..........And I must have walked for miles until at last I reached those lofty hills. Passing over their rim I saw that they enclosed a great forest of deciduous trees, tall and wonderfully healthy. I stopped awhile to rest, the sun warm on my back. As I gazed down upon the forest I saw a gurgling, busy stream cascading between the trees before rushing headlong into a large pool below me. There it quietened as if suddenly and self-consciously aware of its majestic surroundings. I made my way, barefoot, down the hillside until I stood on the warm grass beside the pool.
The trees seemed to have moved during my descent so that they completely surrounded the pool except for a broad, grassy strip leading back up to the tops of the hills behind me. The murmuring of a gentle breeze, the soft rustling of the forest canopy, filled the valley with joy.
There descended an utter and reverential silence. On the far side of the pool a tall, white-haired figure in white raiment appeared. He walked slowly back and forth apparently deep in thought, or accustomed to long waiting. Finally, he turned and faced me across the water. Peace, such overwhelming peace, washed through me, dissolving me. And I had sunk, head bowed, to the ground surrounded by such Presence..........
(Images from a meditations journal.)
I have never sought that which I might have understood God to be, in the sense of actively seeking that which I knew and understood. I have sought meaning and understanding, certainly, and continue to do so but never it would seem with a great deal of success. The knowledge, understanding and wisdom, the sense of ultimate "knowing", for which I seek lies beyond the realms of the intellect and emotions. Yet I choose not to stop reaching out to make that conscious contact, to satisfy this deep longing I have.
It is my ego that cries out for redemption, not that other realm that lies so much closer to the ultimate source of my life. It would seem to be a great wrong if I did not use my intellect and emotions, and not forgetting my senses, for it is entirely possible that the ultimate source of life needs those experiences that only my ego can supply. Maybe for that reason, if for no other I, and that inner sense of presence which lies beyond my ego, are inextricably intertwined. Yet for all that sense of immanence I always seem to stumble on God as if by accident. When that happens, the experience-that-is-God is enticingly clear, only to slip out of sight again when hopefully I turn to focus my gaze in that direction.
Professor Jacob Needleman once wrote:-
"To think about God is to the human soul what breathing is to the human body. I say to think about God, not necessarily to believe in God - that may or may not come later. I say: to think about God."
Sometimes during moments spent in that particular activity, I wander around the doorway to my mind, but no-one appears. There should be a word, a key to that inner door; yes, a new word to replace that baggage-laden God-word. It would need to be a very big word, filled with majestic syllables of such grandeur, a word such that when I begin to say it I do not reach the final syllable until the end of my life.