We long for conclusion: that singular insight which will end our seeking, that knowledge which neither yields to nor gives rise to questioning. It is certainty we crave, an antidote to the continual struggle within and against what is forever changing. It is like we are caught in a flowing stream and all our effort is given to reaching an island on which to land, rest, and set up some shelter from which we might finally wholly perceive the stream.
But what if this impulse to go to ground – to settle in a vague attempt at permanence – is itself the impediment to certainty? In other words, what if we are the flow itself, and our desire for something perceptually stable – even static – is what prevents us from the peace of knowing ourselves as we are in truth?
Is it possible we are flow? That observer and observed not separate but one fluid and eternal movement?
Tara Singh used to say that the miracle was the relationship of the body with what was not of the body. Through the miracle, one was able to transcend the perceptual realm of the time-bound, matter-bound brain and make contact with – in order – stillness, eternity, and the all-encompassing reality of God’s Mind.
We are either extending wholeness or we are extending a belief system – political, economic, ecological, psychological, spiritual or some amalgamation thereof – as a replacement, a substitute for, wholeness. And if we are not careful, A Course in Miracles will neatly fold right into this. We can become subtly, almost unconsciously, loveless: I get it and you don’t.
Often, when I experience myself in the presence of God – of that which goes nameless, of what is – it is only because I have grown still enough to briefly set aside the systemic prejudices and biases that are so characteristic of the human split mind, identification with which is the separation. Nothing dramatic happens other than I surrender egoic notions of self and experience what remains. And what remains is love and so does not judge, not even a little.
So in those moments, I do not ask the pine tree to be a symbol of beauty suitable for a poem, I do not ask the pond to be a lake, and I do not demand the brook’s slow trickle resemble one of Chopin’s nocturnes. And I know – and this is the lesson that is coming so slowly to me – that what is happening is given to all of us and is not in any way a reflection on me personally. As soon as I try to make it about me – my experience – then it dissolves.
So all I am learning – as I pointed out the other day – is not to clutch at what is always given nor to fall into the trap of thinking that it is given to me alone, as if I am the favored son of Jesus and you are an afterthought.
I am quite sure that if we walked together into the quiet fields and snowswept woods, stopping now and then to consider the tracks of deer, or the play of the crescent moon through the pines, that you too would experience God. Indeed, sharing those moments is often the sweetest thing I can imagine.
I glimpse perfection in those moments simply because I know – or remember, perhaps – that imperfection is just a consequence of seeing from the fragmented rather than the whole (or healed) mind. It is a consequence of accepting busy-ness instead of stillness.
And we have to remember: stillness is not just the body at rest (though it may be that) but something far deeper and grander than the body. Stillness is not a retreat from the world, nor the absence of the world’s seeming effects. Rather, it is a state in which the world and its apparent effects are perceived rightly, which is to say that they are held as is – free of our need to alter or improve them – and so they go without effect.
Really, so much of our anguish comes from simply wanting to change things, which is a resistance to what is, which is – importantly – our lack of faith in a loving God. Who truly places their trust in God by definition knows peace. Who does not yet know peace is still just trusting God in name only. We can intuit our faith in God by the measure of desire that things be other than what they are.
In a sense then, to be still is to understand the true source of causation without either denying or projecting it. To be still is to accept that salvation is simple and both begins and ends within. It is of us, because we are of God, in the same way that the river touching this bank is of the river touching that bank.
Any conclusion – any perceived (or concievable) end – reflects a linearity that is not of God. There is no end to what is as there is no beginning: there is merely the continual flow. It is not even circular; it cannot be contained or explained by geometry or anything else circumscribed by language. As A Course in Miracles says:
We say “God is,” and then we cease to speak, for in that knowledge words are meaningless. There are no lips to speak them, and no part of mind sufficiently distinct to feel that it is now aware of something not itself. It has united with its Source. And like its Source Itself, it merely is (W-pI.169.5:4-7).
I am not suggesting that those moments when I most clearly and lucidly know that “[o]neness is simply the idea God is” (W-pI.169.5:1) – are an end, or even a stage presaging some further development. They are glimpses of the truth continually given, temporarily perceived in form but hardly limited thereby. It calls me because it is what sustains me: the always-given, always-giving. They reflect the truth that the world is nothing more than a series of chances “to perceive another situation where God’s gift can once again be recognized as ours! (T-31.VIII.9:1)
Leaving Japan for India in 1993, Tara Singh wrote that “the greatest thing one can merit is to liberate oneself from external activities, no matter how important they seem to one’s personality.”
Ending thought’s activity is of utmost importance. How blessed to BE, without projection.
I am not to seek or to maintain the round of unfulfillment (Moments Outside Time, 275).
It is a decision – a choice we make – to seek the continually-extending grace of God and to locate ourselves within it. It is the opposite of personality. It is neither an end nor a conclusion; nor is it a beginning. It is rather a recognition that we are what is, outside perception and beyond concepts.
[a]ll creation recognizes You, and knows You as the only Sources it has. Clear in Your likeness does the light shine forth from everything that lives and moves in You (T-31.VIII.12:6-7).
Thus I “sing” songs of praise and gratefulness, here and in the forest, and points in between, endlessly recalling the Home that together we never left.