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Faith Matters: Living that good, right life

  • The National Spiritualist Alliance, 2 Montague Avenue, Lake Pleasant. Contributed photo

  • David James in his rocking chair in his Lake Pleasant home. November 27, 2018 Recorder Staff/PAUL FRANZ

  • David James, former Recorder Religion Page columnist, in his rocking chair in his Lake Pleasant home. Recorder Staff/PAUL FRANZ



former Religion Page columnist
Friday, December 07, 2018

(Each Saturday, a faith leader in Franklin County offers a personal perspective in this space. To become part of this series, email religion@recorder.com)

“ ... the point is to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.”

-— Ranier Maria Rilke, from “Letters to a Young Poet”

For the past dozen years, on a warm and sunshiny afternoon within four fortnights or so following Spring Equinox, I enjoy nothing more than sitting in a rickety rocking chair on my front porch in the Village of Lake Pleasant, watching ant armies march to and fro along a gravel path winding through the yard leading from driveway to house.

Annually when I do so, the sight inevitably launches me into musings on metaphysicalities: Who am I? ... Why am I here? ... What does it all mean?

Just as I observe the ant armies from on high, unobserved by them pursuing their workaday rituals of seasonal ant life, I always begin wondering who or what from where or when, unobserved by me, did that very morning perhaps observe me raking lawn litter of tree leaf and limb, mowing grass and weeding garden — in short, pursuing my workaday rituals of warm-weather human life.

Metaphysics is the domain of philosophy which searches for the El Dorado-bedrock nature of reality. It means beyond nature, beyond physics, and what metaphysicians seek is origin and content of the essence of existence, of the secret of all secrets, of materiality and non-materiality, of seen and of sensed, of body and of soul.

From 2001 to 2007, I wrote Living Faith in the Greenfield Recorder (the Faith Matters equivalent then) and produced almost 200 feature stories and personal opinion columns focusing on people, places and practices involving religion and spirituality, and occasionally humanistic secularity, in the greater Franklin County area.

Since then, I have continued “Holy Grailings” from my rickety rocker, inside in the winter and on the front porch in other seasons and have also sporadically been featured Sunday services speaker at village neighbor, the National Spiritual Alliance.

TNSA’s Principle 6 is captioned “Personal Responsibility” and reads “Cause produces effect through thoughts, words and deeds. Consequently, we create ourselves and our circumstances and are alone responsible for our choices and creations.”

Those who profoundly ponder metaphysical mysteries of essence and existence have become aware of significant commonalities, universal or nearly so, of not only sacred, but also secular concepts of living a “right” life and precepts for living that “good” right life. How can we make the most of the opportunity in the human form, at least, if not in other lives, other forms ... to become “better” souls this morning than we were last night?

Armed and armored with prescriptions from sacred and secular sources, such as the Golden Rule, Do unto others as you would have others do unto you, and Genomic Psychology, Doing good is good for the doer (and not so shabby for the done good to, too).

Because life is finite ... is it not wise to always attempt to live sufficiently in the here and now — the time and place in which we are most fully alive and able to influence ourselves and others, depending on ourselves and our circumstances and others and their circumstances? — while also being aware that all our yesterdays were once tomorrows which came to pass and a bare-bones plan is sound in case today’s tomorrow should follow suit.

Because life is finite, is it not also wise to always attempt to do the best we can? ... knowing fully that sometimes our best will be better than at other times, again depending on ourselves and our circumstances and others and theirs.

If we attempt to do and be these things, then when death does come, will we not have fewer regrets because of our attempt to make the most of the opportunity in this life to learn and to live and to love? Tempus fugit. Carpe Diem.

About The National Spiritual Alliance

TNSA, 2 Montague Avenue, Lake Pleasant is a church and an umbrella organization for affiliated Spiritualist churches, missions, state and regional organizations across the country (email contact@spiritualallianceusa.org or visit www.spiritualallianceusa.org). Founded in 1913, TNSA conducts weekly services Sunday at 10:30 a.m. and a Christian Spiritualist service at 2 p.m. the first Sunday of each month. TNSA’s core beliefs include continuity of life and communication between souls in the material world of flesh and souls in the immaterial world of spirit.