationship. (I hear Isaac Penington raising a Friendly alarm against this rationalistic formulation.)

This recognition is strongest, perhaps, within a species, but can extend further, too. Perhaps there are Homo sapiens who can sense the presence of rocks, have relationships with forests, are nurtured spiritually by watersheds.

Thus . . . (And I’m just beginning to wrap my head around this, just beginning to be able to put words to what I’m sensing. (The Penington Alarms are quieter when I put it that way.)) Thus, our environmental crisis is a spiritual one because we have cut off our physical connections to other presences, especially other spirits. We live indoors too much. Our electric lights have severed us from the diurnal rhythm of light/dark. Our AC has severed us from the planetary patterns of heat/cold. Our individual and closed-in transportation devices have put barriers between us and other commuters.

I read an article about road rage (so it must be true) that said it arises because drivers have no mechanism for dispelling the tensions that build up from all the little mishaps of normal driving. Such mechanisms are nearly automatic for people walking crowded sidewalks. When you bump into someone, both of you usually immediately exchange apologies. No need to even stop walking. Not so when driving.

And it occurs to me, “trolling” on social media is an electronic version of road rage.

Thus, disconnecting ourselves from the rest of our human family, disconnecting ourselves from the whole of Creation, our crises on earth are legion – ecological, social, psychological. Fundamentally, our legion of crises arises from our spiritual crisis of disconnection. As Friends, we are fortunate to have countless opportunities to exercise our organs of relationship and to strengthen our spirits.

Julie Peyton is a member of West Hills Friends.

Spiritual Development connection social conflict

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