MONDAY OF LENT WEEK 5
John 8: 12-20
I know where I came from and where I am going.
Many people today live in long-distance relationships. Because of work or other complicating factors they text, skype or call sometimes several times a day. Long absences can weaken and undermine relationships, or they can strengthen and mature them. Every relationship has an optimum distance. This focal length in which we ‘see’ each other is not a fixed measure. It adjusts to conditions. It is indeed tough for people who love, to be apart. They miss each other; but sometimes it’s a ‘good miss’, as someone I was close to once told me.
Ways of being in relationship have been radically affected by technology, globalisation and the internet. Love itself hasn’t been changed; but love grows through forms and habits especially in the early stages and in childhood. A child may be thrilled to skype with its frequently absent parent when he calls from an airport far away to say goodnight, but it’s not the same as being there every night.
During these reflections I have been returning to the different dimensions of reality. I keep harping on about the contemplative dimension because I feel that this one, which is weakened and frequently ignored in our fast-paced and fragmented global culture, is essential for dealing with the dehumanising aspects of life ‘on the grid’ today. Being online, available, instantly accountable, with little time to reflect and ponder, has its dangers as well as its positive aspects. It can, for example, become addictive. Meditators, like anyone else, find it hard to turn off their phones although they may better understand the need to do so periodically. People frequently say they want ‘to get away from it all for a while’. But when the opportunity comes they find an excuse not to. If we forget how to live in the contemplative dimension – still, silent, simple and now – we risk losing everything we have gained through technology and social progress.
The most distant of all relationships is with God, if we live exclusively in the three dimensions of time and space. We skype with him at church and squeeze in other appointments in our busy schedule. This makes God feel always distant and as real as a child’s imaginary friend. To the non-believer this proves God to be a human creation, a crutch, a drug, another source of false consolation, rather than Being, consciousness itself.
The power opening new dimensions of reality is love. (Meditation is the work of love.) For a couple separated by time zones and geography, love proves that they are always present with each other.
This is now bringing us closer to the purpose of Lent – which is to understand Easter better. And to see why meditation opens new dimensions of reality.