By Gordon Blue, Roundtable Core Member
‘Resiliency’ is the sign that life persists. ‘Resiliency’ describes the persistence of the activity of life, the creative and re-integrative assembly of factors which are separated by the entropy of all things. In some respects ‘resiliency’ describes the annoying tendency of certain irritating notions – about hope and justice and meaning, about the sanctity of life, and sacred connections in the between – to persist, despite crushing and overwhelming forces directed and focused on their suppression and control.
Such a characterization could easily mistake the reactive impulse for the thing itself. This misidentification (of the impulse for the thing) is abetted by the fearful possibility that one could wander off and be lost in a theoretical landscape. Yet, to lose oneself among those shadows and to dream opens a place of great beauty and power, and it is more refreshing than sleep. The bones of whole continents of thought become infused with all colors in the light of each successive dawn, and the play of light opens an acute awareness of the life that shelters and arises from the protected places, and awakens us.
Perhaps, the loss of awareness in midst of the persistent activity of life is also to be feared. For me, prayer has become a daily discipline of contemplation of the resiliency of life. This has become essential to a self-awareness that can pattern daily activity and sustain it with hope. When I’m faithful to this discipline, it invests mundane acts with the capacity to heal and the power to access life in all its phases. It is life changing.
I call this ‘finding the Gospel in this place (or moment, or event).’ It has necessitated a re-thinking of centuries of practice. In the missionary zeal which was the wake of European enlightenment, teachers of all kinds (including the religious) conceived themselves as bringing good news to others ‘less privileged.’ This conveyance of knowledge packaged and bound created a commodity which retails alongside so many others, in an economy of scarcity which is based on fear.
When we are able to focus on finding the Gospel which is already here, we are able to participate in an economy of abundance based on love. This provides us with the remarkable power of resiliency, and it has illuminated wonderful changes taking place in world consciousness. It is permission to be ‘righteous’ in a way that is resilient: less than perfect and accepting this in others as well as ourselves.
Then resiliency allows us to repent, to make amends, and change comes to reflect our creative hope for justice and the sanctity of life, rather than an irritated reaction to imperfection in others. Actions which flow as the consequence of repentance value healing above control, and trust in the restorative powers set loose. For instance, repudiation of the Doctrine of Discovery by a church three years ago has not led to the complete restructuring of property rights in law, which is openly implied by the action.
O, well. It is early yet. Even the dimensions of this repentance are still to be imagined. Yet, some manifestations are visible. Inhabitants of Kivalina feel empowered by this to take on global petrochemical interests, in their efforts to redress harmful effects of climate change. People in Fairbanks, and Anchorage, and Sitka have been compelled by this thinking to redefine cherished notions of property and social justice, and create local responses to intractable difficulties of homelessness. Resiliency is the sign of life in prayer.