Random Thoughts on my Spiritual Journey
I've recently returned to the Unitarian church after a 3-4 year absence. There is a new minister there, and he is everything I would hope for in a minister: wise, reflective, funny, humble, human, laid-back, well-rounded/grounded ... I could go on on on. I feel like I have found my way home after an extended trip away. It was at yesterday's service that someone (not the minister) posed the question ~ How shall I live, knowing that I shall die. I jotted the phrase down, realizing that it was extremely relevant to where I'm at in my life right now.
No no no, I'm not facing a life-threatening illness (that I know of) but I'm trying to become more fully aware of how I am living, and whether it's a meaningful life.
By coincidence, or maybe not, I walked into an art gallery in San Diego last month and found a book by Jane Goodall: Reason For Hope, A Spiritual Journey. Even though my to-read stack of books is a mile high, this book went to the top and I'm now half-way through it.
I've always known of Jane Goodall and her work with chimpanzee's and I've held her in the highest regard, but I've never actually read anything she's written. Now I feel like I've discovered a soul-mate. The questions she poses, the thoughts she's had... they speak directly to my own soul. I know I don't have the hardiness or character to do the kind of scientific work that she has done, but what she has learned from her life in the African wilderness speaks directly to me, and millions of others, I'm sure.
In the following passage, she reflects on her first trip to Gombe, when she was totally alone in the forest in Africa.
"Together the chimpanzees and the baboons and monkeys, the birds and insects, the teeming life of the vibrant forest, the stirrings of the never still waters of the great lake, and the uncountable stars and planets of the solar system formed one whole. All one, all part of the great mystery."
I haven't had the opportunity to be alone in the African wilderness, but I understand this feeling of being one part of the whole, of the great mystery.