Thomas Merton to Aldous Huxley during their discussion about genuine & pseudo-mysticism:
What I would call a supernatural and mystical experience…has in it very essence some note of a direct spiritual contact of two liberties, a kind of flash or spark which ignites an intuition…plus something much more which I can only describe as “personal”, in which God I known not as an “object’ or and “Him up there” or “Him in Everything” nor as “the All” but as—the biblical expression—I AM, or simply AM…this in oth the kind of intuition that smacks of anything procurable because it is a presence of a Person and depends on the liberty of that Person.
I found the above passage when reading The Hiding Place of God: A Personal Journey into the World of Religious Visions, Holy Objects & Miracle written in 1991 by John Cornwell. I picked it up at the local library when I figured it’d only be polite to actually use some of their actual books while spending eight hours at a time there hogging their wifi.
This passage and learning that even Padre Pio pissed people off because he didn’t do things the way others thought he should were the only things I took away from reading the book.
I’m not really sure why I picked this title except that it’s probably got something to do with me looking for factoids and other niftiness to share with people when they ask questions of me.
I had the same thought when I recently re-read The UnCommon Touch by Tom Harpur, The Intention Experiment by Lynne McTaggert, and Mike Dooley’s latest. It’s frustrating to find myself going back to the habit of doing things for other people—not in terms of being in service to others but in terms of trying to satisfy their ideas and ideals about how I should act, speak (that’s my next post! Oh.Boy.), clothe myself (seriously), identify or define myself, etc. As annoying as it is, I keep going back there.
I think it’s not so much that I want to please people but that I feel I need to load up data & information to defend myself, my own ideals & my own knowing. I keep trying to use social media as a way to create a real, honest discussion about stuff relating to healing. Maybe I really am itching for a fight instead. A way to say, “Listen to ME, please!!” “Hear me. Don’t dismiss me.” “See, Saint so-and-so/Christ/Mohammed/Granma Green did it, too!” I don’t seem to feel quite satisfied to go about my business quietly, hoping that…hell, I don’t know what.
But let me regress six paragraphs and revisit Mr. Merton (do you call a Trappist monk Mister or Father?). My “ecstatic” experiences are a veritable cornucopia of variety. They occur with regularity, sometimes extend for an entire day (with an in-n-out of it quality), are sometimes visual and aromatic, almost always emotional & time-space warping, and, usually confounding (with a so-what-do-I-do-with-that-now? quality).
However, my experiences aren’t religious or “spiritual” (used loosely here) because nothing in my experience is religious or spiritual as others define it. I still call it a Divine experience sometimes but I’m not connecting it to “something outside of me that is more powerful than me”. I just don’t see God as other people do. I don’t just give it another name like Source/Universe/Grid/flavor of the day term.
Are there things outside of us? Absolutely! Are there invisible things all around us? Yep. Powerful? Influential? You betcha! More than us? Nope.
One response I’ve received from someone trying to argue that people couldn’t be god-like, godly, god recently was, “But we don’t create storms!” Me: “Really? Think about it for a bit and then get back to me.” I was never gotten-back-to but my point was this: We do create storms. They may not appear as weather ‘incidents’ but our actions/inaction, beliefs, & judgments change the barometer around us and those we touch directly or indirectly. Never mind the fact there are humans who create, move & manipulate climate-related weather all over the globe. Not a forte of mine because outside of being amused at dissolving a cloud or three, I can’t see how that is human business. We already have interfered in a pretty heavy-duty way, methinks.
I think we’ve become so comfortable over the course of time gifting power and responsibility for life-stuff to something(s) outside of ourselves that we forget how powerful we really are.
So, uncomfortable with the idea of self-identifying with our own greatness that we will easily dismiss and denigrate one who says, “I see God in you.” It’s all great and fine for India to sing it but that’s just a song, right?
I don’t see anyone made in the image of how they define their god or inspired by something outside of them. I see each person as the god that they see outside of themselves.
I see you as god. You are God. You are the embodiment of all those things that you’ve connected to, associated with & assigned to that “Him up there”, the “Him in Everything”. Within you is every iota of power, wondrousness, control, glory, beauty, destructive potential, love, mystery, holines, and, the kicker, responsibility for self and others that has been assigned to a Higher Power.
Can you imagine seeing another like that? Try it. Just for grins & giggles. Today. Really. Start with yourself—go to the mirror when you get home and instead of being critical of the wrinkles and that stray eyebrow hair, look into your own eyes (not at your forehead as if to avoid yourself, mind you), and talk to yourself in the same way you talk to God. Dare ya.
Does that mean that people are no longer annoying, irritating,? Um…No. That doesn’t mean we lose our human-ness. We just gain a different level of humanity. It just means there is a level of respect, a conscious willing suspension of judgment, a heightened awareness that you are he, connected to him/her and others, an acceptance and love that requires no ‘practice’. It’s effortless.
Yep, loving another, loving all others can be effortless. Those in the “spiritual” frame of mind are famous for talking about the greatness of Source love, the exquisite Love of the Divine, infinite Love of the Universe, the I AM love from the Violet Flame, etc, etc, Uhhhh…heeeellllooooo?
What about the infinite, exquisite, greatness of human love? The one to one human sorta love. The love expressed between two human beings. How ’bout you start practicing that, too. It’s painless. It’s fun. It’s free. It can even become comfortable! Check out this community & share the love here if you’re moved to. If not, start with yourself. Go back to the mirror and have a conversation with yourself. Then with those around you.
So, YOU ARE god. YOU ARE love. You are all the endless potentialities. You have no limits.
And I love you all the more for it!
If you could get
Rid of yourself just once,
The secret of secrets
Would open to you.
The face of the unknown,
Hidden beyond the Universe
Would appear on the
Mirror of your Perception. ~ Rumi