This past week I came across notes I had taken while attending two leadership conferences featuring New York Times columnist David Brooks. I’ve always respected David’s insights into culture and politics. But at these two events, David reflected on his personal journey. He said he had achieved everything he ever wanted in his professional life but felt his life had become increasingly empty. He began searching for clues as to what he was missing and shared with us some of his reflections. Here are three I want to share with you today
“Our culture treats us like brains on a stick.” As we spend more time in a digital world, enticed and tracked by Big Tech, we become disconnected and disembodied from nature and neighbors.
But, he noted, two of his friends had experiences that remind us there is another dimension of life.
One such moment happened in his friend’s kitchen. The friend had come downstairs and glanced out the kitchen window. Outside was a falcon on a branch. They looked into each other’s eyes – and kept looking –and it felt as if they were seeing into each other’s depths. Finally, the falcon flew away. The encounter changed his friend’s life.
Another friend told David a thought that surprised her. As she was holding her newborn daughter these words came to her: “I love this child more than evolution can explain.” Science and evolution explain so much about the world we live in. But there are moments, mystical moments, when we realize there is something more, something wonderful, something holy, and we are in the midst of it every day.
We are not meant to live “like brains on a stick.” Looking into the eyes of our fellow creatures and each other, we can wake up to the great mystery of life, which is tangible, unfathomable, and glorious.
Thank you, David, for sharing thoughts from your journey.