The Tale of Two Trees
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How in the world are the "Two Trees" in the story of the Garden of Eden remotely related to how we view the world today and why we view it so differently perhaps now that we've been on the path of deconstructing (or as our guest this week calls it "composting") our faith?
And especially how do these "Two Trees" explain why it's so difficult to navigate relationships within society, and for us, with those in our circle who see things so differently than us? And what the heck do they have to do with parenting our kids? To give a brief glimpse into what we're chatting about today on the podcast, here are some questions (and a little bit of a hint at some thoughts - not answers) for you to consider: 1. What if the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil represents black-and-white thinking? All-or-nothing thinking? Dualistic thinking? And if you are wondering what the heck dualistic thinking is, here's a brief description from Richard Rohr. "The dualistic mind is essentially binary, either/or thinking. It knows by comparison, opposition, and differentiation. It uses descriptive words like good/evil, pretty/ugly, smart/stupid, not realizing there may be a hundred degrees between the two ends of each spectrum. Dualistic thinking works well for the sake of simplification and conversation, but not for the sake of truth or the immense subtlety of actual personal experience. Most of us settle for quick and easy answers instead of any deep perception, which we leave to poets, philosophers, and prophets. Yet depth and breadth of perception should be the primary arena for all authentic religion. How else could we possibly search for God?" To sum it all up, the either/or, "dualistic mind cannot process things like infinity, mystery, God, grace, suffering, sexuality, death, or love."
2. What if the Tree of Life is symbolic of the fullness of humanity and spirituality, the nuance and complexity of what it means to walk the path of non-duality? More from Rohr (and it might feel a little bit heady and lofty, but sit with it if you can): "Nondual consciousness is about receiving and being present to the moment, to the now, without judgment, analysis, or critique, without deciding whether you like it or not. Reality does not need you to like it in order to be reality. This is a much more holistic knowing, where your mind, heart, soul, and senses are open and receptive to the moment just as it is, which allows you to love things in themselves and as themselves. You learn not to divide the field of the moment or eliminate anything that threatens your ego, but to hold everything—both the attractive and the unpleasant—together in one accepting gaze." The easiest way to think about it is "BOTH/AND" thinking and even more so, holding space that two things can be true at the same time. In fact, many things can be true at the same time. Some examples:
1. We can be sad and happy that our children are growing up. 2. We can be relieved and devastated that our parent's battle with cancer ended in death.
3. We can grieve the loss of our faith community and never want it back. So back to the "Two Trees" and the last questions for this week. Which tree represents your faith tradition, perhaps the one that you are "deconstructing" from? Which tree explains where you might be on this ever-evolving faith journey? Why does it matter at all?
This Week on the Podcast: Mike Morrell, coauthor of the Divine Dance with Richard Rohr (a pretty big deal), dad of two, an opti-mystic (which he likes to call himself), and Dudeist Priest (look it up here), is our guest this week. He's a contemplative-in-process, seeking a more grounded experience of God, life, himself and the world, not because of grand mystical aspiration, but in order to stay sane in the here and now.
He's pretty sure his two girls are funny and brilliant – both my academically ‘gifted’ (as the school system names her aptitude) daughter and my Down syndrome daughter. Spiritually speaking, he's a recovering fundamentalist, but these days, he draws nourishment from all streams of the Christian family, as well as those of other faiths and none at all.
His soft-spoken, gentle, and very authentic nature as we walk through how the "Two Trees" impact our faith, our parenting and, truth be told, all of our lives, made us wish we could keep talking forever.
Once you listen, you might just want to become an opti-mystic too. You can find Mike at the following:
Instagram: @genuine michael
Facebook: Michael Morrell
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One last thing. We want to remind you that we are so glad you are here. We wouldn't be the same without you. You will always find GRACE for where you've been and who you are now, and SPACE for who you are becoming and will be.
Carry on, our new-found friends. Welcome to the twisty-windy, full -of-adventure faith path that's laid out before us all. Love,
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