Christ Consciousness

Taking a Space Rocket to God

This is a Space Rocket Epiphyllum that lives on our front porch. The diner-plate-sized blossoms explode in shades of fuchsia and crimson and then dissolve after a couple of days. The blooms, though short-lived, transport me in my imagination to another world where magnificent, over-the-top flora abound. I've been thinking that the Space Rocket Epiphyllum is an apt metaphor for the spiritual journey. Our awakenings and "aha's" burst into consciousness with mind-altering vivacity. Then they fade as the the "normal world" recaptures our attention.

At that moment of inevitable fading, we have a choice. We can cling to the outer form of our experience, or we can integrate the Essence (the "aha") to which the form was pointing and from which it came.

The deeper one goes into devotion...the more that the form [of the Divine] which he has visualized fades into formlessness...Paramhansa Yogananda gave further advice on the subject: "Whenever God comes to you in form - as, let's say, the Divine Mother - try to see in those eyes, not a human personality, but the consciousness of infinity." The Essence of the Bhagavad Gita, p. 168

Herein lies a difference between beneficial spirituality and ineffectual religion. When the Holy bursts into consciousness, healthy spirituality integrates the experience into body, mind, and heart without holding on to the form it came in. The integrated experience transforms our habitual behaviors and tightly held views. Ineffectual religion clings to the outer form without integration or transformation.

Maturity is to relish those blossoming moments when they occur...and remember them as touchstones...but to look through those moments to the Pure Essence. That's the content, the message, the insight, which is to be integrated.

You can recall the form anytime as a way to re-enter the experience, but then release the form and pivot attention to the bodily sensations that arise. Do you feel open, free, connected? What do you sense? Where in your body do you sense it and what is the sensation? Observe  insights emerging in the spaciousness. Notice the different perspective from which you are experiencing life.

Let these gifts permeate your body, unsettle your ego, center you in your heart, and liberate your thinking.

Whether it's a Space Rocket Epiphyllum, a delicious meal, a kiss, or a panoramic vista, the form soon disappears. But what it evokes within us can endure if we integrate it. And what are we integrating? An Infinite Consciousness that holds the humdrum of our daily lives in a broader perspective of compassion, bliss, and equanimity. The reminders of this Consciousness quickly fade. The Consciousness itself is eternal.

What is God? And Four Other Unanswerable Questions

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.