Sunday, March 25, 2012

Contemplating Life

We are inextricably connected – body, mind, heart, soul, and spirit – to the world around us and to other living beings. Life is such an amazing miracle, which we often instead just nonchalantly accept as a given. Plants take air and water and sunlight and earth into themselves, and, according to their specific internal instructions, transform that into more individuals of their specific type (wheat grass or apple trees or roses...). We animals need the plants to process and bind the elements of sun and earth. We take plants and other animals and air and water in, and ... cats make more cats, people make more people, bees make more bees. It's miraculous that the same elements make a peach or a pine needle or a bird, and from such simple stuff. I could never make a cherry out of earth and water and air and sunlight... but, amazingly, I can help make another human being... and a cherry tree carries exactly the right instructions to make a cherry.

We each are little whirlwinds spinning across our century, picking up the atoms and molecules we need, and dropping them again. We are made of stardust which was formed billions of years ago, was flung out into the universe, and then coalesced into our planet. Air molecules we breathe now may have been breathed in and out by a dinosaur, or may have lived a while as a tree or an ocelot. Water we drink may have formed an ocean or tumbled down a mountainside, may have floated above us as a cloud, may have participated in the internal sea of another creature. There is a constant dancing interchange of particles between our bodies and the rest of the world. Our bodies are a bit like rivers, changing moment to moment, though still recognizable as us. Even the very cells and substance in the cells change, as do our brains and muscles and bones, reacting and growing as needed to deal with what we encounter and to allow us to do what we do. Such amazing ability to learn and grow and heal, to respond to the world around us.

The world of nature, the world of spirit, the world deep within self --- all places to learn and to grow, to find love and community, to connect with others ... and to learn respect and awareness and about places of danger. One can find oneself and one can lose oneself. We will experience joy and love and fulfillment, and we will experience pain and hurt and difficulties and death; all are parts of this life. There is amazing beauty; there are disasters and accidents and illnesses and evil. We are not in control. There are many layers, and we often learn much more in the difficulties than we ever would in ease, sometimes finding unexpected gifts in the midst of the pain.

What is God? The pulse and breath of life in me and in the world, the deep abiding love that surrounds me and stirs in my heart. Creation and inspiration, the great mystery, undefinable, a deep knowing. The sound and music and being and dance that underlie and move in all that is. One who can be found in silence and in service and in love and in creativity. One who knows me utterly and accepts and loves and guides and teaches, showers grace and blessings and forgiveness, moves me and helps me grow. One who connects us all, teaches me to delight in variety, contains the whole world and yet lives inside me, does not fit into my rules and understanding, is ever more.

Knowing God is there and loves me is like knowing a person (parent, mate, child, friend) loves me: I can’t prove it, I just feel and know it. It’s something that can only be experienced, not proven. It's similar with nature and spirit and self – one’s mind has to quiet, one has to spend time, listen, be, and experience. Then awareness can blossom, and wonder appear.

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