Ask-me-Answers is a social media interview conducted by Marion Nasser, from Germany. I was honored to be asked to participate in one of her interviews...
- Marion: How is true greatness characterized in a human being?
Fred: When we sense that something is 'great,' we cannot define it, but we feel it in our marrow. Even if that music, that painting, or that person who walks into the room is not well-known, we still feel the 'greatness.' It has nothing to do with fame or technical skill. It is a quality of depth. Depth of what? Depth of time, depth of stillness, and depth of silence. A great painting by Leonardo carries a subtle void between its particles, and that void is alive with ancient peace, stillness, the thunder of silence. And that same depth we feel in the silence between the words of Rumi, Basho, or Milton; or between the notes of great music. We feel the depth of 'greatness' not in what is there, but in what is not there. In a human being, the 'greatness' is the ancient silence they carry with them. It emanates out of their very atoms.
- Marion: Is true greatness a result from the connection with the Divine?
Fred: True greatness is therefor a connection with the formless Void. That infinite silence sings through every word. That infinite stillness vibrates through every action. The great one walks like a mountain, stands like a cloud, disappears into action like the sky. The connection is to Being itself.
- Marion: Is there still a process of development in true greatness?
Fred: True greatness keeps dissolving into the next moment with the innocence of a child. The great is ever evolving into its own wonder, and since wonder has no limit, it is ever expanding.
- Marion: Can a person of true greatness learn better, love more and be more present?
Fred: A great person sins boldly and makes beautiful mistakes, turning each "wrong" note into a new harmony, a more expressive melody. There are no mistakes because everything is a mistake. Creativity is a continuous revelation, and that is only possible because nothing is ever finished.
- Marion: Does a human with true greatness deal differently with problems?
Fred: A person of true greatness does not see "problems," only situations. Every "problem" is really an infinite possibility. If our circumstances were perfect, we would be frozen in the ice of a diamond, flawless, but hard and cold. Physics shows us that the universe is made out of vibrations that are waves of pure mathematical probability in a vast ocean of possibility. Yet the mathematical equations of quantum science, through which the universe is created, are never perfectly solved, never pure symmetries. They are broken symmetries, unbalanced equations. And that tottering of the universe, like a spinning top just off its axis, from imperfection to imperfection, is what creates particles of matter, bodies, stars, galaxies.
The cosmos spins just off-center, not quite fixed, blessedly imperfect. The "great" person sees the imperfections of the universe as a perfect opportunity to dance, each moment. She stumbles great-fully, each stumble a new step of the dance. She dances with chaos instead of reacting against it. And that is how she turns what we call disaster into a constant act of creation, through service. She knows that at the axis, the center of her whirling, is stillness. For her, every mistake, every stumble, every wound, leads inward to the ancient silence of love.