Trying to tease out the self, and make the self happy and productive in its apparent life, is like bucketing out the sea with a sieve. We can try to do it, and it might appear successful from time to time, but eventually the futility becomes clear. What then?
In essence, what we call “our” “lives” are in truth a participation in love. Love is our relationship with the whole through the appearance of countless parts; we give consent to this relationship through the gift of attention. To gaze deeply at a tree or a bird of a slice of bread is to see not yourself – that is too easy – but rather to see God, in which both you and the tree or the bird or the bread – in a mutual act of love – dissolve.
Christ’s eyes are open, and He will look upon whatever you see with love if you accept His vision as yours . . . (T-12.VI.4:4)
“God” in this context does not mean a discrete Creator or a divine first cause or an anthropomorphic entity lording it over his subjects from afar. It means simply the impersonal truth or love that is beyond both expression and measurement. In its vastness, its utter stillness and silence, it is contingent on nothing. We don’t speak of it with words and we don’t encounter it in or through the fractious regression we call the self.
It is as impossible to not know this truth as it is to speak of it clearly and unmistakably. Even our insistence on objectifying it – as a thing to be known, labeled, learned, or consumed – neither harms nor dismisses nor obscures it. Truth remains forever true. Our greed, confusion, loneliness and aggression are like ripples in the smooth surface of a stream, coming and going, rising and falling. We don’t mistake the eddy for something other than the brook; why mistake the appearance of the world for something other than the unknowable Mind of God endlessly spilling over and into and out of itself?
. . . your banishment is not of God, and therefore does not exist . . . You are at home in God, dreaming of exile, but perfectly capable of awakening to reality (T-10.I.1:7, 2:1).
And really, to say even this much is to say too much. We are already awake. Yet to say less is not necessarily better. We cannot feed each other with the word “bread,” yet by it we might see our way to yeast and wheat and water. The shared table replete with divine loaves is often where we remember there is no such thing as hunger. So it is with this intimately ineffable mystery we name for the moment “God” and approach through what we call “self.” All we are really talking about is Love. Or Emptiness. Or Truth.
And really, who cares what we say? What is nomenclature but another ripple? When our feet burn we leap into the cool waters that flow before us, and learn there is neither fire nor water, nor one to distinguish between them.