Thoughts for the Day

Canterbury Cathedral
Canterbury Cathedral

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin was not only a Jesuit priest but he was well known as a palaeontologist. Among other accomplishments, he was involved in uncovering the skull of the Peking man. As someone with a mind of both the spiritual and the scientific worlds, he has inspired me in several ways.

A birthday can be a good time for reflection, so it is on that occasion I think about one of Teilhard de Chardin’s primary concepts. The way I understand it, we constantly are evolving or spiraling to a higher and higher state, which he called the Omega Point. He described it as a “transcendent centre of unification,” a convergence, rather than a divergence.

As I apply that concept to myself, I see that I have evolved over the past decades, although perhaps starting that process later than I might have wished. As he put it, in my life there was “a clear pattern of a rise of consciousness…a continual heightening, a rising tide of consciousness.”

Like his description of Time and the Universe, “in any period of ten million years Life practically grows a new skin,” I have grown a new skin throughout my own quest. More than ever before I am aware of how my action or inaction affects my traveling companions, aware of the world around me and of its cyclic nature. It is my personal evolution – “a condition of all experience,” he would say.

There is another quote attributed to Teilhard de Chardin, although I’m not sure which of his books it is in. I use it as my own mantra.

“Our duty as men and women is to proceed as if limits to our ability did not exist.”

In his Hymn of the Universe, he writes “Happy the man [sic] who fails to stifle his vision.”

For the next several decades, I want to continue an upward evolution without stifling my vision!

A hui hou!

Canterbury Cathedral

 

I started this week out with the RMS Queen Mary 2, fondly referred to as QM2. In the interest of staying with the English theme for a couple of days, I went to the Rollright Stones in the Cotswolds yesterday. If you missed these two posts, click on them in the list below.

Today I’ll continue our British theme by taking us to the Canterbury Cathedral in Canterbury, Kent, part of the World Heritage site. It is the Mother Church of the Anglican Communion and the seat of the Archbishop of Canterbury.

The Cathedral’s history goes back to 597AD when St Augustine, sent by Pope Gregory the Great as a missionary, established his seat (or ‘Cathedra’) in Canterbury. In 1170 Archbishop Thomas Becket was murdered in the Cathedral and ever since, the Cathedral has attracted thousands of pilgrims, as told famously in Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. http://www.canterbury-cathedral.org/history/index.aspx

Of course, we just had to stay at the Chaucer Inn, right outside the walls of the cathedral. It was within a short walk of the cathedral.

 

I can’t begin to explain the eerie feeling that came over me the minute I walked into the cathedral. It was as if I’d been there before, and I definitely felt the Holy Spirit there, more than any other place I’d ever been. Walking among the tombs of the saints was an experience I’ll never forget.

There was a choir rehearsal going on when I went in. During their break, I told the choir director I was a retired United Methodist minister from Hawai`i. I was immediately invited to come join in the services that evening, but I had to decline. The Methodist denomination is a direct descendent of the Church of England, or Anglican Church.

Next time I go back, I’d like to spend more time there.

A hui hou!