There’s a spaceship sitting on a comet, a tiger wandering around a French suburb and the Indian prime minister is a yogi. I learnt all this when, on a rather long car journey last week, I tuned into France Culture for the first time in my life. Not only were tigers, spaceships and yogis filling the airwaves but so too were love letters written from the Front during World War One. I even picked up that our universe is made up of 75% hydrogen and that stars produce oxygen I hear myself putting these diverse fragments together to make sense out of yet another week in the 21st century for my wee granddaughter.
“Yes, sweetheart, Tigers usually live in the jungle but this particular tiger has taken a fancy to supermarkets so I guess he is an urban tiger. There are still some places in the world that have real jungles. I hope they’ll still be there when you are grown up.
A spaceship travelled hundreds of millions of miles to take some pictures last week of a very cold place. It is so cold only robots can go there. Robots? They are like us but they can do much much more than we can. For the moment they do what we tell them to do but one day they will have minds of their own. I don’t know what will become of ours when that happens. We have lots of “why” and “how” questions, just like you, so we spend lots of money on spaceships hoping that they will give us some answers to questions like how we all got here and where we are all going.
You got here in a car today but the story of how we all got here is a much longer story to tell. No, not because of the traffic jams but rather because we can’t agree on how the story goes. Some people like the God story so much that they can’t stand the story about stars, gases and explosions. They are both very exciting stories and if we weave all the brightly colored threads of each story together we will make a beautiful tapestry. Imagine a time before robots and spaceships; before tigers lived in jungles, even before Peter Rabbit; at the time of no thing. There was a deep stillness. From out of this deep stillness, came a sound and from that first sound a movement was born and a dance began. From this dancing came the Prince of War and the Princess of Joy. When the Princess of Joy dances in our heart we feel we know God from the inside. When you were born I could see God shining through your eyes because my heart was so filled with this Joy.
The God story is a nice one and you will hear many versions of it as you grow up. Each one is like a chapter in the same story so never believe anyone who tells you that his version is the only one. Try to remember we are made of the same stuff as the stars and when their beauty starts calling to us we long to go home to where we belong. This longing is what has lead us to create such magnificent stories about God. No we don’t belong in the sky, Darling; we are just looking for the missing part of us which is hidden inside and we call it by many names; God is one of them. Spaceships and robots are bringing us lots of information about the stars and the universe we call home. And when we know all that we will be as happy as Winnie the Pooh with his paw in the honey pot.
No, I don’t think they will teach you this version at school, sweetie, so let’s make this our own special story – just for the two of us. When you are a big girl I will teach you how to find your way back home on your own, how to dance and what to do if you meet a tiger in a supermarket.
Did you know that there is now a country in the world that has a Minister of Yoga? A Minister? That is someone who makes important decisions about what to do with the money that everyone has to put into a big pot – yes, it may have had honey in it before. Your Nana is very excited that a leader of a very big country should want to teach its own citizens about the gift it has given to the rest of the world. Yoga is about health and happiness and this minister wants to spend money from the pot making the people of his country healthier and happier. No, we don’t have one of those in France, sweetie. Why not? Well, we have companies who sell drugs that try to do that for us and if we learnt how to be healthy and happy ourselves we might make a few people very unhappy. We call it Big Business. Unlike the robots we have created, it controls us. You will understand it one day. There are not only bad things happening in the world, my love. There are spaceships and Ministers of yoga and even the tiger who has taken a fancy to a supermarket might turn out to be just a big lonely lost pussy cat wandering around in a suburban wilderness.
Yes, I promised to tell you about the dance of the Prince of War. About a 100 years ago there lived a very unhappy emperor. He didn’t like himself and he thought everyone was against him. He quarreled with members of his family who were kings in their own countries too. This quarrel turned into a fight that turned into a whole scale war. Everyone was very excited about it in the beginning because they thought it was a good way show who was boss and to get rid of anyone who didn’t agree. Well, it was like a bushfire that got out of hand. No one could put it out. It raged non stop for 4 whole years and killed so many young men that there were hardly any left to marry all the young women they had been writing all the love letters to. When it was all over, the world was a different place until it started all over again twenty years later.
We are such slow learners, my love, and it is hard to change the dance once everyone is following the same steps. But that was before spaceships and ministers of yoga and tigers in supermarkets. It is different now. We know we come from the stars and we are journeying slowly towards the bright light of love that is like a small flame burning in a corner of each one of our hearts.
I give you our world, little one, and ask you to do your best with it”.
Have a “good week” – do your best with it