Intro to new book

May 14, 2018

Life, we learn young, is one long, unending game of push and pull. One part of us pushes us always toward wholeness, toward a sense of connection with the universe which, in the very act of engagement with the human community, brings us a sense of peace. We are not here as isolates, we realize. We are here to become community. We are on an odyssey with potentiality, and we know it. We have been foreordained to make humanity more humane.

The other part of us, however, pulls us back into ourselves. It separates us from the universe around us and leaves us feeling distant and out of sync. We lack the sense of kinship that the human family is a family. It deprives us of the universal concern that drives us beyond ourselves to the center of humankind. It leaves us without what it means to be a person with a purpose, a human being whose search is for the ultimate human experience for us all.

Worse, this struggle for unity is an eternal one.

And yet, it is this very paradox of life that stretches us not only to grow but to contribute to the growth of the rest of the universe around us.

We say we seek unity, yes. But lurking within every human act is the gnawing need to be independent, to think of ourselves as distinct from the rest of life. We allow ourselves to be deluded into thinking of ourselves as superior to everything around us, in control of everything and everyone we touch.

Indeed, this search for the fullness of the self is the razor’s edge, the teeter-totter, the high-wire act that is the final measure of our happiness, our consciousness of what it actually means to be human. More, it is the answer to the great questions of life: Why am I here? What am I supposed to be doing? What is the spiritual purpose of existence?

It is a spiritual battle for the center of the soul.

Is the purpose of the gift of life to consume it for ourselves, to remake it in our own name? Or is our purpose to join the human race on its way to fullness of life for everyone? Is it to give my life back to Creation safe and undefined? Or is my role in life to be part of knitting life together for everyone so that we are all forever safe?

The struggle between the two sets of choices is an eternal one. The greatest question of them all haunts us: Whatever the battle, is the battle winnable?

This simple little book touches on four elements of mindfulness that account for all the angst in our society right now—moral maturity, spiritual witness, personal greatness, and universal kinship. These are the things that determine whether or not we go through life as part of its solution or part of the weight on its progress.

The choice is actually simple. We must only decide if we will go on lingering in the shadows of life, forever trying to choose between doing what a numbed world will call “nice,” or step up and, in the face of evil, proclaim instead what is right.

—introduction to We Are All One by Joan Chittister (23rd Publications)

We Are All One by Joan Chittister

We Are All One

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