In today’s multicultural world, the truly reliable path to coexistence, to peaceful coexistence and creative cooperation, must start from what is at the root of all cultures and what lies infinitely deeper in human hearts and minds than political opinion, convictions, antipathies, or sympathies – it must be rooted in self-transcendence:
Transcendence as a hand reached out to those close to us, to foreigners, to the human community, to all living creatures, to nature, to the universe.
Transcendence as a deeply and joyously experienced need to be in harmony even with what we ourselves are not, what we do not understand, what seems distant from us in time and space, but with which we are nevertheless mysteriously linked because, together with us, all this constitutes a single world.
Vaclav Havel, The Need for Transcendence in the Postmodern World
Boxes are comfortable and dangerous, we can curl up inside them and shut out the world with all its ambiguous questions. Decorate the walls, arrange some knick-knacks, and you could almost forget your sweet little box is a prison. We could spend our lives tucked away in the illusion of safely but if we want a life of peaceful coexistence and creative cooperation we have to risk being part of the world.
Ed’s Egg is a kids book by David Bedford that pretty much sums it up – Ed is in his egg and quite happy about his snug little spot, then he starts to hatch and finds the cold, shivery, bigness of the world way too scary. He loves his egg, why would he leave it? He quickly puts his egg back together around him so that he can see the world but the world can’t see him. Things are going fine until the shell falls apart and leaves Ed exposed, after a shaky start he gets to playing and decides that overall, the world is better than his egg.
Inside our little boxes of fear, worry, and resentment there is so little room for growth, expansion, cooperation, or change while outside the world of possibility is calling out to us to look up – even if just for a second – and see the great bigness beyond us vs. them, where there is only us and room enough for everyone.
Yes, it is immense and uncomfortable out here where anything is possible. Bad things happen to all of us and it sucks but hiding won’t help. Pull whatever courage, wonder, and belief in goodness you can muster around you and dive in! All of creation is waiting for you.
Are you stuck in a box that keeps you from the glorious bigness of the outside?