What is Emerging?
An experience that seems to have re-emerged in recent history is that of “seeing with new eyes, with eyes of the heart.” Actually, the mystics of all ages have experienced this kind of seeing but used different words to describe it.
Elaine Prevallet authored a lovely and challenging booklet entitled “Reflections on Simplicity” in which she shares a bit of the life of John Woolman, a Quaker who lived in the 1700s in colonial New Jersey. Woolman sensed that as people were gradually introduced to luxury and superfluity and taking more than they need, future generations would be affected negatively. He saw people over time grow into what he called “dimness of sight,” no longer able to perceive the truth of a situation. So slavery, injustice to the Native Americans, accumulation of wealth, materialism and eventually war, the result of unchecked greed, became the status quo. Woolman’s “inner eye” sensed this injustice and opposed it.
Elaine reflected on how Woolman’s theory was true in 1982, the time of her writing on simplicity. She wrote, “We in our times do not need more signs because the signs are overwhelming. We do not ‘see’ them … We do not ‘see’ the sheer stupidity of continuing to build weapons systems … It seems that anyone could see that … build-up is suicide, but societally, we do not ‘see’ … We do not seem to be able to stop producing, even when the evidence is right before us that it is killing us … We just do not ‘see.’ We keep consuming and wasting and producing more. We are unable to turn back. The signs are right before us …. We need only eyes to see.” (“Reflections on Simplicity,” Elaine Prevallet, 1982, pp. 24-25.)
Move forward to 2021. The signs of our time are right before us. In one sense it seems the signs have not changed. And yet science has helped us see reality in a new way; spirituality has become more central to many lives; we are more aware of a global connection. Do we see that God is doing a new thing — a shift in consciousness, perhaps? Do we see with the “eyes of the heart?” We invite you to ponder with us: What is it that wants to happen now? How do we need to be for it to happen?
If you would like to share any reflections with us, we would be happy to receive them. Thank you.