The image today is another from my night of shooting on the observation deck at Rockefeller Center a couple of weeks ago. It’s hard not to feel small against the backdrop of the expansive New York City skyline, including the mighty Empire State Building! At 103 stories it was the tallest building in the world for over 40 years until the Twin Towers edged it out in 1970. Although it now ranks among the world’s tallest structures, it remains one of the greatest man-made achievements of all time.
THE SEARCH FOR THE CITY WITHIN
There is a reason no one else is out on the deck tonight – it’s bone-chilling cold and windy. And even though I have taken my shots, I don’t want to leave! I’m lost in a strange trance, sensing that I am being shown something very special, yet I can’t fully comprehend its meaning. We are an industrious people, able to create cities unimaginable just centuries ago, and at the same time, still very much adrift in what it all means.
Then a thought comes to me. It is the title of a book by Aldous Huxley – The Perennial Philosophy. Not the easiest read, but a well-constructed argument drawing upon the many wisdom traditions throughout the world (and history), that there is more to life beyond what our senses provide us. There is world beyond the skyscrapers, lights, and city streets, that is equally awe-inspiring and transcending if only we close our eyes, go inside, and begin searching for it.
I am still freezing my butt off, but now I am smiling. I get why I’m here. I see the city and the lights and know it is beckoning me to go deeper. To trust that I will find an even more awe-inspiring city within. And that when I find it, I will know I am there and it will have been worth the hard-earned journey.