Sunday, November 11, 2007


by Troy Chapman

(continued from this post)

This was a life-changing moment: when I realized that wholeness was what I hungered for and that this hunger drove me — on the spiritual level — as surely as physical hunger drives me on that level.

We can say “I’m looking for God. I’m seeking peace. I’m trying to find happiness.” But all of these are different ways of saying “I want to be whole.”

When I came to this I realized there was nothing wrong with my desire; my instincts were good. The error lay not in the “what,” but the “how.” I see this all around me. I know a man who believes he can fulfill his wholeness-hunger by gambling, and so his whole life revolves around gambling; another believes that power over others will do it, so he works as a CO and wields his power fanatically, actually loves wielding it and is addicted to it the way some are addicted to drugs; prisoners who believe the same thing spend their lives in the weight pit and surround themselves with other tough guys who extend their power over others. Others believe that knowledge will make them whole, or money or pleasure. The list goes on.

The world is comprised of six billion souls desperately trying to feed this hunger. But amidst all the killing and consumption and craziness, many people are waking up. This is what happened to me and perhaps to you.

I woke up and realized that there’s only one way to be more whole, and that is together. It’s such an elegant solution. We need each other to be whole, and finding each other is as simple as switching from consumption-mind to communion-mind. The difference is a tiny internal shift.

We can approach all things with either of these two minds, consumption or communion. So I ask myself as often as I can remember, am I consuming or communing? Consuming is about “what can I get?” Communing is about “what can we experience?”

I am looking at the ash trees outside my window and the starlings fly in to cover the whole tree, replacing lost leaves before leaving again themselves. And if I can just remember to say “thank you,” it is enough to switch me from consumption to communion. I meet people all day, say hello, talk a bit, and I will consume them as objects in my world unless I stay awake and remember to ask the question, remember to truly meet them. This is communion, asking “what can we experience?”

And this is the bottom line: communion makes me more whole, consumption less so. Communion feeds me, consumption famishes me.

Painting by Troy Chapman


Neeraja said...

So beautiful, Troy! How well you put it! I often think that especially when we are young, we mix up lust and love. Lust is consuming: it says I WANT YOU. Love is communing: it says I WANT TO GIVE YOU JOY. And yes, the former consumes you while the latter leaves you fulfilled. I am really enjoying your blogs even more than I did last year. Thanks so much for keeping on inspiring me. God bless you with more and more wisdom and peace. Neeraja Raghavan, Bangalore, India.

ted knerr said...

dear troy -
we're old friends now but your insights continue to astonish and enrich me with their simple wisdom and freshness .................
it's good to see online your painting below, with your face behind bars and the words "i wait, i fear, i see, i am" - thank you again for this beautiful, generous gift which i treasure! ..............
your words today remind me of john o'donohue's poem "fluent" .......
"i would love to live / like a river flows / carried by the surprise / of its own unfolding" ......
blessings and love -
ted knerr, new york city

Claire said...

Contrasting consumption with communion makes this one of your best, Troy. The play on the similar words is pleasing, too.

I've long thought that Americans, especially, have been trying to fill a spiritual/social hole in ourselves by overeating, substance abuse, overconsuming, that is, substituting various kinds of stuff for what would really meet our needs and give us "fulfillment."

Although I consider "power over others" a good definition of evil, I hadn't really thought of the drive for power as another of these false ways of filling that hole. But I sometimes wonder if the extreme power-seekers like Cheney have some kind of genetic defect like XYY. Or maybe I'm just seeking a way to believe they're not really related to me as a fellow human.


Richard said...

Troy's topic is a good one, on finding God, or wholeness, or discovering who we are ...... Being the Self that is true and good, loyal and honorable....... May the Peace of God be with you Troy and with you Maryann ...... Richard

Sid Leavitt said...

Beautiful, just beautiful.