For as long as I can remember, I have wondered about existence. By that I mean that I have looked with wonder at the sky and the stars, the endless flow of the ocean, the miracle of green and growing things, the diversity of people’s faces and beings, the zoo of living things in this world, and the marvelous experience of thinking and creativity which spring from an infinite and unknown well.
Really think about how and where thoughts arise.
I was born into a big, loving, lively, and imperfect family. I was taught that a loving God created me and everyone and everything. This rang as truth in my nascent soul and created harmony in my existence. The love of God nourished my child’s mind with rightness and goodness. Without being aware of it, I was naturally in alignment with cosmic reality.
As a child, I just lived my life without complications. I played with my siblings and friends, read books voraciously, made friends with strangers, and loved all animals. Every weekday morning I got up and raced to school so excited to learn. Although I hated to have to go to bed and end my day, I cherished the moment every night when my mother and father would come into the room that I shared with my older sister and kiss me good night. Like every child, I was just being myself.
As I grew older and lived through all kinds of human experiences, I slowly became more circumspect and guarded. My child’s faith was dented by the onslaught of the world, the wounds of existence, and questions for which I could not find a satisfactory answer. By the time I found my way to a Zen monastery when I was nearly 28, there were already many layers of separation and distrust to peel away through the continuous act of inquiry and simply being aware.
Now, many years later after years of steadfast meditative practice, I live each day with the wondrous paradox of Infinity and finitude, Whole and part, Perfection and imperfection. I describe this as the experience of my feet in the warm, wet sand at the frothy ocean’s edge on this planet brimming with evolving life out at the edge of a spiral arm of the Milky Way galaxy. Quiet joy flows in a warm circuit through my body, and my mind feels the waves of Eternity gently lapping my feet and the shores of time on this earth.
We are young and we are ancient beyond time in every moment of our existence. We live in Mystery, and the Mystery that created us and the boundless Universe of universes lives in us.
Really reflect on this Mystery. A fragment of the Infinite dwells in our finite self, forever changing what is possible for you and me.
Many people live full and worthy lives while remaining quite unaware of the Mystery. Some vehemently deny the existence of this Mystery called God, and some simply don’t make the effort right now to find the light in the darkness. No matter. Each will live into the time here or there when they will seek to really know That Mystery which indwells them.
When I was 27 years old, I came to a fork in the road of my life and took the path that led to an existential crisis. The deep, dark night of my soul that ensued led to a singularity, a moment in time when my soul fell to my knees in remorse for having turned away from God. I remember the overwhelming awareness of my own ignorance. In that moment of immense realization, I turned back to God with all my being and simultaneously my mind opened to awareness without bounds, and I encountered God in me in a mighty way.
My human mind which had governed my ignorant existence up until that moment suddenly opened to a far greater Mind of which I realized I was an intimate part. The Light in my mind was boundless in every direction. The experience was akin to an immeasurable fountain of pure energy which shot through all of my body, opening all of myself to the Infinite Light and Love.
With tears and joy that exploded through my being, I realized in those moments that my mind is part of the Mind of God, that God lives in me and acts through me. God sees the world through my eyes, and hears the sounds of the world through my ears. My hands are the hands of God in this world. I am walking around with God in me all the time. Not only me, but every person is walking around with God in them whether they are aware of it or not. The Spirit of God dwells in our minds and draws us inexorably towards the Light at the Center of Everything.
Much of what I saw and experienced is outside of the realm of language, although I have tried to express that which I can. In my mind appeared immense stretches of the universe and dimensions of existence that seemed to have a mathematical reality that was and still is beyond my finite mind to express. These mental images are hard to describe because they do not belong to the three-dimensional reality in which we live which has length, width and height. Rather the pictures that appeared in my mind were of protrusions of forms and planes of reality that cut through and wrapped around planes of the universe at all kinds of odd angles, all existing at once.
This singular event utterly changed the course of my life and transformed my awareness of what life really is. It did not remove hardships or struggles from my life, but it enabled me to experience them wholly differently. It did not suddenly make me a perfect person, but it filled me with the knowledge that I am perfecting. Perhaps it made me determined to be my best self and to forgive the countless times my neurotic self prevails. Still the resolute practice of awareness slowly transforms the small, screaming ego as it identifies more and more with the divine transcendent Self.
I appreciate the Buddhist metaphor that describes a person’s journey toward Buddhahood as the process of sculpting a raw slab of marble into an exquisite form of the Buddha. The Buddha is always in the marble, but the stone has to be chipped away, chiseled, and polished for a very long time before the Buddha emerges from its material encasement. The same holds true for the long road to Paradise and attaining the Corps of Mortal Finaliters.
Let us keep in mind that every moment of the process of perfecting is the very reason for existence and is of immeasurable meaning and value.
Read more about your spiritual nucleus - the Thought Adjuster, a divine fragment of God that dwells within you - in Paper 111 of The Urantia Book.