For much of the Western world, Psalm Sunday came and went, and Easter is around the corner. Whether you ascribe to the historical Jesus as Saviour, regard Him as a Master Teacher, confuse him with those who inflict intolerance and violence in His name, or see him as the Great Exception or Great Example, this time of year brings forward something vital to consider. What lives on after what is past is shed? How is what transcends time best reached and communicated?
If social networking had been around in His day, would Jesus have tweeted about the reception He was getting underneath those palm leaves the week before he was betrayed? I doubt it.
And, yet, this pretty much seems the norm these days as we receive tweets from those aspiring to fame and fortune as often as from those we know who are using this vehicle to simply stay in touch with what seems important to them. The question is, what do you believe is important?
Come on, now, let's be honest. Do you really want to know that your buddy is at the grocery store, or that he spotted some hot babes down the street, or worse? How much do you use Twitter to enhance the quality of your life? How much is Twitter used in ways that could liberate you from the mundane and free you to what truly nourishes your Spirit? How could it be used by you and your friends to deepen contribution even more? I'd like to know.
Many of the younger people assure me that Twitter and the like are a replacement for not only the phone and "snail mail" but even email, the customary reason being that "we don't have time to talk or really write." If this be true, then what, prey tell, is worth the time? While it is true that Americans and many in the Western world have "less time" and are working longer hours (if they are fortunate enough to have a job), in the wee amount of time that is available, what makes living worthwhile? What sort of connection?
Increasingly, those of us in health care, including neuroscience, are observing that meaningful connections are crucial to well-being and intimacy. So I am asking sincerely, in hopes of starting a dialogue: what enriches your connection with others the most? Although quantum physicists assure us that time is an illusion, it is, nonetheless, a collectively shared illusion. We watch our clocks. We fret when we are running late or delayed in traffic. We are annoyed when others keep us waiting. Too much of the time we crowd too much into too little time and are left exhausted.
All this being said, consider the following. If today, God forbid, were your last day of life, what would be the most meaningful way for you to communicate what is in your heart? Would you Twitter? I'm asking this seriously. How would you proceed? I am not seeking to judge but to understand. Where is the best meeting place for your heart? This is your calling. Napolean Hill, author of bestselling classic "Think and Grow Rich," called this your "chief aim in life." Whatever you call it, this is the dwelling place of your soul, or psyche.
Recently, journalist and former First Lady of California Maria Shriver asked one of my favorite poets, Mary Oliver, "How do you know when something is a calling?" Oliver responded, "When you can't help but go there. We all have a hungry heart, and one of the things we hunger for is happiness. So as much as I possibly could, I stayed where I was happy." Oliver, like many artists, mystics and great thinkers before her, seeks out stillness, the natural noise, freed from the constant noise of a world playing "Beat the Clock." It is in this place of stillness -- in between your heart's contractions, according to Colorado-based Heart-Math Institute -- that the mind is informed best by the silence of your heart. It is in this pause place, between the beating, that the most profound inspiration, soulful connection and creations are heard from the "wee small voice."
Every day we hear the lament, "But the world is changing." Yes, it is, and yet some things remain the same. We can confuse activity and hyperconnectivity with meaningful connection, but it is in the space between the white noise of this world that we can begin to discern the difference between the voices of others that lure us back into business as usual, and the One who would call us home to our own original song.
In her poem "The Journey," Mary Oliver, puts it this way:
"One day you finally knew
What you had to do, and began"
Your turn: How is the deepest place in you reached? How does it communicate best? What conditions facilitate the most touching connection for you with yourself? For you with others? How might social networking be used best for greater purpose? I'm listening and learning from you, my teachers.
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