Imagine a wall with 100, 200, no 1000 stained glass windows. Each window represents a religion or spiritual belief held by a group of people on planet Earth. Light pours in from the many stained glass windows in this wall. People focus on their particular window. What do all of these windows have in common? It’s the light that is on the other side of the wall. The light illuminates ALL the stained glass.
From the marks left on cave walls many thousands of years ago until now our species has postulated a divine spirit, something that we all share in common, a spirit, a god, or gods, something or someone that lends meaning to all that we don’t or cannot know.
What is the meaning of this life we are given? What happens to us when we die? How best to make decisions, especially how to relate to other humans, what guides us? These gods, these beliefs, testaments, act as a guide. We look to our stained glass window and see within it some guidance, there is a shared belief we have with others who look to our stained glass window about things that we cannot know.
That shared belief we have with other requires Faith. And yes, there are some who say no to Faith, yet, as a human there are still these universal questions. Faith or belief system or not, we all ask, at some point, the same questions. These universal questions seem to define our species and we can document this throughout human, history.
Of course there are a multitude of human expressions: music, language, the arts. Can you believe even personal letters like this one. Even this year, new murals from Pompeii covered in 79 AD uncovered this year! More evidence that our genomes were from predecessor species. Her mother was Neanderthal and her father was Denisovan, two predecessors of Homo Sapiens.
On a more personal level, what was the most beautiful painting you saw this year? The book of the year for you? The movie? What was the best family or friend gathering this year? When were you able to give in the most satisfying way to another?
Very soon we will have the Winter Solstice, a meaningful time for me. When I was young I don’t remembering noting the seasons except when it was time to return to school. With each year now I note new sensory signs, sights, sounds, smells. And I appreciate more of the earth’s environmental variations, seasons. To me, now, there is a multitude of seasons.
One personal example; the season of the leaves. I have a routine and ritual with the leaves that fall at my home. I note with pleasure the BIG brown maple leaves that fall. I gladly exercise this ritual, raking and recycling the Fall leaves over a month’s time. In Fall, I note the daylight receding, the sun weakening and then the Solstice and the cycle of light beginning again. I watch for the first signs of Spring.
So that brings us to January 1, 2019. The Gregorian Calendar, we are marking time with a 2000 year old framework, the original Julian Calendar with some adjustments. This is when we determine that we have marked another year and will begin again. Like the Solstice or Equinox it is a turning point.
So here is wishing a good NEW beginning for you in this year.