Saturday, August 6, 2011

First Friday

Across the country, in many towns and cities you can find a variety of First Friday events, most having to do with art galleries, restaurants, neighborhood tours, and Open Houses. Here in my little community, the event that I participate in on the First Friday of every month is a spirituality discussion group. We gather informally, but regularly, just seven or eight of us, to talk about the nature of our quest for spiritual connection -- within ourselves, with each other, with the universe.

We have each tried many paths to peace, and we share with each other what has worked so far and what has not. For me, the journey is like Franz Kafka's reflexive parable on parables:

On Parables
Many complain that the words of the wise are always merely parables and of no use in daily life, which is the only life we have. When the sage says "Go over," he does not mean that we should cross to some actual place, which we could do anyhow if the labor were worth it; he means some fabulous yonder, something unknown to us, something too that he cannot designate more precisely, and therefore cannot help us here in the very least. All these parables really set out to say merely that the incomprehensible is incomprehensible, and we know that already. But the cares we have to struggle with every day: that is a different matter. . . .
from Parables and Paradoxes
by Franz Kafka, 1883 - 1924

The fabulous, the unknown, the incomprehensible, the cares we have to struggle with. That's what we discuss.

For example, this past Friday, we invited a special guest, Goldie Freeman, who talked to us about strategies for stress reduction, relaxation, and self - healing (see card above). I was most intrigued by Goldie's description of how our souls can be shattered by trauma and how the dislocated shards must be gathered and restored in order to achieve spiritual wholeness and health.

I couldn't help thinking of the selfish Voldemort who severs his soul intentionally, in his remorseless quest for immortality at the expense of others. The symbology of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows had been on my mind all day, and prior to Goldie's presentation, I had been explaining to other group members about the Horcruxes and the Hallows. So, what a fitting coincidence that the divided soul should be one of our topics for the evening!

No matter what the subject happens to be, I never fail to leave a First Friday meeting without plenty of food for thought and the certainty of feeling more connected to the spiritual universe than I did before.

“Promises for apparently impossible contingencies
are not given. But if one achieves the impossible,
the promises appear retrospectively,
precisely where one had looked in vain
for them before.” ~Kafka

P.S. My thanks to Michael Lipsey, Master of the Epigram, for this concluding passage from Kafka.

*To read the entire parable, see my post "Go Over!"

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