Sunday, September 30, 2007

Conversation about direct spiritual experience

Last night's Conversation, fueled by tea, wine, cheese, and fruit, was a wonderful time of real, honest-to-goodness dialogue, with nobody hogging the floor, ideas bouncing back and forth, shocking utterances occasionally, and a lot of laughter to leaven the depth of passion and emotion.

Six of us shared the moments in our lives when we were riveted by an experience or words or vision of something inexplicable: a painting, an observation by another person, a poem, an awareness of life's fragility, seeing God in nature. We talked about the movie "Smoke" and tried to outline its complicated plot and the significant moments in it for the two folks who had not seen it, but found it difficult to convey precisely what we saw.

Each person had been struck by something different in the movie, but all of us had seen the human compassion and caring that superseded the questionable morality of several characters. I was struck by Augie's photos and their meaning to him and to Paul, the character whose wife was killed by a random act of violence, by the "fathering" behavior Augie exhibited toward Paul and that Paul exhibited toward Rashid, by Augie's willingness to give money to Ruby to try to help their (putative) daughter. Underlying this compassionate behavior were several dubious acts-----a bag of money from a heist, smuggled-in Cuban cigars, and a stolen camera. Each of these illegal acts seemed to be redeemed by some act of kindness, though not decisively nor clearly.

So it was an interesting and rewarding evening. I'm hoping that the next one, in October, will be equally pleasing.

No comments: