At the hermitage we find that to oppose is to draw a tight box around what you oppose -- with you on the inside. Better to invite what you are uncertain of into an open questioning circle -- which is loose, laissez-faire, and liberating. That the circle is perimeter-less and permeable makes the questioning circle-back upon itself while spiraling toward unreachable and ungraspable extension of itself. In other words (my mother's favorite phrase) there's no end to it and no one knows how, where, or when it began or even whether there was a beginning.
This is God's name and face -- unpronounceable and diffusely unrecognizable. It is silly to even try to employ metaphors and words about this inquiry. Silly and foolish.
Still, being a fool becomes me as I become some other being.
Among the many realizations to which I awakened was this: "You don't have to go to church to know God." For reasons too obvious to mention, this isn't the kind of message the church, or any religion, wants spread around. But it's true nonetheless. There is no religion, not even the Christian religion, holding the title deed to God. God's grace is not limited to a select few. The moment any religion believes it is, you can be sure that religion knows nothing of God.
If there is anything Jesus, and the Buddha, made abundantly clear it is that the wind blows where it will. You can hear it, see its effects, and feel its power, but you can never contain it. In other words, the moment I stopped trying to find God, God found me. I love the way Deepak Chopra once framed it: "God is not difficult to find; God is impossible to ignore."
Even the title to this article, "Finding God After Religion," seems to imply that there's something you must "do" to know God. But the real truth is this: there is nothing you need to do to know God. You know God already. The mistake that virtually all religions make, including Christianity, is to confuse beliefs for faith and, as a consequence, condition people to think that there are things that they must do, duties that they must perform, etc., for God to be pleased and her presence to be known.
Finding God after religion? Remember the following: In Eastern thought, there's something called "the law of least effort," or "do less and accomplish more." If you will give up the "doing" and, instead, just enjoy "being," I think you'll make a great discovery. The psalmist said, "Be still and know ... " In my own experience, I have found that when I'm present (and that's my spiritual practice), I'm immediately in Presence, the real and sacred sanctuary of God.
What more would you want? What more would religion ever give you?
(from, Finding God After Leaving Religion, by Steve McSwain, author of, 'The Enoch Factor: The Sacred Art of Knowing God', Posted: July 24, 2010 11:23 AM,
Saskia and I chant Lauds in chapel/zendo. Dog stays on porch. Cat surveys any movement from loft.
We like the words from Ephesians:
19 Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God's people and members of God's household, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. 21 In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. 22 And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.
(Ephesians 2:19-22, New International Version)
"Being built together to become."
To be, come to be with.
This is my church, my religion, and my spirituality.
Chipmunk scampers over lichened rocks. Phoebe alight then depart felled tree limb. Dean brings David Bodanis book on E=MC2
and Roger Collins' Keepers of the Keys of Heaven, A History of the Papacy
to where I sit on this porch.
Cheryl also visits with Cynthea Bourgeault's The Wisdom Jesus: Transforming Heart and Mind--A New Perspective on Christ and His Message -- which we will read from and converse about the next several Tuesdays at Pilot to Practice.
We are here to converse with Being Itself Becoming Itself.
There are no priests or preachers, no imams or rabbis, zen masters or chief executive officers, no tenured chairs or gurus of any stripe.
Only each of us.
Come round. Look around. Circle yourself. Encircle everything.
With loving attention
To be with.