See you tomorrow. Lets get this settled by next quarter. We need to make a long-term model for sustainability. Let’s plan the next stage. (Daily chat)
The present form of this world is passing away… The world and all its desires is fading. Be on the alert because you do not know the day nor the hour. (New Testament)
All that is solid melts into air, all that is holy is profaned and man is at last compelled to face with sober senses his real conditions of life and his relationships with his kind. (The Communist Manifesto. Karl Marx)
St Benedict presents his monks with three vows: stability and conversion which are polar opposites. One is about staying fixed and the other about continuous change. The third, however, juggles them: obedience. This means keeping them in the air, even stability. Obedience means a continuous, highly attuned sensitivity and responsiveness to the action of the Spirit in all the circumstances and relationships of life.
The unexpected can happen anytime and even if it doesn’t there is no avoiding the law of entropy. The energy in any system runs out eventually. We can deny this law of constant change (accelerating as you read this) and making lots of plans is one good way of denial. Or we can give up trying to create anything because everything melts down. What’s the point? Or we can live in the present moment, giving due recognition to past and future and accept the risk of living.
We live in turbulent, chronically insecure times. Other periods of history have faced even worse crises but we are at a particular disadvantage because we have such a low capacity to make meaning. In a culture of continuous external stimuli, goals and targets and life-plans, the inner life, which is necessary for meaning, is at a low ebb. Meaning is connection and connection begins between our inner and outer lives.
This is why meditation, although it doesn’t solve problems, transforms the way we perceive and deal with them. We see this in the sense of detachment under pressure or of calm when anger or despair would normally overwhelm us.
When meditation has become part of your life the principle of stability is respected through the regular practice – come what may. And so is the principle of conversion, constant openness to change. You are no longer experiencing life ripping things away from you. You are letting them go.