Progress

I'm writing a book. I'll be posting some random excerpts from it on here from time to time! Below you'll find the first. If you want to sign up to get news on when the book will be out for preorder, here's a form! 

People progress. It’s what we do. Both literally and figuratively. No matter where you are now, in this moment, reading this, you have gotten here from some other place. This is both true in a literal way and a metaphorical sense. We humans move.

This movement, oddly enough, is why we are still alive today. Hundreds of thousands of years ago the earth had a species very similar to us known as the neanderthal. Those neanderthals are thought to have been smarter than us homosapien's. More capable. More conscious. But there was one thing us homosapien's were more prone to than they. We moved. This is why we refer to people who are lazy as neanderthals. Because neanderthals were content to just lounge around and stay put.

Homosapiens chose to venture into the great unknown though. They spread out from Ethiopia to the edges of the earth. People like the Polynesians set out into the Pacific in wooden boats only to eventually create societies on the islands of Hawaii and Tahiti. Thousands of miles from the spot of their origin. Native Americans worked from the tip of the Northern Hemisphere all the way down to the tip of the southern and settled in pockets along the way. We send people into the depths of the ocean, complete darkness and an ecosystem totally unfit for us because we want to explore. We send people into outer space. Think about that. Into the cosmos. For what end? Simply exploration. Movement. Progress.

Movement is literally in our DNA. And it is movement that has kept us alive. Allowed us to progress. It’s all because we acted on potential.

And just as we move and explore and venture into the unknown physically, part of the uniqueness of human life is the ability to progress in thought too. To move past notions we once had into new ones. To open ourselves up to new understanding. To be a part of the story. 

Neuroscientists now know that throughout the course of our whole life our brains never stop developing. They are always growing and evolving. We as human beings, are never done learning and expanding.

And that is why story is so important. It’s imperative. Because a story is the canvas on which this growth paints itself. It is in story that we witness a movement. A trajectory. The purpose revealed through theme. I teach english to high schoolers currently. And one of the things I talk about with them is that there is two ways you can read a book. You can read to find out what happens. Or you can read to see what is happening. The distinction is key. Focusing on what happens makes you miss the intricacies of every page you pass over. You miss the journey toward revelation as when you focus on what lies ahead. It is in our steps that we discover. Slowly but steadily.

I write this as a means to share a personal journey of what it looks like to walk. I grew up in a religious system where a lot of people believed because of what they could attain - eternal life. That is the Christianity I learned about in church. Faith was not a framework but a means to an end. And I’ve talked to countless people who believe the same thing. You're trying to catch something. Salvation. 

But I had a shift. It happened over time and it hasn’t stopped happening. It was a shift to see the world in a step-by-step kind of way. A way of progress that was full of the sacred in every moment. A moment of living into eternity now. Instead of focusing on what was to happen, I began trying to focus on what was happening. Everyday. In every breath. With every new phase.

This was not easy. It took time. And I still am unable to do this with every moment of everyday, obviously. But what I’ve discovered is that watching the story unfold clues you in on a lot of the nuances and beauty of the story much more so than knowing its ending.

This way of being is modeled in so many wonderful wise people throughout history. Spanning the gamut of multiple religions. But what surprised me more than anything was the reality that this truth seemed to be something that the figurehead of mine, jesus, had spoken to all along. Jesus wasn’t ever focused on getting me somewhere else. He was focused on getting me to recognize the kingdom, the beauty, the potential, right now.