Transcendence and the Power of Storytelling

A photo of the Grand Canyon. Public domain image.

Michigan Nones and Dones, one of my primary communities, is in the midst of a conversational series entitled, “Envisioning a Post-Pandemic World.”

For three weeks, we’re exploring this topic through three lenses:
1) the spiritual practice of imagination,
2) the experience of transcendence, and
3) the vision of building relationships.

Last weekend, we spoke about our experiences of transcendence, and this turned out to be very powerful. Transcendence is difficult to define, in large part, because it involves sense of expansiveness beyond ourselves and our typical, day-to-day lives. We were purposeful not to over-define it, but people shared what it means to them. Rather than inviting people to give abstract, personal definitions — defining transcendence as God, Spirit, Community, Universe, Connection, Nature, Purpose, etc — we invited people to tell stories.

When did you experience a moment of transcendence?

This turned out to be so powerful.

It turned out to be so empowering.

I watched people come alive as they told stories about some of the most sacred moments of their lives — those beautiful times when they felt as though they were in the midst of something larger than themselves, or perhaps in the midst of an experience beyond what they had known before. The details of these stories involved music, intuition, care, nature, life transitions, and the journey from life to death — all while feeling accompanied by a larger sense of Presence, Expansiveness, or Interconnectedness.

We can share a lot of ourselves, and a lot of what is Beyond Ourselves, in stories. It’s empowering.

Renee Roederer

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