Beginning with a consideration of all the conflicts in the world and how the underlying oppositions of life become increasingly revealed before us, Michael Meade uses the sense of increasing polarization as an indication that something deeper and more unifying is also trying to appear. Amidst the growing uncertainty, he suggests it is important to find meaningful paths to follow and soulful ways to live. Using old stories about spiritual conflicts of belief, he works his way towards the ancient Tree of Life and the old idea of the Great Way and how the many ways of art and practice are intended to lead us to the unifying tree at the center of life.
This episode begins with a distinction between signs and symbols, specifically the sense that a sign points to something evident whereas a symbol can connect to the mysteries of life and death. In the aftermath of the most recent mass shooting in Las Vegas, and amidst the ongoing tragic conditions in Puerto Rico, Michael Meade talks about the necessity of having a meaningful practice for finding psychic grounding and places of stability. He also laments that the battle between life and death has become the story of modern culture and argues for the necessity of “living symbols” that connect us to the enduring presence of the other world and the deep imagination that is the genuine legacy of the human soul.
Michael Meade begins with a poem that suggests that the big dream of the world may be increasingly obscured by the nightmare of endless war and the growing number of conflicts throughout the world. In a heartfelt response to many who write in about being discouraged about life, he argues that freedom is found in the active, imaginative mind and in the hidden poetic union of the soul. Weaving ideas about the roots of human creativity and the articulation of beauty and meaning in the world, the path leads to ideas of the deep self as being the center of life and source of the ongoing dream of the world. In the midst of annihilating storms and threatening culture wars, the individual self and soul become the necessary place to turn to and the essential place to stand when the future of the world is at risk.