An Interfaith Perspective by Leland Stewart: An approach to a new world
In our modern search for meaning, we need to provide for our work in the world and also for that which is beyond the everyday work. Rumi touches on this aspect of life in the above quote, which is so well known. It is the place of wholeness, of spirit, of transcendence. Living life in that consciousness is what makes it worth living.
There are many possible names for this state of being, but the idea is the same regardless of the name. Some call it being with God, while others see it more as an energy that fills our lives with transcendent meaning. It gives us something special to live for, an ongoing cause to devote ourselves to. Those who have that something as a reason for living usually live longer and healthier lives, while those who do not have it tend to be less healthy and die sooner.
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In the above diagram, this rather simple expression has a profound meaning.
The plus and minus symbolize the everyday world of living and acting. It is the world that we live in most of the time. On the other hand, above the line is that which transcends the everyday world and enters the spiritual world which is beyond time and space, right and wrong, better and worse. It is the world that Rumi is talking about.
Those who discover that world and choose to live in it are the ones whose lives are constantly filled with meaning. Victor Frankl lived a long time in a concentration camp and survived, while many others who went through the same experience passed away.
I call the life which combines living in the everyday world and also going beyond that state as a theology for the new world. It can also be called by different names, such as living a life of meaning. In that state every moment of our lives is purposeful and joyous, regardless of the circumstances in which we find ourselves.
The life of someone who has discovered that spiritual state of being is likely to go through a major change of direction. When that change took place in my life, my parents could no longer understand me or share my awareness. I had previously been earning my living in engineering, whereas afterward I left that field and began studying for the ministry at Harvard Divinity School and writing the book entitled World Scriptures. My life has never been the same since then.
If you are seeking a life of meaning and of greater health and longevity, you will find it in discovering why you are on this earth at this time. If you follow that direction, then you will find happiness as you fulfill that dream wherever it might lead you.
Spirit is One; paths are many!
Rev. Leland Stewart, B.S.E., B.T.