LIBERATING VISIONS. . .

Greenleaf writes: [Regarding] the subject of liberating visions, I was prepared to receive one by my deep immersion in the student turmoil of the sixties and by reading Hesse as part of my search for understanding of what was going on in student minds. The liberating vision that took me into one of the most interesting and productive chapters of my life was delivered by Hermann Hesse. What I have learned. . .is that liberating visions can come from anywhere at any time. . . Important to me are:
• Immerse oneself in the experiences this world offers.
• Be accepting of the people involved in these experiences, and seek to understand what moves them.
• Acknowledge – and stand in awe before – the ineffable mystery that shrouds the source of all understanding of human motives that leads to visions.
• Be open to receive, and act upon, what inspiration offers.

Greenleaf also offers us the four things important to him; they prompt questions from me.

• What are the experiences the world offers me that I choose to deeply immerse myself in? How do I choose which experiences to immerse myself in? For me, ‘depth’ implies, among other things, ‘darkness’ – the unknown and the unforeseeable and it involves some risk. ‘Depth-immersing’ also requires a combination of faith, trust and doubt rooted in inquiry. In order to choose to immerse myself I must be awake and aware and intentional and purpose-full so I am able to discern the experiences that might serve me well.
• How open am I to accepting the people involved in the experiences? How open am I to seeking to understand what moves them? This, for me, entails an interesting tension: I seek to accept the people and understand what moves them; I might not accept what moves them – my charge is to understand what moves them. Too often I find myself when choosing not to accept what moves them I end up choosing not to accept the person.
• Greenleaf offers us an idea that stretches and challenges my mind: the human motives that lead to visions are ‘shrouded’ (not easily discerned) in ‘mystery’ – not just any ‘mystery’ but the mystery that is ‘ineffable’ (that is, the mystery that is incapable of being expressed or described in words). Our task is not to ‘understand’ the ineffable mystery but to accept it (perhaps even accept that such a mystery actually exists). For folks who are ‘concrete’ and focused on ‘doing’ and are ‘operationally strong’ this challenge is indeed a daunting one.
• Greenleaf concludes with the challenge (or is it an invitation) to be open to receive and act upon, what inspiration offers. So immersion, understanding, and acknowledging are not sufficient. We are charged with being open so we might receive and then we are charged with acting. This is consistent with Greenleaf: the philosopher and the activist. This final charge offered to us by Greenleaf involves a ‘both-and’ and this is also consistent with Greenleaf. How do I prepare myself to be open to receiving what inspiration offers and how do I prepare myself so that I might then choose to act?

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