This episode of Living Myth begins when the local power grid suddenly goes down in the middle of the evening telecast about all the conflicts and troubles in the world. Michael Meade finds himself plunged into a darkness of a different order: “Suddenly, the procession of polarizations, conflicts and tragedies stopped. And I was left in an old place of darkness that was different than the darkness of the broadcast news. Suspended in timeless silence between candles beginning to flicker in the room and the stars flickering in the sky above, an old idea came back like a refuge suddenly found.”
The idea that sparked like a light in the darkness comes from the mythology of a small tribe in South America who imagine that each soul is secretly connected to the center of the cosmos and the source of life. The presence of a “good word” or wise word in each soul, we could say, is the good news. Each person born arrives with gifts and inner knowledge waiting to awaken and be shared.
The bad news is that each person also has a “word placed crosswise” on their soul. In this old understanding, the word crosswise is the true source of human conflicts that leads to all the troubles in the world. Not simply a lack of knowledge, but an inborn, contrary element that blocks our vision, works against our best interests and resists our efforts to become more self-aware and learn to heal.
At this time on earth it seems that crosswise and unwise elements dominate life in ways that threaten both nature and human culture. Yet, in this old story of the soul, there is a third component that can tip the whole story towards finding genuine meaning and healing. The “word held in waiting” is the key to unlocking the opposition between that which is wise and all that is crosswise within us and in our culture. If people are willing to face that which is crosswise on the soul, both personally and collectively, the “waiting word” can appear as the light hidden in darkness, as the living word of healing and wisdom we have been waiting for.
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