Tag: religion

Frolics in the World of Form

Over the past few years, at the same time as I was studying organisation, disorganisation, and our relationship with stuff, I was also exploring different approaches to spirituality. I took an Alice in Wonderland approach to both, wandering about seeing what attracted my attention, lingering at points of interest, then moving on when the time was right. At some point in this process, the two interests began to converge, until they became inextricably linked. Just as physical objects require space in which to be and move, a sense of the mystery of life adds richness to how we handle the details.

In a secular society our personal spiritual or religious beliefs are generally kept separate from our professional work. There is good reason for this, as it allows people to meet on common ground, and carries with it a inherent respect for the differences between us. One limitation of this approach is that the safe common ground is often perceived to be the more material aspects of life. Things, money, behaviours and concrete provable facts are regarded as the neutral territory on which we can meet. Lacking a common language for the less tangible aspects of life they can be difficult to discuss, so we leave them out of the conversation. However in doing so we may be missing out on some key pieces to the puzzle, and ignoring a fundamental aspect of our common humanity.

New age thinkers talk about spiritual beings having a physical experience. Buddhists recognise the interbeing of all things. Eckhart Tolle describes the relationship between the form and the formless. Jesus tells us of a heaven where our true treasures are stored. Beyond specific belief systems, many individuals have a deep sense of the wonder and mystery of life. Although expressed differently, many of these traditions point to aspects of our experience that incorporate both tangible physical elements, and a more spiritual dimension, which is viewed as our true home. We may not have a common language that ties together the different forms that wisdom takes, but perhaps we are coming closer to understanding each other, borrowing from each others vocabulary, and recognising shared truths shining through when we see them.

We tend to take the concerns in the material world very seriously, drawing our identities from what we have, own, think of feel. However if we have a sense of residing in a deeper place, our efforts to make sense of the world and our place in it take on a different perspective. Are we each aspects of consciousness attempting to negotiate the physical world?  Are our lives essentially frolics in the world of form?

I don’t have all the answers, but a funny thing happens when I think this way. Physical objects and how they are organised begin to matter less in the scheme of things.  The essential qualities of the people I encounter matter more. Having a sense that we each have a true home that doesn’t depend on how we organise our stuff brings a playful compassion to the story.  Although it may not be spoken out loud, a sense of connectedness that extends beyond practical, material considerations brings a deeper dimension to what we are doing. How we organise ourselves in the world of form still matters, but it takes place in a wider context, which ultimately matters more.