Sunday, December 30, 2012

Walter Russell Mead's "Yule Blog"

He's been doing one daily for the 12 days of Christmas, from Christmas to Epiphany. Here's today's: Personal Meaning.

Virtually all human beings encounter something in life that seems to transcend ordinary experience. This is true whether or not we believe in one God, many gods or no god at all. Almost all human beings have ‘peak experiences’ from time to time. There are moments and relationships in life that point beyond the physical realities toward the meaning of life. Painting a picture, talking with a friend or a loved one, holding the hand of a small child, volunteering in a homeless shelter, watching the surf roll up the beach as the sun rises on the horizon: at certain moments in our lives these very ordinary experiences connect us with something that somehow feels more real than the superficial and trivial concerns that usually engage us.

That feeling of deeper, truer perception doesn’t just illuminate the moment in which we have it; it casts a light onto the rest of our lives. Something triggers a moment of special clarity and insight that puts the issues and problems of our daily lives into a new and more meaningful perspective. Mystics and people with strong religious beliefs see these moments as encounters with God. But others feel that these experiences are ‘spiritual’ rather than ‘religious: they experience a feeling of intense meaning and perception that isn’t grounded in any specific religious or theological context.

Click the link to read the whole thing. And the whole series, for that matter.

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