It’s alright to live by your own code.
After A Long Dry Spell, by Tomas Transtromer
Tomas Transtromer, a Swedish poet, lived his adult life and created his poetry in post-World War II Europe. When I read this line from one of his poems, I immediately think that this is a man who has reflected on what happens in the world when millions of people allow themselves to live by someone else’s code. A Nazi code, for example. I imagine a man who spent much time in nature listening to and learning from it. I imagine a man who listened closely to his own life so that he had a sense of what his own code was and how that code was challenged when confronted with something that pushed up against it.
I’ll be honest to say that I bristle a little on the inside when I hear someone say: “Unitarian Universalists can just believe whatever they want.” This is usually followed by laughter. Nowhere do we say this. It makes me wonder if unconsciously we promote this attitude or perception. What we do say is that we affirm everyone’s right (and responsibility) for searching for truth and meaning. That search for truth and meaning will bring us each to varied and different places on our journey. Perhaps that is what gives the perception of “just believing whatever you want.”
I think this is what is truer to our fourth principle, “a free and responsible search for truth and meaning.” We practice going to our center, often. We begin to discover the pieces to our own code, the insights, wisdom, knowledge, facts, principles and values that shine the light of truth on the path for us, that help create a meaningful life not only for us, but for us as we interact with other beings. We may do much of this work in solitude and quiet, but we don’t do it alone. We also do it in community, interacting and learning from the experiences of our fellow beings. We discover our code.
My last hunch about all this is that our codes are never really finished. They are always evolving. Return, again, then. Return, again. Return to the home of your soul.