“TO ALL OUR SANTIWANA FRIENDS”
The rainy season was nearing its end here in Thailand when one evening a drenching downpour lasting hours flooded and soaked into many homes and little shops in Bangkok. On the positive side it also washed clean and refreshed our city. Needing to do some work at our center house on the other side of town, early the next morning meandering around puddles and neighbors sweeping, I boarded the #504 bus. As we moved along the sun suddenly burst forth and the deep, deep blue sky appeared along with the gathering white cumulus clouds reflecting unusual clarity and sharpness on everything it adorned. This was a bright new day!
The sun beams were crystal clear spotlighting and highlighting everything they touched. That morning in particular my eyes caught hold of the phenomenon of color, made more brilliant in the bright sunlight. Pure color called forth my inner attention - - after that it wasn’t seeing objects or things as such only a sensation of color. Interestingly, with this ‘pause moment’ I now became aware of our taxi cabs. Here in Bangkok in recent years these have multiplied a hundred fold. Thailand is a popular tourist country and one would have the impression there may be enough cabs for each tourist … and we do have many tourists. These cabs are new and since many are privately owned and operated each one is painted a different color. The taxi’s and many new buses each with their own color have appeared on our streets as a response and effort to cut the carbon emissions as all of these new cars now use natural gas for fuel. Riding along main street the cabs with all their different colors were in my vision. All down the avenue one could see bright orange, pink, rose, canary yellow, blues, kelly green, fire-engine red, lemon yellow etc. etc. In some unconscious way as if the scales of cataracts had fallen from my eyes (and they did!) what now passed through my mind’s eye were buses and cabs passing side by side weaving and flowing, bending and blending, in - out in a single vista and there was I also in the gentle flow and sway of flowers bending back and forth to one another as in a meadow of brilliant color. Gazing out from the bus this is where I found myself, right there in the midst of a lovely and colorful meadow.
I remember feeling, ‘how true and beautiful this is’ and that gave me a sense of deep joy and happiness. Then I remembered a quote from Thomas Berry and Brian Swimme’s book ‘The Universe Story’:
“In the coloration …..Of the varied plants and animals
A few years past I had noticed the privately owned cars in Bangkok were primarily black, silver or gold. This recent innovation of our taxi cabs is truly a creative inspiration. Somewhere within the passage of time deep in our being is an unconscious impulse from silver and gold to the creative recognition of our Mother Earth – and in that is also our desire for celebration, for joyful ways to express and experience our existence and to recognize the gifts of creation.
Color, with its uniquely individual expression – unbounded lavishness of diversity – communion and community of the gentle dance….in these three movements we are celebrating the foundational principles of the Universe. Recently Maryknoll Father Miguel D’Escoto, President of the UN General Assembly, speaking at a conference on the Financial and Economic Crisis stated that personal, social and planetary well-being can only be achieved by an economy that makes sufficient and decent provision for the whole community, where human beings live in harmony with each other, with nature and with the Whole of which we are a part. A bio-civilization gives a central role to life, the Earth and humanity whose citizens we are; daughters and sons of joy rather than of need.
To celebrate blossoming, the unfolding of Earth’s infinite creativity, delight and adventure – is also to participate in Christmas - - it is to participate in the magnificent - - REVELATION OF LIGHT - - Jesus, the One who manifests to each of us our own uniqueness, our difference and our communion.
May the light of Jesus shine brightly upon you and your family and loved ones. And May a Blessed and Peace-filled Christmas be yours!
With love and grateful prayer, from Thailand,