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励志美文精华:两诫足矣

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如果弱小的我无法掌握宇宙的特征,至少我能在自己窄小的轨道里按我的信念生活,从其他人那里获得力量,直到有一天所有的人都能休息一下——去招待自己的灵魂。

Two Commandments Are Enough

By Peggy Wood

Occasionally my mother used to announce that she was going to take time out from the day’s activities “to rest,” she would say, “and to invite my soul.” She always put the phrase in quotes, in order, I expect, to divert the facetious remarks which might arise from the worldly or practical-minded folk within earshot or disarm those who might feel “soul” was a Sunday word not to be used in everyday conversation.

But she meant to do exactly what she said, “invite my soul.”

The pressure of the modern world is so great upon us today that we find little time for rest, physical rest, let alone leisure for spiritual reception. Thus, when we take the word “soul” out of its Sunday clothes it is unfamiliar to us, we don’t know it very well. We may have different interpretations of the meaning of the word; to some it may mean “conscience,” to others that part of our being given us with life. I believe with Dr. Schweitzer in the sanctity of life, that the miracle called life, which cannot be manufactured by man, does come from a source which we call God, and that life and soul are the same. And yet when I am asked point-blank, “What do you believe?” I hedge and play for time in my confusion by saying, “Well, now, that’s a pretty big question.”

It is not altogether the pressure of the modern world which has clouded our comprehension; “the simple faith of our fathers” got a nasty jolt when Copernicus propounded his theory that the sun and stars did not revolve around the earth and that therefore man was not the sole object of celestial concern. Darwin dealt another blow and Freud’s search into the operations of our hidden selves shook our conviction that man could be made in the image of God.

It might be said that such matters affect only dogma and not belief, and yet the mounting complexities of man’s discoveries about himself and the world he lives in increase so with the years it is little wonder man cries out for something simple and enduring in which to believe.

As in moments of great grief the reeling emotions steady themselves by concentrating upon small physical occupations – the careful tying of a shoelace, the straightening of a crooked picture on the wall, the tidy folding of a napkin – so I believe, in this heartbreaking world, in tending to the simple familiar chores which lie at hand. I believe I must keep my doorstep clean, I must tidy up my own backyard. I need keep only the two great commandments to live by: to respect the Giver of Life, and my duty towards my neighbor.

I believe that people deeply revere these two commandments (upon which hang all the laws and the prophets) and suffer personal distress when they are broken. When the property owners in South San Francisco refuse to let a Chinese family move into their district, when flaming crosses are burned and when the homes of decent people are bombed, we are all aware that our own doorsteps have been sullied and the human neighborhood besmirched.

If I am too puny to grasp the cosmic contours I believe I can at leave live my faith within my own small orbit, gaining in strength from others until that time when all men can rest – and invite their souls.

两诫足矣

佩吉·伍德

过去,我母亲不时会宣布她要在每天的事务中抽出点时间来“休息”一下——“我要招待自己的灵魂”,她说这些话时总是用手势做个引号。我猜这是因为她不想被那些世故或讲求实际的家伙听到后开她的玩笑,或是让那些觉得“灵魂”这个词仅仅在礼拜日才会用的人放心。

但母亲所想的和她所说的确实是一回事,也就是“要招待自己的灵魂”。

现代社会带给我们太多的压力,让我们几乎找不到时间让身体得到休息,更不用说抽时间来款待自己的心灵。所以,当我们脱下“灵魂”这个词的宗教外衣,它就变得如此陌生,我们并未真正了解它。

我们对“灵魂”这个词也许有不同的理解:有人认为它指的是“良心”,有人认为它是指我们生命中生而有之的那一部分。我认同史怀哲医生的观点,认为生命是神圣的,生命这一奇迹不可能来自人类

的创造,它的源头就是我们所说的上帝,而生命和灵魂本就是一体的。可是,当有人直截了当地问我,“你的信仰是什么?”我不免有些困惑,只好支支吾吾、闪烁其词地说,“哦,这个嘛,这是个很

复杂的问题”。

我们认识上的困惑并不完全来自现代社会带来的压力。哥白尼提出太阳和星辰并非围绕着地球转,这一理论严重动摇了“我们祖辈单纯的信仰”,如此一来,人类不再是上天唯一的眷顾。达尔文又给了人们当头一棒,弗洛伊德对人们隐藏的自我所进行的探索再次动摇了我们关于人可能是按照上帝的形象所创造出来的信念。

这些也许只影响到教义而非信仰,但随着这些年来人们对自身以及世界的认识日趋深入、日渐复杂,人们为何需要某种简单而持久的信仰便毫不奇怪了。

在极度悲伤的时候,聚精会神做些琐事可以平复自己纷乱的情绪——仔仔细细地系好鞋带,把墙上倾斜的图画挂正,或是将餐巾叠得整整齐齐。同样,在这个令人伤心的世界上,我们也应把手边那些司空见惯的日常琐事处理好。我认为我应该把自家门前清扫干净,我应该保持自家后院的整洁。我只需要遵循两条最重要的训诫,一是对造物主心存尊敬,一是对邻里尽到职责。

我相信这两条训诫深得人们的敬畏(所有的法律与预言都建立在这两条训诫之上),而当它们被破坏时人们就会陷入苦痛之中。当三藩市南部的居民不让一家中国人搬入他们社区时,当十字架在熊熊火焰中燃烧、善良人的家园被炸毁时,我们都意识到自家的家门口遭到了玷污,人类的社区已变得肮脏。

如果弱小的我无法掌握宇宙的特征,至少我能在自己窄小的轨道里按我的信念生活,从其他人那里获得力量,直到有一天所有的人都能休息一下——去招待自己的灵魂。

附注:

佩吉·伍德:出生在布鲁克林,是一名演员及作家。


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《励志美文精华:两诫足矣》

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