Around 25 years ago, George Gach, a relative of mine in the Twin Cities area, gave me a subscription to a new periodical for my birthday: The Edge. Back then, he knew me as the black sheep of the family — into esoteric “New Age” things like meditation, Buddhism, Tai Chi and astrology. At the time, I was thrilled. Beyond the “shock of recognition,” I was encouraged by the fellowship of kindred spirits, all engaged in the One Work.
For its 26th anniversary, I wish to add my humble voice to the ongoing celebration by recalling what The Edge has meant to me over the years. Right off, there’s a familiar, simple, common sense of an edge as a tool of power. Something that slices could mean vanquishing enemies, or simply, opening something up. Everyone needs an edge of power. For some, it might come in the form of a bankroll; for others, a badge; for an opera singer, it’s a voice. For me, it’s being able to pause, breathe, and locate myself within a bigger frame of reference, and live accordingly for my own well-being and that of others.
The edge of The Edge, if you will, is a divine ability to be open to a diversity of paths. I believe this has kept it on the cutting edge for a quarter century. Certainly, no single, ideal reader is expected to adopt all the creative, spiritual, healing skills featured in The Edge. Instead, in its democratic inclusivity The Edge helps its readers discover, define and refine their own way.
On the path I’ve paved for myself, I’ve been honing my personal Zen mindfulness “edge.” It’s been nearly 50 years now since I embarked, but I’m still but a snail at the base of a great mountain, progressing slowly, slowly…inch by inch. The Edge provides me with food for the journey. The support of knowing I’m not alone is liberating. I know if I want to become enlightened like the Buddha, I can use all the help I can get.
As a spiritual practice, I read each issue cover-to-cover, just to learn of all the technicians of the sacred performing miracles in the world every day. This in itself is a therapeutic experience for me. It makes me glad to realize all there is I have yet to learn. And, in seeing a spectrum arrayed all in one place, my intuition and creativity is nourished as I intuit vital interconnections between nutrition and yoga, clairvoyance and shamanism, holy guidance and holistic health.
Another precious trait that gives The Edge its edge is its support of ways of knowing and being which are different from the entrenched worldview. As editor and co-publisher Tim Miejan has observed, “What was groundbreaking in 1992 is now the foundational bedrock for experiential processes [today].”
I’d like to invite you now to please take a few big steps back with me. Here we can witness the biggest edge of all: being on the crest of a wave of a rising tide. The Edge’s persistent trailblazing confirms the presence of one of the great, open secrets of our times. Scholars call it the rise of “the Nones” — people who say “I’m spiritual, but not religious.” Yet, this emergent edge within society is still unchartered territory oceanic in scope.
As this reflective movement branches out into various sectors of society, we can see sprouts cropping up in various sectors. In education, more and more schools are offering their kids mindfulness as an early introduction to an essential curriculum for life-long learning. Emotional intelligence (EQ) is no less important than intellectual intelligence (IQ). It’s an essential survival skill for coping in a crazy world steeped in mindless violence. In medicine, we see a growing acceptance of complementary modes of treatment (formerly called “alternative”), such as, energy work, movement arts, and mind-body integration.
More and more organizations are incorporating contemplative practices into the work environment. For instance, when I visited my publisher, Sounds True, in Colorado this spring, I was pleased to see not only physical spaces for reflection and wellness, but moreover, a community that infuses its communications with mindfulness. In a word, they practice the spirituality that they publish.
Likewise, more and more companies are redefining their bottom line as being triple: welfare of people and the planet alongside profit. Despite what I hear in the media, I fear the U.S. economy is facing a perilous decline, yet pockets of resilience are, at the same time, springing up. The Edge is a model of such. It demonstrates the viability of local economics creating community for full-spectrum benefits. It networks not only seekers along the Path, but also links people to contractors and car repair shops. In so doing, this allows a vibrant community to grow organically into greater complexity and scale.
If I may, I’d like to cap this tribute with an even broader bird’s-eye view. We’re now coming to see all these examples as part of the greatest social movement in history. Leaderless, unnamed, and bottom-up, it’s made up of 1-2 million grassroots initiatives committed to the health of the planet and society. Often unknown to each other, The Edge offers opportunities for them to connect and interconnect with each other.
Swimming in this mighty current, each issue of The Edge gives me a chance to pause, look around, and see who’s swimming alongside me. For the next 26 years, let’s all look to the growing edge, and thrive.
Look well to the growing edge! All around us worlds are dying and new worlds are being born; all around us life is dying and life is being born. The fruit ripens on the tree, the roots are silently at work in the darkness of the earth against a time when there shall be new leaves, fresh blossoms, green fruit. Such is the growing edge! It is the extra breath from the exhausted lung, the one more thing to try when all else has failed, the upward reach of life when weariness closes in upon all endeavor. This is the basis of hope in moments of despair, the incentive to carry on when times are out of joint and men have lost their reason, the source of confidence when worlds crash and dreams whiten into ash. The birth of the child — life’s most dramatic answer to death — this is the growing edge incarnate. Look well to the growing edge! — Rev. Howard Thurman, 1953