Recently, I was looking at family pictures using the Photos app on my MacBook. The app has a useful feature of finding photographs of individuals once they are tagged.
Looking at a picture of our new granddaughter, Adalyn, I tagged her to quickly find her photos in the future. When I did this, the app came back with a notification displaying her picture with the caption, “This person is now called Adalyn.”
That caption awoke the observation that humanness precedes the labels life assigns. Nevertheless, we are defined by the labels applied by ourselves or someone else. Adalyn has yet to learn of the impact this has on life.
The ability to make distinctions is the foundation of knowledge, language, and independence. Labels are a convenient shorthand. They allow us to “know,” but at the same time, fail to convey the whole story.
We each are a part of one another. Labels paint over that richness, objectifying intimacy for the sake of convenience. Labels don’t really define who we are. Labels that might be applied to me include; retired, male, husband, father, music-lover, impatient, thinker, introverted, and task-oriented. These words don’t go very far in revealing the person I am. Try it for yourself. The list could be expanded to twenty-five labels and still wouldn’t reveal the person we are inside.
Our mutual “We” defines each other. Spirit is the facilitator. It is the energy and active ingredient of relationships.
In time, Adalyn’s spirit will define who she is. This will be an amazing thing to experience.
Spirit is a non-physical dimension of reality. Adalyn’s spirit is not yet a strong presence in the world. My father passed away nearly ten years ago, yet his presence is strong. Spirit is everywhere, but it speaks in a whisper, forcing us to listen in order to hear what it is saying.
Growing up as a child, we lived near railroad tracks. I used them as a shortcut walking home from school. Sometimes I would set coins on the rail and watch trains smash them beyond recognition. Other times, I would see how far I could walk balancing on a rail. Once I made it all the way home!
Railroad tracks are dangerous. No one lets their kids walk down them anymore. There used to be signage at every railroad crossing, encouraging drivers to Stop, Look, and Listen.
I’ve come to realize that’s a powerful spiritual practice as well!
Perhaps if I really listen, I will discover Adalyn’s spirit is already here.
Fundamental Principle: Bringing mind, body, and spirit into balance.
A Question To Consider: When do you feel the presence of spirit in your life?
More information including background principles, suggested reading, and a library of previous posts can be found at http://tim-coats.com