Mystery, Spirit, Trust


It’s natural for us humans to make sense of things. To make sense of the journey. Individually and collectively. We can’t not. Due to the kind of brains that we have. I would suggest also, due to the kind of hearts we have. We seek meaning. We can’t help to seek pattern.

Seeking and seeing pattern is generally a pretty good thing. It helps us to see the broader arc of time and circumstance. It helps us to see the broader ecosystem of experience.

The shadow side of pattern is getting stuck in reductive linearity seasoned heavily with the lure of predictability. Its outcome is a kind of numbing. Shutting down an ever-changing dynamic into a fixed and rigid entity.

I was in a sense making moment Sunday. Glad. With friend and colleague, Quanita. We were thinking about the group we had worked with that day. We were seeking for what was underneath the facilitation, and further, what was underneath the intent to create strategic plan. We were seeking more of the story that our people were searching for together.

Here’s some of what we came up with:

  1. Mystery. Let’s not kid ourselves. There will always be mystery. Unknown. Uncertainty. Unpredictable. Nuanced detail. But mystery. In the team. In the family. In the movement. In the organization. Mystery has a different invitation than confirming a list. Mystery points both to awareness of inner, and, awareness of outer.
  2. Spirit. The operating system in mystery requires orientation to spirit. The unseen. Some layer of divine. Some layer of serendipity. Or self-organizing. Or organic appearing. I know that people have quite varied reaction to references to spirit. I would suggest there is something well behind the rational of our good brains that is in play.
  3. Trust. It’s different than knowing. It’s a gut layer of intuition. It’s internal, but most likely, arising from the external too. Trust is a choice. It’s leaning in when not fully knowing why. It’s being willing to connect ideas and thoughts and feelings without being fully clear. It’s less managing the movement of water in the river. It’s more getting in the river.

These are invitations. Mystery, spirit, and trust. In my experience, people are hungry to have these welcomed. So as to speak the truth. So as to go together, in reclaimed clarity of how we undeniably exist in connection. Naturally.

Patient Trust

I love this photo from a walk last week near my home. I continue to think of my town as “where urban meets rural.” This time of year there are newborns from the rural side of things. In this photo in particular, it was fun to see what already is a miniature horse with newborn mini miniature horse. It threw my brain a bit to see the tiniest — the bigger horses are also in my neighborhood, a little further down the street. I also loved seeing the bond that is mother / young.

A friend and I are in some rather significant individual discernment these days. He in his, that regardless of choice, will shape much of the next years of his life. Me in mine, that, also, will shape much of the next years of my life. It often seems that the external is what it is all about — the job, what to do in the job, the move, how to make the move happen. Those things matter. And, I generally find that the external points to a significant internal. The “things” on the outside point to the “values” on the inside. To churn on the values, to experience external life that invokes inner awareness — that’s good stuff there.

After a call last night, seeking to bring internal to even the smallest layer of communal witnessing, same friend sent me the poem below by Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, the early 1900s French Philosopher and Jesuit Priest. I share it here, because sometimes I forget the scale that is the slow work — whether that be of divine, or inner. I need reminder of patient trust, not so much for all things to work out as I would like them, but rather, to remember that there is more happening at different scales that cultivate a trust, even of the new coming.


Patient Trust

Above all, trust in the slow work of God.
We are quite naturally impatient in everything
to reach the end without delay.

We should like to skip the intermediate stages.
We are impatient of being on the way to something
unknown, something new.

And yet it is the law of all progress
that it is made by passing through
some stages of instability—
and that it may take a very long time.

And so I think it is with you;
your ideas mature gradually—let them grow,
let them shape themselves, without undue haste.

Don’t try to force them on,
as though you could be today what time
(that is to say, grace and circumstances
acting on your own good will)
will make of you tomorrow.

Only God could say what this new spirit
gradually forming within you will be.

Give Our Lord the benefit of believing
that his hand is leading you,
and accept the anxiety of feeling yourself
in suspense and incomplete.