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The Name of God

God is the name given to the idea of unity as it arises in a mind that as yet experiences itself only as separated. It is the syllable by which our longing for wholeness identifies itself and thus calls to itself. It is in this sense merely another data point in a broken world, no more essential or potentiated than chickadees, mountains, Fur Elise or the slope of her shoulder, falling just so.

But even the idea of unity is separative: we can only imagine it from within brokenness. It is fun and interesting to say “I am one with the chickadees” or “you complete me” and even more fun and interesting to actually believe it, but it remains entirely divisive, positing a subject and an object in some relation with each other.

There is nothing wrong with this! It is a sweet and satisfying way to think and perceive, and it often yields a serenity that can be very fruitful and generous. But it is still a goal, still an outcome. It still rests in the division of time: this moment and a better one – a whole one, the one – in the future.

It is tempting to confuse our aspirations for accomplishment, to call the map the territory, and to settle for imagining a long walk through snowy fields and forests rather than walking the fields, walking the forest. We can picture a kiss – we can write about a kiss – but the kiss itself is beyond either language or image.

So it is just good to see this. Not in a disparaging way, like saying that we are spiritual blowhards who only talk about God. Clarity about the nature of our desire and intention are important in the sense that we can’t let go of what we don’t know. Saying “this is where I am” is what allows us to move on, so long as moving on is necessary. Sometimes I reach for A Course in Miracles or Tara Singh and remember: the time for learning is over. And then sit quietly with what is, however it arises, without trying to change it – which often means simply observing my frenetic desire to change everything. It is the giving of attention that matters: not what we give attention to.

The holy instant is a time in which you would receive and give perfect communication. This means, however, that your mind is open, both to receive and give. It is the recognition that all minds are in communication. It therefore seeks to change nothing, but merely to accept everything (T-15.IV.6:5-8).

This can seem difficult or mystical or the sole province of experts but it is important to remember that it is already true. The holy instant awaits us the way our clothes await us in drawers: we don’t wake up each morning and sew a new pair of jeans. So we don’t have to do anything but realize the truth, the That-Which-Is-Already-Given. And often, trying to realize it obscures it even more. A kind of passivity is called for, a willingness to simply let it all be as it is, without contributing anything. Breathe and let go, breathe and let go.

I mean this literally. The moon a pale blur behind snow clouds at 4 a.m. is no more or less than itself. All the poetry in the world won’t change it. The same with the chickadees who just after dawn scratch dusty snow for yesterday’s seed. And with these words, even as they write themselves again in you. Nothing fancy, nothing special. There are no secrets and no mysteries. “Secret” and “mystery” are just names we use to spiritualize our faint-but-not-yet-dissipated resistance to the Oneness we always and already are.

Sit with it. Walk in it. Write it and read it back to yourself. First the brokenness appears to us as beautiful: then the wholeness of the composition begins to seep through. We know it by its namelessness, its absolute independence of language. It is the familiar stillness, the ancient silence, the home we never left. “God” is the servant who leads us back to it: moonlight and chickadees simply bread to salt the way.

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