Chaos and Order

There’s order in chaos . . .It’s about being in the eye of the storm” – Ohad Naharin.

From childhood, I am programmed to befriend order and reject chaos. I was diligently taught that it’s impossible for chaos and order to mix, like water and oil. This military-like programming excluded friendships with perceived chaotic people. This algorithm directed life and relationships.   

As I soared the skies of life like an adult vulture (John Crow – Jamaican) or corbeaux (Trinbagonian), I began to see chaos as a reality of life. Like a fiercely territorial animal, I tried to keep chaos away from my space, but it was persistently nagging. It appeared in the form of friendships. There’s a very good friend who I teased about her chaotic desk and library. There was a parish priest and friend whose desk resembled a post-hurricane landscape. Yet, whenever he gave instructions to search for a paper clip amidst the mound of papers, it would be found. 

These encounters motivated me to ponder on the meaning and role of chaos in life. God further exposed me to the weakness of my algorithmic life while exploring the concepts of the non-dual and dual life. I am indebted to many Caribbean novelists and spiritual writers such as Richard Rohr, Estelle Frankel, Joan Chittister and Harold Kushner. 

Reflect on the excerpt below from Earl Lovelace’s novel While Gods are Falling  and ponder on Brother Castle’s challenge of dualism in religion: Lovelace writes:

‘You look for signs and wonders and these signs appear before your eyes, but you do not see.  It is written: “Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son and shall call him Immanuel.”  This is the greatest sign.  That is the sign we must observe.’

‘It is easier for you, Mr Sylvestre.  Easier.’

‘Perhaps, Brother Castle.’

‘I look for a God of this world . . . I look for God, or for the power of God, or for the men of God, to do something about the poverty and oppression and the crime in the world.  When I do not see an end to these things . . . I ask, where is God?  I ask, is God not of this world, is God a God of the Bible and of the dead, or God of the rich and not of the poor, and in some parts, God of the white and not of the black? You do not know how difficult it is, Mr. Sylvestre.  It is easy to say believe – quite easy.  But when you are here, living next door to hooligans and prostitutes, when the girl next door is raped and the boy next door is charged for robbery and the woman next door commits suicide, you know that God is not here . . . Look at the amount of churches in Port-of-Spain!  Look at the amount of masses that are sung, and the amount of gospels read!  But look at this city and really ask yourself, if there is anything or anyone like God in it and you must answer no, there is no God here.  If he was here, he has left.  And I hear it is so all over the world.’

While Gods are Falling Cover

“Non dual consciousness takes us beyond these absolutes. Light can emerge from darkness, and good can come out of seemingly bad luck. . . When we remain open to all of life – the dark as well as the light – we find equanimity and grace in the midst of an everchanging landscape” (Joan Chittister)

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