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Archive for September, 2011

I am One

In my nascent meditation practice, I often use a mantra I devised myself:  “Please bathe me in Light, that I may bathe others in Light.”  While we are all meant to conquer desire in order to come closer to God, I can’t help but desire the Light to flood over me and through me, until I am filled to the brim with Light, becoming an incandescent vessel of positive energy. 

 

Lately, though, I have found a new mantra to be more powerful.  As I sit to meditate, I record all the sensory input coming at me in sequence, hoping that my egotistical thoughts and my bossy superego’s constant commandments will disappear into the flow of sense impressions:

 

I am one with the heat.

I am one with the breeze.

I am one with the birds.

I am one with the sounds.

I am one with the breath.

I am one with the fountain.

I am one with the light.

…I am One with God and the Universe.

 

Intellectually, I believe that my sense of separation, of apartness, is an illusion, and my fervent hope is that if I repeat the mantra often and successfully, my heart I will feel this as inner Truth. 

 

It is strange and frightening to think that for this yearning or belief, I could have been burned at the stake in the sixteenth century.  Why?   Because when Adam and Eve first tasted the apple of knowledge, the knowledge they gained was simply that of their separateness.  Adam suddenly understood that he was separate from Eve; Eve that she was separate from Adam; and both keenly felt their separation from God.  Traditional Christian theology teaches us that their separation was real: that they had permanently fallen from God and were no longer part of Him.  From that day forward, the created were forever sundered from the Creator.  Thus, to conceive of oneself as united with God was considered a terrible heresy, and to this day to conceive of the breeze and the birds, the light and the sounds as united with God is considered by some denominations to be the heresy of pantheism.

 

Eastern religions teach us something subtly different.  They teach that our separation from each other and God (or what Buddhists call Reality) is not actually real; it is merely perceived.  If it is only perceived, at least in theory it must be surmountable, and we have the great Western saints and Hindu Yogi masters as testimony to this.  In other words, Adam and Eve’s bite of the apple did not actually separate them from God; it only gave them the idea that they were separated from God.  They were not sinful so much as merely ignorant or deluded.  One could even stand their story on its head and say that what they took to be the apple of knowledge was actually the apple of ignorance.

 

Separation, real or perceived, leads to selfishness and selfishness is a sin, but if one has the capacity to overcome one’s sense of separateness, one may hope to restore or realize his unity with God.  This is what Hindus call “God-Realization.”  I don’t dispute the Christian belief that Christ died for my sins or that He has allowed some people who are not fakers to be “born again,” but my heart refuses to believe that the rest of us have been severed from God.  If I am ever blessed enough to become enlightened, I may be re-born, but more importantly I will return to a Home that I never actually left.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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