Saturday, January 16, 2010
Being In Limbo
Being in Limbo.....what exactly does this mean?
I think of it as a state of not knowing, non action, and reflection. To look at these words one would not automatically assume them to have a negative meaning though many of us do experience limbo as uncomfortable. Could this discomfort be because we want to know, to resolve, to be sure?
I thought it might be helpful to look up the official meaning of the word.....
Word History: Our use of the word limbo to refer to states of oblivion, confinement, or transition is derived from the theological sense of Limbo as a place where souls remain that cannot enter heaven, for example, unbaptized infants. Limbo in Roman Catholic theology is located on the border of Hell, which explains the name chosen for it. The Latin word limbus, having meanings such as "an ornamental border to a fringe" and "a band or girdle," was chosen by Christian theologians of the Middle Ages to denote this border region. English borrowed the word limbus directly, but the form that caught on in English, limbo, first recorded in a work composed around 1378, is from the ablative form of limbus, the form that would be used in expressions such as in limb, "in Limbo."
Having not been raised Catholic I had no idea that Limbo was referring to a religious concept. Or wait, maybe I heard about this in What Dreams May Come? :) No matter, it seems that the common useage of the word now implies a state of waiting, of being on the fence. In our culture this waiting period is not often honored as we are pushed toward deciding, knowing, doing.
One of my spiritual teachers once said that when we are waiting, we are in the "Land of the Gray Clouds". Such a beautiful image which simply states that we cannot see clearly yet and as we know, eventually the skies clear up and we regain our vision and then our choices become more clear. The trick is to allow ourselves to wait with grace and without discomfort.
Today I will practice the art of not knowing.
Photo El Granada Sky January 2010
Fence photo courtesy of photo stock