And Jesus saith unto him, The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.
Man is a bridge between two infinities.
A bridge between the animal and the divine, between the material and the spiritual. On one side is nature and on the other is god.
Animals are happy, are content as they are. They will never know the bliss of self-consciousness, but they are relaxed in and as what they are. They are not insane, neurotic, depressed. And God is blissful and fully conscious.
Man is marooned exactly in the middle. One eye looking backwards and one daring to imagine the future.
This is because man is the only animal that can surpass itself, man is the only one who can go beyond. And that is our anguish, and this is our ecstasy. This is our current misery, yet also can be our potential glory. There is something infinite in us which can only be satisfied with our Being coming to it’s total fulfillment.
We are born on the bridge, we are dropped onto the middle of it with no explanation, with no direction, with no signs pointing us in the right direction.
Do not make your house on the bridge, move! Do not believe that you have come to the end of your journey, do not think that your mission is complete!
There can be no rest for your soul on shaky ground. You cannot halt and make a home in the middle of a ladder. There is no rest as man – there is rest as an animal, or rest in godliness, but not as man.
Keep moving onward and upward, until you have crossed the bridge, until you escape from limbo. Climb the ladder and use the boat to cross to the other shore, and then discard it. Build a fire with your wooden boat and let its destruction fuel you onwards and upwards…
To be or not to be? To wake up or stay sleeping? To live or to die? Lower or higher? Body or soul?
This is the fear and trembling of man, and this is his dignity – that he is free to choose, that he can make efforts to wake or choose to remain sleeping, to be unconscious or conscious. The anxiety, tension, and conflict in man stems from his freedom, from the weight of our decision to act, or the decision to not act.
Man is a tension, between two forces.
These two forces threaten to pull us apart. One one hand is the pull from behind – the gravity trying to bring us back to the earth, back to animality, back to the simple existence of survival, eating, reproducing, safety, dominance…..
and on the other hand is the faint calling of anti-gravity. The yearning for transcendence of our limitations, the attraction to beauty, truth, compassion, wisdom, love……
There are these two forces pulling man apart – the attraction backwards, outwards, and downwards, and the attraction forwards, inwards, and upwards.
The attraction downwards is strong. From our conditioning, from our teachers, from our parents, from our schools, from society we are again and again pulling each other backwards. The degradation of the spirit is again and again reinforced,
The pull upwards is faint, it is the voice of silence, it is a whisper lost in the roar of the marketplace. It takes a deep sensitivity to feel its call and a fierce courageousness to follow it. To allow it to guide you into the unknown, against the impulses of security and comfort and in spite of the derision of the crowd.
Looking backwards there is the whole evolutionary history of man and life, from protozoans to primates.
There are some who lament the madness of man, who feel that the animals are more intelligent, more happy. They feel that humanity has taken a wrong turn and they wish for us to regress backwards and become once again animals.
But there is no going back, in this journey there is no rest for the weary.
Looking forward there is the great unknown, for we cannot know a place we are not able to see. But perhaps there are a few examples, a few messengers of a deeper reality, our eternal home, of our true inheritance. A few buddhas and christ’s who light the way forward.
Man is mind. And just as man is the bride between the animal and godliness, so the mind is the bridge between matter and spirit. To be born as a human is to be born as a mind, a mind evolving within an animal body, and an invisible soul in embryo.
Man is an opportunity. Man is a promise, possibility, a potentiality – a potential God. The rock is, the flower is, the animal is, and man can Be. Man is the only known creature who can become self-conscious, who can be truly free, who can be ecstatic.
And Man feels the responsibility, the caveat of his freedom. He is given the gift and if he squanders it he will have to explain himself…. to himself, to existence, to god.
We are born into the heights, and there is the danger that we will fall, and if we fall we fall far…. into madness.
Man is a pilgrim, he has a pilgrim soul. Nothing less than setting forth on the soul’s high adventure will quench our thirst, and nothing less than our ultimate flowering will satisfy our longing.
Man can make a ladder of his life, the individual can surpass themselves, can transcend.