We have rented a new building for all day Sundays for the whole year of 2018, except today which was rented before our contract began. Rather than skip a meeting we rented the upstairs room of Dudley’s bookstore and had twenty-five attendees. I served as the host and did the before and after tasks to get things going and bring them to a conclusion. Our speaker was Ed Windhorse, who has a lifetime of spiritual development practices. After a presentation, he opened the meeting up into a conversation, and as most of the people there had some experience in these practices the conversation became very productive. It went quite well and an indicator of that was that most people stayed and talked for a long time after the official ending.
In a separate event earlier this morning I walked the UU labyrinth and my question to the stones was “What question should I be asking you?” Early in that 276-step walk and query to about thirty of the approximately 1400 stones, the answer morphed over into the idea that my physical being was so temporary that they thought of me as insignificant. Of course, they don’t have minds or thoughts in the sense that we humans do, but if they could communicate with us in our terms that is what they would probably say. The volcanic rocks are the youngest ones, but even those are hundreds of thousands of years old, and there are many rocks brought in by people from distant places that are certainly of much greater age. Some of the rocks I have been told come from the Himalayas and some from the Andes. Perhaps I could inquire if any have come from Western Australia, where there are rocks that are four billion years old.
In any case, my body didn’t exist in any form other than separate atoms eighty-three years ago. Not until my conception did those atoms start to get organized into the physical thing called Charles LeRoy Scamahorn. But every one of those stones in the labyrinth was probably discernible as that exact individual for vast periods of time before I was assembled. That is sobering, but even more sobering is that they will still exist in their own personal form long after I have returned to unidentifiable dust. That could happen any day and certainly will have happened in twenty years.
So you can see why those stones would be laughing at me and at my concerns about doing something significant, something that is meaningful to these other people. All of those significant other people will soon be just as gone and returned to unidentifiable dust as I. Humans as we know them have been around for only seventy thousand years, and probably the youngest of those stones is older than that. And multicellular life has only been around for half a billion years, and some of the older stones right there are older than that. And some of the small zircon crystals that are part of those stones and visible to the eye are said to be formed very early and preceded any life at all here on Earth. So perhaps you can imagine them saying, “Ha ha!”
Sometimes a short conversation with stones can be humbling.