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  • Writer's pictureNancy Willbern, PhD

Pneuma: Part Two

I am a hole in a flute

that (God’s*) breath moves through.

Listen to the music.


In my last blog post, I wrote about the connection of George Floyd’s final words: “I can’t breathe,” to the deleterious effects of the Covid-19 virus on the lungs of its victims, to the underlying sense of our collective loss of Soul. In that piece I talked about the Genesis story of the temptation of Adam and Eve as mythical representations of all of us, as humans – and how their (our) deciding to act and think on their own has, over the centuries taken us to a place of soul-less suffocation.

         I also mentioned that there would be a Part Two to this discussion. If I left you forever with the proposed conclusion that it was only our collective decision to separate ourselves from our Creative Source in order to think on our own as the basic problem here, I would be leaving you with only half of the story.

Breaking the rules is a requirement for every step towards expansion.

We had to eat from that forbidden tree in order for us to grow into what it means to be human. If we hadn’t and instead had only obeyed the rules of the ultimate rule-maker, Jehovah we would have missed out on the most glorious tip of evolution – the privilege and responsibility of being human. Our sitting on the top of the animal kingdom (and I may be being anthropomorphically ego-centric, here) with the development of the frontal lobe provides us with a most cherished gift – the gift to participate in our own, collective as well as individual development. We, as conscious creatures get to choose whether to stay in our seemingly-safe-habituated patterns of thought and behavior – or – choose to risk moving into unknown, unexplored territory. That’s what Adam and Eve’s fateful taste of the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil brought to us – a capacity for choice, for independence. They chose to risk even death in order to experience the freedom to think on their own. And that is a gift of inestimable value.

         The problem is, as I see it is that we have taken that gift too far. With that first fateful bite, we were launched into a whole new experience of personal-power. And we have gotten lost in a heady, but going-nowhere-maze of our own making. That ultimate gift that comes with being human brings with it a hidden paradox. The gift of decision-making which establishes our independence, if used from the position of greatest potential involves freely choosing to maintain a relationship to the Source of Life that connects us all. When we make that choice, the choice to be the flute, our stale recycled air is forever refreshed and our Souls are once again enlivened. The solution is both/and – claim our birthright of personal freedom, but use it to turn back into right relationship with the Whole with which we are still a part.

I think we are sitting on that choice-point right now. And how we respond to it, both individually and collectively will determine either an enlivened Soul-filled future or more struggling to breathe in our own stale-air.

PS. After I wrote this draft, my son, Jake and I went for a walk on the hike and bike trail around Town Lake. A daddy and his itty-bitty daughter came walking towards us from the opposite direction. This tiny little peanut looked up at us with pure delight and squealed, holding her little hands outstretched while opening and closing her fingers in a toddler-style wave. I smiled back at her, mimicking her waving and said, “Hi! Hi! Hi!.” She squealed again, so thrilled that she had sparked the attention of a new friend along the way. And in that one, unexpected JOY-filled-connected-moment, this little stranger had become the hole in the flute allowing the breath of God *to flow through all of us like music, filling our Souls to the brim.

*(If the word, God carries off-putting or antiquated connotations for you, fill in the space with your own term that best expresses Universal Love. Although Hafiz was a Sufi, in his original poem he actually uses the word, Christ. I never want language to stand in the way of a deeper, truer essence that exists beyond the level of words.)


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