From Our Pastor – April 26

April 26, 2020

To the Members and Friends of the Swampscott Church of Spiritualism:

I am sure many of you have read the wonderful story, The Way of the Peaceful Warrior, by Dan Millman. If you haven’t, it is about a young college student who meets a wise sage at a local gas station one night named Socrates.  Socrates gives young Dan a hard time in understanding who he is and what place he has in the Universe.  In once scene, Socrates genuinely challenges Dan. 

Socrates asks Dan, “Where are you today, right now?”

In Dan’s attempt to ponder this thought, the following dialogue begins with Dan’s response:

            “Eagerly, I started talking about myself. However, I noticed that I was still being   sidetracked from getting answers to my questions. Still, I told him [Socrates] about my distant and recent past and about my inexplicable depressions. He listened patiently and intently, as if he had all the time in the world, until I finished several hours later.”

Dan digresses about his life and all the struggles, hardships and situations he has endured. He hopes to find someone who can answer all of his questions about his life. Dan gets his answers, just not in the way he once thought:

“Very well,” [Socrates] said. “But you still have not answered my question about where you are.”

“Yes I did, remember? I told you how I got to where I am today: by hard work.”

“Where are you?” Socrates asks.

“What do you mean, where am I?”

“Where Are you?” he repeated softly.

“I’m here.”

“Where is here?”

“In this office, in this gas station!” [Dan quickly gets] impatient with this game.

“Where is this gas station?” [Socrates asks]

“In Berkeley?”

“Where is Berkeley?”

“In California?”

“Where is California?”

“In the United States?…On a landmass, one of the continents in the Western Hemisphere. Socrates, I…” [Dan attempts to continue but is abruptly stopped].

“Where are the continents?

[Dan] sigh[s]. “On the earth. Are we done yet?”

“Where is the earth?”

“In the solar system, third planet from the sun. The sun is a small star in the Milky Way galaxy, all right?”

“Where is the Milky Way?”

“Oh, brother, ” [Dan] sigh[s] impatiently, rolling [his] eyes. “In the universe.” [Dan sits] back and cross[es] [his] arms with finality.

“And where,” Socrates smile[s], “is the universe?”

“The universe is well, there are theories about how it’s shaped…”

“That’s not what I asked. Where is it?”

“I don’t know – how can I answer that?”

“That is the point. You cannot answer it, and you never will. There is no knowing about it. You are ignorant of where the universe is, and thus, where you are. In fact, you have no knowledge of where anything is or of what anything is or how it came to be. Life is a mystery…My ignorance is based on this understanding”, Socrates states, “ Your understanding is based on ignorance. This is why I am a humorous fool, and you are a serious jackass.”

This snapshot helps to highlight our lives right now. While we are uncertain of where we are and where things will be as a result of the Coronavirus and our social distancing, we have to choose to take a step back. We don’t have all of the answers. But one answer is certain for all of us. This answer is captured later on in the book when Dan and Socrates come full circle:

“Where are you? [Socrates]

“Here.” [Dan]

“What time is it?” [Socrates]

“Now.” [Dan]

“What are you?” [Socrates]

“This moment.” [Dan]

Just like Dan, we always have the opportunity to take a pause and step into the moment. We can choose to be like young Dan and want all of the answers, but as Spiritualists, we already know the answers are held in one place, “This moment.”

So while we continue to endure the changes that are currently presented to us, it makes sense that we find the beauty in each and every moment that create another day we are alive, and let’s be grateful. I am grateful to know that I have my spiritual community around me, and I am grateful that I know, one day, we will share in the moments together. If we just breathe into this idea, then that moment is not too far away.

With love and light,

Rev. Jason