Wandering the Earth as I Do

April 18th, 2011 by Jean

If I am to know God directly, I must become completely God, and God I, so that this God and this I become one I.
–Meister Eckhart

Wandering the Earth as I do, I eventually run into everybody. And almost everybody I meet seems to be on a spiritual quest, or if not, they have a growing hunger for it. The hound of heaven woofs at their heels urging them to wake up to their spiritual possibilities.

The thing about everybody is that they try everything. For sheer creativity and inventiveness, nothing beats spiritual adventuring.

People meditate or fast or pray in search of Divine connection. They make outlandish promises–giving up sex, calories, comfort. They go mad or go manic, become zealots, hush their minds into quiescence and empty themselves of thought hoping to tempt God to fill the void.

They walk on burning coals, sit in the snow, count their breaths, twirl into ecstasy, make pilgrimages to places where God or His/Her local incarnations are reputed to have placed their feet. They try out religions as different as possible from the ones in which they were raised, go on spiritual shopping sprees, twist their bodies into uncomfortable positions, change their names.

Mostly, they shout at God, begging the Great One to finally show up in their lives.

The complexity of the present time seems to demand a deepening of our nature if we are going to survive. Deepening requires exploration. And for all its byways, exploration leads ultimately to the spiritual source of our existence.

Not since the days of Plato and Buddha and Confucius, some 2500 years ago, has their been such an uprising of spiritual yearning. But instead of being a Mediterranean and Asian phenomenon, as it was then, the explosion of spirituality is now happening worldwide.

Though the varieties of contemporary religious experience may look or sound different, they share a core belief. I often like to end my longer seminars by playing a game that demonstrates this commonality. It’s called “Are You God in Hiding?”

I ask everyone in the room to close their eyes and move around until, naturally, they bump into someone. Then they ask that person, “Are you God in hiding?”

The person being asked responds with the same question, “Are you God in hiding?”

Players keep on for several minutes, asking the same question and getting the same answer.

But one person, whom I designate after everyone has closed their eyes by placing my hand strongly on his or her head, IS “God in Hiding.”

When someone comes up to this person and asks “Are you God in hiding?” this person remains silent. By this silence, the person asking the question becomes godded too and remains silent.

In a short time, the entire room becomes absolutely quiet. I have seen five hundred people go from a buzz of excited conversation to absolute silence in less than a minute–that’s how quickly “godding” travels.

After the silence has deepened, I say, “Now open your eyes and look at all the gods no longer in hiding.”

Eyes open simultaneously all over the room. People look at each other. First there is a hush, then a gasp of wonder and astonishment. Recognition pervades the room. Eyes shine. Laughter begins. People embrace. For a few moments people drop their brain cataracts and see the truth about each other.

This simple but telling game–a god game, if you will–draws on a tradition found in every spiritual path–Judaism, Islam, Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, as well as the beliefs of indigenous peoples.

Though expressed in different words, the tradition holds that each human being contains a godseed, a divine essence that can be nurtured through spiritual practice into a fully matured expression of the god stuff within.

The recommended practices to grow this godseed vary from culture to culture and from person to person–yoga, meditation, contemplative prayer, mindfulness, as well as the various explorations into God mentioned above.

But all paths seem to agree that in addition to inwardly directed practices, spiritual growth also requires simple acts of compassion and service based on the recognition of the divine presence in all beings and the wish to serve the God in each other.

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One Response to “Wandering the Earth as I Do”

  1. belinda d. says:

    Dear Jean,

    Thank you for these quietly read butt loudly speaking words. Yes, they spoke to me something I needed to hear :)

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