One of my favorite writing prompts included the word apprehend. I checked the dictionary to be sure I was clear about its meaning, and found I did understand it as used today. But "to grasp, to understand, to arrest, and to fear" still seem like mundane words to explain a much bigger concept.
When I was in the habit of attending church, and studied scripture, I often heard the phrase “apprehending the Mystery.” And when I moved to a different paradigm and sat with meditation groups or new age practitioners, I found the concept there as well.
Religious and spirituality teachings often reference faith, or recognition of the divine, or greater understanding of the “more” in human experience as the mystery beyond our comprehension. If we are inclined to let all of our senses help us with understanding, then we all know there is more than reason that directs our course. We see, touch, hear, smell, and taste. All of these bring us information about the world every second we are living beings. Somehow our brains put all of that information together to make us uniquely who we are; perceivers of where we are and who we are, something no one else can experience.
I can’t see through your eyes, touch with your fingers, or listen with your ears. I cannot hear music as you hear it, or a baby’s cry. What makes you happy, sad, or fearful may not be what makes me feel the same. I cannot apprehend, if you will, the mystery of who you are, and that, to me is where we encounter the divine. It is our unique experience and perception that fits us into the world exactly where we should be and gives us the ability to express a life that no one else can share with the world. Sharing that experience may not mean that you have to write a book or paint a picture or discover something the scientific world has never known before. There are plenty of people who have the passion and drive to do those things. You may not have to save the world all on your own.
If you like to walk in the rain or dig in the garden, clean the house, read a book, or listen to music, do those things. If you enjoy watching the sunrise or following an ant on its journey, do it! I truly believe that my calling may be to perceive the world as only I can. I fill up my soul by doing what I feel moved to do to express my own thoughts, my own way of shaping my world. It's hard to face what makes me fearful, but I realize that if I choose not to apprehend that mystery, I am unable to find the other side of that emotion, confidence.
Everything in the modern world urges us towards more -- more money, more property, more education, more influence, more power. Even the push to do more good, be more charitable, work harder, can become a weight that drags us out of ourselves and pushes us towards someone we may not be intended to be.
We know in our gut how temporal all of that is. Even if we choose not to share our unique experience of the world with others, taking time to live into what feeds our soul, what makes us glad, what connects us to the earth and to each other, counts. It matters. We are too overwhelmed by the great needs of the world, and give too little credence to what our little corner needs.
I want to grasp hold of that concept, arrest that idea, understand what it is I love and what I fear. I want to open my eyes, mind, and heart to all the life in my small corner of the world. I want to live with it, as an integral part of it. If I can do that, I feel I will apprehend the mystery, the divine, that is uniquely mine and belongs to no one else in this universe. That is my calling. What's yours?