Beliefnet
East Meets West

While perusing social media this morning, I was greeted with a pleasant surprise. I was directed to an article and a concept that inspired me. It resonated with me. Marcus Strickland is a musician who recently released new music that was produced by Meshell Ndegeocello. Her music has inspired me and countless others for quite some time. The name of Mr. Strickland’s CD is Nihil Novi Sub Sole. The afflatus for the title came from his father who quoted Ecclesiates 1-9 to him when he was a child.

The thing that has been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun
Ecclesiastes 1:9

Strickland is an erudite person, thus he quoted the concept in its purest form which is the Latin, “Nihil Novi Sub Sole,” – there is nothing new under the sun. I watched the trailer for his album ( I know, I am old school no one calls them albums any more) and he explained that his interpretation of the passage was that there is nothing new under the sun and that we are who we are. We are all repeating lives and doing things that have been done before. Yet we are also all unique. While we may be living the same lives over and over again, we are unique individuals. He postulates that, if we are unique, then we can do things differently. Ah ha! Here is where East meets West.

Strickland is referring to the what eastern religious adherents call Samsara or the repeating cycle of birth, life, death and reincarnation. The Buddhist, Jainist, Hindus and many other religions believe that we are caught in this cycle until we realize our true nature and move beyond it through self-realization. Christian religious scholars agree with Strickland’s supposition as well. Alexander Maclaren, a Scottish minister who was famous for his biblical explications addressed Ecclesiastes 1:9 as follows:

“If you will look at these two passages carefully you will, I think, see that they imply two different, and in some respects contradictory, thoughts about the future in its relation to the past. The first of them is the somewhat exaggerated utterance of a dreary and depressing philosophy, which tells us that, as in the outer world, so in regard to man’s life, there is an enormous activity and no advance, that it is all moving round like the scenes in some circular panorama, that after it has gone the round back it comes again, that it is the same thing over and over again, that life is a treadmill, so to speak, with an immense deal of working of muscles; but it all comes to nothing over again. ‘The rivers run into the sea and the sea is not full, and where the rivers come from they go back to; and the wind goes to the south, turns to the north, and whirls about continually. Everything is full of labour, and it has all been done before, and there is nothing fresh; everything is flat, stale, and unprofitable.’

And let us hold firmly to the far deeper truth that the future will be the same as the past, because God is the same. God’s yesterday is God’s to-morrow-the same love, the same resources, the same wisdom, the same power, the same sustaining Hand, the same encompassing Presence. ‘A thousand years are as one day, and one day as a thousand years’; and when we say there is no new thing under the sun let us feel that the deepest way of expressing that thought is, ‘Thou art the same, and Thy steadfast purposes know no alteration.’”

I agree with Strickland and with Maclaren and the eastern masters. Immanent within us is the seed of God. We are manifestations of God here on this earthen physical plane of existence. This immutable fact does not change and in that sense we are the same and nothing is new under the sun. We are God inspired and God created sentient beings and will always be. Once we awaken to our true reality, we can escape the mundane. We can break the shackles of Samsara and go onto new heights, dimensions and realities. The fantastical tales spun by artist have always drawn our fascination because somewhere deep within us is the knowledge that this reality is only one among many, many more. This mundane workshop is just that – a place for us to experiment learn and allow our spirits to grow. Once we discover our true nature, we can soar.

Thank you Marcus Strickland for sharing your concept with us in your work entitled, Nihil Novi Sub Sole. The music is as enthralling as your concept. Thank you for reminding us that while nothing is new under the sun, our possibilities are infinite once we take the time to discover who and what we really are – God created, God inspired infinite beings simply having a human experience!!!

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