Here's some random thoughts that have been recently floating around in that murky mess I refer to as "my head".
- As I listen to John Coltrane's "Interstellar Space", arguably one of his most difficult-to-listen collections of music, I continue to be more convinced that he was as much a mystic as any religious figure throughout history. He was on a quest to convey the unspeakable...something beyond the veil of our earthly perceptions...isn't that what a religious mystic does?
- I'm a believer in "the perennial truth", that at the core of all religion is a common truth. Religious dogma tends to obscure or claim whatever truth to be their own which I consider BS. In a conversation with a friend, I was trying to explain the concept of truth by drawing on a piece of paper a dot, representing "truth", and a circle around the dot to represent any religion. As I was attempting to define a spot on the circle to represent Christianity, and another to represent Islam, and so on, with lines from the circle to the dot, representing the spiritual quest from the starting point of an early religious experience, my friend blurted out "THAT LOOKS LIKE A BOOB!!!". I ended the conversation with "never mind".....
- While I'm intentionally discreet (most of the time) in sharing my political views, I have concerns on our present state of discourse which, as I see it, is a continuation of a process in which its complicated to pinpoint the start but is probably easier to to identify more recent turning points, of which there are several. My concern is more in the way people are behaving towards each other as they perceive and process circumstances. There is a lot of fear and people tend to respond to fear in irrational and ugly ways. However, I do take solace in the fact that, while history doesn't exactly repeat, it does (as Mark Twain said) "rhyme". While the stakes, on a global level have never been higher, people have dealt with societal ebbs and flows comparable to what we are presently experiencing (i.e. pandemic, economic/political instability). The present conditions have unique elements but there are also elements very much the same as eras past. If you study history, you will always find remarkable examples of hope, strength, and love in the midst of such times of trial. While I fear we are at the cusp of more fearful times, I'm also hopeful of what can arise from such times.
- As of the time of this writing, the U.S. is at the lowest point of COVID-19 cases and deaths since the March 2020, the start of the pandemic. This is attributed to either the vaccination efforts of the past 6 months (I got mine) or its all been a big hoax. Personally, having two kids get diagnosed with COVID and having multiple friends get hospitalized this past year (1 of which died), I'm saying there is no way this was all a hoax. All that said, it feels like we are starting to get beyond the worst of this (Lord, I hope so!). But I really question whether there will be a full "return" to pre-COVID normalcy. Perhaps on a superficial level, there will be a return: crowds, movies theatres, concerts, travel. Those are coming back. But I must assume that I'm not alone in being very aware of my own actions as I return to more social activities. I'm far less comfortable in crowds (never was a fan to begin with). I'm more aware of other peoples behavior and get more easily agitated to the point I would rather avoid crowds. If I hear someone cough or sneeze, that draws my attention more quickly than pre-COVID days. I suspect there will be a collective re-acclimation to social etiquette but I do honestly question if I will ever see some things the same ever again.