Last week I went on a retreat to the New Camaldoli Heritage, which overlooks the Pacific Ocean and the heart-melting grandeur of the Big Sur coastline. In those days of quiet, I meditated on five questions. Below, for your consideration, are those questions and the responses (as opposed to "the answers") that came to me in prayer and meditation while in that glorious location. What is God? The very name is an inadequate misnomer for the Source from which all has come and which infuses every quark to galaxy cluster with an unfolding consciousness. That consciousness, "Is-ness", Ground of Being, Source beyond all naming, is what we call God because we don't know what else to call it. Even when Moses encounters the Holy in the burning bush and asks for the divine name, all Moses gets is an enigmatic wordplay (or smart ass response): "I AM THAT I AM". You can't shrink wrap the Source of All into a nicely wrapped concept, name, doctrine, or even a personality. Source is more than a person, more than a Presence, more than an Intelligence, yet is all that...and more.
What am I? I am a fractal of the Source from which everything springs. The stars in their incomprehensible vastness of eons and expanse down to the smallest subatomic particles and every possible permutation and parallel reality, all of it is of a Mind, a Christ Consciousness, an Unfolding Expression of a Reality beyond personality, beyond what we can understand but yet refer to as "God". I am of that mysterious stuff, and yet it is more than I am. I came from it, and I return to it, and I am never separate from it, and can never be other than it.
What is my purpose? To live what I am. To have the embodied, full-bore experience of myself in this skin with one eye on the experience of being alive from this perspective in my own individual skin, and the other eye on my Source that connects me to all other life. As a human, I have this glorious privilege of being "double-aware". My purpose includes living as my own unique reflection of that Essence, reflecting upon it, revering it in everything and everyone I encounter, surrendering to it, communing with it, and consciously aligning with it.
Why bother with spirituality (with being aware of this Source)?
- First of all, it’s in my DNA. Consciousness unfolds in increasing complexity, diversity and self-awareness. That's its nature, and I reflect that. To live this life authentically I align with this evolving Conscious that compels me forward, inward, and outward.
- Secondly, it’s more fun, interesting and sustainable than simply living an animalistic, ego-driven existence. The self-generated suffering dissipates when I let go of my separatist, egoist illusions of self-absorbed, needy, anxiety-prone myopia. I find all I externally strove for has already been given within. Operating from gratefulness (great fullness), I discover that my existence flows with greater lightness, joy, clarity, equanimity, compassion, hope, openness, confidence, courage, self-celebration, integrity, and cosmic humor. In other words, when I live from that space of “all is well” within me, nothing around me has the unfair expectation of making me well inside.
- Thirdly, the world needs it. Our self-destructive, consumption culture is a symptom of a lack of interiority, a lack of aligning inside with our own innate wholeness. Without a deep connection to something greater than our own egos, we need, consume and abuse everyone and everything to feel safe, approved, and in control, not realizing that what we do unto others inevitably affect us all. "Sin" is one name for this illusion of separation. Redemption is awakening to Source and then living that wholeness from the inside out in communion with Nature, in peace with each other, and as willing, conscious participants in the unfolding story. Less at war within ourselves, we war less with everyone and everything else.
What happens when we die? We return to Source, the same Source from which we came and which animated our every breath. Perhaps Source assimilates our experience and embodied learning and that energy goes into a new cycle of living, furthering Christ/Cosmic conscious and evolution.
Those were my reflections on those five unanswerable questions. What's bubbling up from your heart and mind?
P.S. Please join us for the new series of day retreats I'll be leading this fall, and/or spread the word to those you think might be interested. Details are on the Classes page.