Monday, 25 August 2014

A Step Closer to Reality

         Whilst accepting that God cannot be defined, is it possible to draw any conclusions about the nature of a true God without resorting to analogy? Before drawing any conclusions about a true God, can it be assumed that any form of God exists? In general, I would suggest that anything, any person, any calling can be said to be a god if it becomes the prime focus of our psycho-spirituality to which all other considerations are subservient. For some, a god may take the form of wealth, a career, a personal relationship. For others it may appear as alcohol, drugs, an icon, the tribe or state. The gods are many and various, and often dysfunctional. Taken to the limit, we can arrive once again at the supreme false God, an amalgam of all lesser false gods. If it can be assumed that the existence of a false God can be demonstrated, beyond reasonable doubt, then so must a true God exist as the partner in a paradoxical pairing of opposites (or gnostic Syzygy), an observable fact about the universe around us.
         As I cannot know God with the intellect, and I shall refuse to resort to analogy which implies a pre-existent knowledge of God, I must seek an empirical approach through personal experience. Now experience of itself may not be the truth of God, but it may be a finger that  points in the correct direction.
         Let me tell you of a very recent experience. It had not started out as a good day, but neither was it excessively bad. In short, it was manageable, or so I had convinced myself. I had awoken with but a single thought, namely that more than anything else in the world I wanted our dog, Molly, restored to us, alive and in perfect health. But that could not be. So once more I had to endure the grief of her passing. The remainder of the morning passed in a mood of depression. I had not slept well for weeks, maybe months, I don't know. I was tired in mind and body. We had lunch, and I was determined not to take a post-prandial snooze. I was fine, and in full control. My body would do as it was told, when it was told. So I worked through the afternoon before taking a shower and going out to tea with friends. We had tea and cake, and I had a very generous helping of cream, and seconds to follow. I should have been warned, but I was in control was I not? Cream I do not eat! It is nothing more than a calorie-ridden, sickly indulgence as far as I am concerned. (Champagne falls into a similar category!) Oh yes, I should most certainly have been warned.
         It was whilst driving home that the incident occurred. We had come to a crossroads, and I had stopped, momentarily. It was odd, but I simply did not see the other car, a big, Japanese 4x4 approaching at high speed. I heard a gasp from Lucy, and as I looked once again at the approaching vehicle I realised that there was nothing I could do to avert a collision. My final thought at that point was that I simply did not care! The physical details of the rest of the encounter are not important here, but disaster was averted by the thinking and action of the other driver. Suffice it to say that at the time my perception was that the likelihood of death or severe injury was extremely high. What is important is my recollection of my spiritual state at the time.
         I have spent days going over that experience of 'I do not care'. Certainly I care deeply about my wife. I also care about the car, but far less so. No, this was something quite different from that kind of caring, but I must take this one step at a time. It seemed as if my ego, so loathe to acknowledge the truth of its own fallibility and imminent demise, had decided to let me go and disappear from the scene. I could not think; I could not feel; I could not sense anything except what my eyes were seeing. Devoid of my ego, or most of it at least, I found myself in the presence of, and totally identified with, some sense of otherness, a presence that I assumed to be my true Self. That Self was not concerned by cares of any sort. It simply observed without passing judgement. It felt nothing because It was completely detached. The whole incident was not dissimilar to a peak experience. I was also aware that there was no tension present, for that had disappeared with my ego. I can only say that presence has always been there, and it will always continue to be there, even when I cannot see it.
         Now what, one might ask, has all this to do with the experience of a true God? Perhaps nothing, and I do not claim to have been in contact with God, and certainly not that he saved us that day. That salvation was in the hands, not of otherworldly agencies, but of very this-worldly agencies. I would claim, however, that in being rejected by my ego-consciousness I was left in the figurative hands of my true Self, and that finger was likely to be pointing in the direction of God. The enforced state of detachment, of letting go, is a characteristic of a meeting with God, or at least some divine intermediary. You see, I realised at that time that it is the ego that is the 'Ancient of Days'. The true God is still young, is still in a state of becoming. It lives in the eternal here-and-now, a state that is so very difficult to enter voluntarily.

.......... I reached out to the slowly spinning sphere, that is both God-like and foetal-like, full of nascent life. And I can hear it.  It is the sound of an ageless child humming to itself, alone, engaged in a gentle activity of concentrated observation. Here, around this Child-God, or perhaps God-child, is the missing input that I need.  That input is love..........
                                                                               [Extract from my Qabalah Diaries]

         If this were the only experience I have had, I would note it with interest and leave it to vegetate in a diary somewhere. But there have been too many supportive writings and experiences by others, including saints and mystics down the years, to allow this experience to be discarded. The way to God is inwards. One must detach and, as the author of "The Cloud of Unknowing" once wrote, look upwards to the Cloud of Unknowing, and downwards at the Cloud of Forgetting.
         I have offered all such detail as seems relevant lest it be assumed that I have drawn erroneous conclusions drawn from highly selective data. It will be the task, if so chosen, for you my readers to comment, and to decide whether my conclusions are valid or not. It will be my task to listen. In any case my search will continue.


  1. When I tell my story, it ends "I left my body when I realized what was going to happen and came back to a total loss car, a ride in an ambulance and back to work the next day".
    All I can say is that I struggled for 3 seconds trying to avoid the end until I very very consciously let go of my steering thinking so be it. No trauma either.
    (Conversation easy, writing not)

  2. Ellena; I had one of those many years ago, but I didn't get back to work for two weeks. I occasionally regret the loss of my VW Golf.

  3. As a child of about three it had always been my habit to stand between my Grandparents in the front bench seat. On the day of the terrible crash, I had asked to be put in the back seat to stand behind that protective barrier and the glass that would likely have ended my life.
    Where do ideas come from? is a question I have often asked.

  4. Halle; I think we do not give sufficient credit to the workings of our unconscious mind, and its involvement in all our day-to-day decisions. I sometimes have the sense that that part of the mind is often privy to what we may see as the future. There is so much we do not know, yet too often are we ready to jump in with facile judgements which do not display erudition but sheer foolishness. There is great value in continual questioning.

    1. I agree totally. So often I've had a hunch that some course of action should be followed and it turned out to be very fortunate. The opposite is also true.
      Taking the position of the mathematician however, the person who is writing this descends from the lucky tot who had that idea. There were thousands of other versions we will never hear from who weren't so lucky.
      Continuing my quest nonetheless. :-)

  5. What an incredible experience that near-accident was for you (and Lucy)!

    I cannot comment on the validity of your conclusions as you suggest - you know far better than I do, Tom. A near death experience is sure to send one to question much of one's preconceptions, or to confirm beliefs.

  6. I am certain the brain exploits some sort of quantum coherence that enables us to navigate possible futures that best include us. Not an infallible mechanism, admittedly, but one that demonstrates the intelligence of the universe --a construct neither finite nor entirely conscious.

  7. Hi Tom
    I think your quest the quest for truth in defining a GOD in terms of a prime focus of psycho-spirituality, to render all other considerations as subservient is an interesting proposition. For the most part, it seems to me that any such quest will be routinely ambushed by competing wills for power (the ego and super ego) that inevitably colour any day to day outcomes. But I think the truth is, by better understanding the danger of asserting absolutes, (a natural inclination of the will ) we can help further the cause of peace, by recognising this in better understanding the causes of tension both personally and as between nations. In that respect it could be that in the search of self-one might parallel a quest for a more general universal truth, although never quite achieving it, one further gains in wisdom. That is to say if we temporarily abandon the idea of free will, paradoxically we become free to understand the source of conflict of the competing wills , in the fleeting experience as recounted in your recent near accident experience.
    Best wishes

  8. Be at peace with every experience, because it is your wishing otherwise that constructs the experience of conflict.

    I received the aforementioned message from an old friend today. It seems appropriate as a comment here. Letting go is the hardest part, but it seems you've incorporated that lesson, Tom.

  9. Tom, an interesting side-question, subordinate to the one you're focusing on, is why the feeling of sadness and loss earlier in the day might have led to your being unaware of the big car speeding towards you and then to letting go of attachment to your life and even of the potential risk to Lucy's life. I am absolutely convinced of the reality and truth of 'peak experiences' but I would also be keen to look into all possible psychological factors which might, or might not, be interpreted as such.

  10. Thank you each one for your comments. They have been read carefully, and are being mulled over very carefully. If it were to be that I had to forego any future, powerful experience of detachment in order to protect others around me from possible injury or worse, that would be entirely acceptable. What I did not mention in my post was the later judgemental berating I endured from my ego. The guilt and humiliation had a role to play, but that is over. No further good can come, and Lucy and I are in agreement over this, from further beating up on myself over this incident.

    Although it is impossible to escape all risks of road, or other, accidents, there are certain factors that arose here that can be watched to lessen those risks, to remain in an 'eyes open' state of mind. The first of those factors was body and mind fatigue, the second was depression and grief, whilst the third was a possible lowering of my blood sugar. All those factors are within my control and are my responsibility.

    The physical body is as important as that of the spirit. The one must be cared for as much as the other. They form one of the world's pairings. Lucy's final comment on the day, although we have discussed the matter since, brought that pairing into stark relief when she said,

    "I don't care how bloody epiphanic it was, I don't want it happening again!"