Friday, October 14, 2005

On my travels

New York City. There's no place like it.

I'm down here visiting clients and for Parent's Weekend at my daughter's college. And I'm stunned once again at how intense this city is. The impressions are swirling as I travel to my first appointment: long subway escalators with focused people, everyone in their own worlds, shifting to glorious Vivaldi at a subway platform from a student string quartet, shifting to lines of the devout outside of synagogues for Yom Kippur, shifting to the chilling realization that even 12-year-olds are being wanded by security people before they can enter the temple.

Last night I joined some friends at The NYCS Group, which meets every week to discuss spiritual ideas. The discussion was lively, with everyone bringing what was on their minds. Afterward, at dinner, the perennial question came up: If this material existence is not real, if spiritual reality is all there is, why are we here in the first place?

The "why are we here" question is one that every spiritual seeker has to find peace with on their journey. I've never met a seeker who hasn't asked this question, and once the question comes up, it has to be answered or the questions just keep mounting.

Fortunately for me, my Christian Science teacher gave me an answer early in my journey that brought me peace. So I thought I'd offer it today. It may not be the answer for everyone, but it helped me a great deal. He said this:

You're dreaming you're riding a horse. It's a sunlit day, and you're riding through fields of grain with a fresh wind in your face.

You wake up.

Who owns the horse?

The jolt of that conundrum was enough to shake me out of needing an explanation of something that in truth has no cause. Once you wake up, it's no longer relevant who owns the horse. It doesn't matter. And this simple story made me realize that once we wake up from this mortal seeming, and are looking back at this as a dream, it will no longer matter why we were here. We will know simply that we were asleep, and had to wake up. Once we're awake, we'll only know ourselves as awake.

It reminds me of the biblical story where the disciples ask Jesus who sinned, the parents or the man, that the man was born blind? And Jesus says, Neither one, this is for the glory of God. And he heals the man. In effect, to me he's saying, Don't look for cause in material existence, but do everything for the glory of God.

My journey now, in all this swirl of activity both in New York and at home, is not about figuring out this mortal existence, but about waking up.

Your ideas and inspiration are welcome! Please comment below or Contact Laura.
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At 10/15/2005 08:59:00 PM, Anonymous Franklin said...


I have a couple of questions for you.

Am I to understand from this post that christian scientist believe that all people past, present and future are asleep and dreaming this life and that people places and things don't actually have existance.

Also, On the; why are we here question, Your're saying you have never answered this question for yourself, because it does not matter what the answer is or if there is a answer at all.

You can answer by email if you prefer.


At 10/17/2005 08:13:00 AM, Blogger Laura said...

Hi, Franklin! yes, I'll respond in email too, but just a quick note here.

I can't speak for all Christian Scientists on this or any other issue, what I'm offering is simply my own perspective from my own experience.

and I'm saying that my teacher's comments *did* answer the question for me, so I'm no longer troubled by it. Hope that helps, will respond more to you individually.



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