Truths Ancient and Simple

The process of living seems to consist in coming to realise truths so ancient and simple that, if stated, they sound like barren platitudes. They cannot sound otherwise to those who have not had the relevant experience: that is why there is no real teaching of such truths possible and every generation starts from scratch.

~CS Lewis, Letters of CS Lewis (8 May, 1939), p. 166

Take 4

I just got through a fresh listen to Till We shave Faces, and it’s been a great & deep experience every time for me, with room to see & appreciate more on subsequent reads. I really like the aspect of Lewis’s treatment and answer to lament of “Job” in this book, much like GKC’s The Man Who Was Thursday. I remember thinking after reading one of GMD’s books that it was much the same idea, but I can’t remember now which book that was. I liked the development of the idea of what happens when we go against the little ray of light we have been given. Which is usually all we get – a glimpse; John said no man hath “seen” God at any time, and maybe relates to truth as well, we can’t “see” it clearly because we are not such as are *able* to see it yet. Not till we have faces. And I liked how Orual was able to help make reparations for the damage she had caused, and that as she tried to find a way to do her work, she was always given help. And of course, that to be heard at all, and to know that there is “one who hears” and knows, is in some sense to be answered. Perhaps at this stage in our growth, it is the only sense in which we can be answered. As a babe cries out in its anguish, not even knowing what the cause of his pain is, just to hear the voice of his mother is a consolation, because he knows that help is on the way. So we, not having a full knowledge of the universe (or even of our own selves) cry out our blind complaint against the gods. And the God comes, and hears the cry of our hearts, and we have been heard. Help is on the way. 🌸

The Naked Seed

My heart is empty. All the fountains that should run

With longing, are in me
Dried up. In all my countryside there is not one
That drips to find the sea.
I have no care for anything thy love can grant
Except the moment’s vain
And hardly noticed filling of the moment’s want
And to be free of pain.
Oh, thou that art unwearying, that dost neither sleep
Nor slumber, who didst take
All care for Lazarus in the careless tomb, oh keep
Watch for me till I wake.
If thou think for me what I cannot think, if thou
Desire for me what I
Cannot desire, my soul’s interior Form, though now
Deep-buried, will not die,
—No more than the insensible dropp’d seed which grows
Through winter ripe for birth
Because, while it forgets, the heaven remembering throws
Sweet influence still on earth,
—Because the heaven, moved moth-like by thy beauty, goes
Still turning round the earth.

CS Lewis

But Will it Make Me Happy? 

The question for me regarding the validity of a religion is, does the philosophy match up to reality – does it produce real results that work across the spectrum of the various fields and areas that we inhabit as human beings? 

There are various ideas on having a successful business, as there are many fields of thought on the subject of bodily health and medicine. And the thing you’ve got to ask yourself after hearing the theories (and hopefully testing them in your head to see if they even seem coherent or make sense) is, “But does it work?” In other words, is it true? Does this idea match up to the reality of the world we live in, or is it a “nice idea,” but not at all practical? Even saying it that way clouds my meaning, because there are differing meanings of the word “practical.” So the question “does it actually work?” ends up being a better test in this space. 

And I think at the end of the day and when you get down to the full meaning intended by the verbiage used and the picture painted by the various religions, that Christianity is the one that the most “true.” It is the one religion that is big enough to not only match up to the reality of the conditions of life we find ourselves in as human beings, but also large enough to cover all the bases, beginning with the care of all the multitudinous needs of every individual man, woman and child on this earth. Once those are considered, we find that the Christian point of view then still has breadth to cover the needs of humanity considered as a whole, and of the creatures that coinhabit this earth with us, and of the planet itself. 

Once the needs of all the beings on the planet are considered, organized and arranged for, then we have the possibility of an operating system without missing code or bugs , and we have the potential for everything to work and flow smoothly in harmony and peace. And at that point, we have the possibility for peace and fulfillment for every individual within that system. When all the pieces are set to right, then you have a world that is conducive to the flourishing of the human mind, heart and soul, and the flower of that eudaimonea is the happiness we were looking for all along. 

But as Lewis says, you can’t get that flower of happiness by seeking out the flower first, or by trying to find “happiness” itself. You have to do the work of planting the right seed (one that will actually produce flowers), tending to the seedling and young plant, watering it, fertilizing it, and weeding it. And then, at some point after some considerable time has been spent in setting the plant right, all your labors pay off, and one morning when you had almost forgotten about the roses, you find your plant has flowered. 


He Casts No Shadow

We should, I believe, distrust states of mind which turn our attention upon ourselves… When the sun is vertically above a man he casts no shadow: similarly, when we have come to the Divine meridian our spiritual shadow (that is, our consciousness of self) will vanish. One will thus in a sense be almost nothing: a room to be filled by God and our blessed fellow creatures, who in their turn are rooms we help fill. 
— C.S. Lewis, Letter to Walter Hooper