One evening, as I lied awake in bed, I felt myself stricken by the questions…
Are you sure you want to get mixed up in all this again?
Are you sure you really want to go through the traumas of birth, sickness, old age, and death?
Are you sure you want to have to deal with showering and shaving and shitting? Didn’t you have enough of that on the last go around?
I sat down the next morning to write…
Sure, it’s nice to be able to enjoy the feeling of a warm summer breeze or the smell of woodsmoke emanating from chimneys on crisp autumn mornings. Love and chocolate also have something going for them.
But are they really worth it? I mean, isn’t it a drag that in order to be able to experience those things, you also have to get sick and old and eventually die? And that you have to spend a good portion of your limited time stuck in traffic jams or dealing with other people’s bullshit?
Don’t you want to think twice about signing up for this?
I set this all aside for many months until it felt right to return to these thoughts. I opened my computer, closed my eyes, and felt a wisdom rising up from deep inside me. I tried to express it in an impersonal, third person voice. But to complete this piece, I had to switch to the first person. Some call that innate wisdom, the voice of truth within, God. Although it may seem like it, please do not consider this a letter from God. There is no new revelation here, only a re-articulation of the knowledge all of us have within.
Sure, it’s only through you that I can know Me. But My self-knowledge is already complete even without you. You could have just as easily not been and it wouldn’t make the slightest difference to Me.
But if it doesn’t make any difference to Me, then why did I do it? Why did I go to trouble of manifesting myself into a universe of galaxies, black holes, and sentient beings?
I wanted to give Myself a challenge: could I sacrifice My all-ness, burst into an inconceivable number of twirling atoms, spread Myself across a vastness it would take you a billion lifetimes to traverse going as fast as possible, then slowly re-assemble Myself through billions of your lifetimes into a form where I could finally become aware of My grandeur?
I wanted to see what it would be like to limit Myself, to experience the sort of illusions that I am capable of creating (which, of course, I caused myself to forget that I was responsible for). I wanted to see what it’s like to give Myself the freedom to deny My existence. I wondered how long I would have to be lost before I found My way back home to the bottomless stillness that I am, out of which all forms emerge.
I knew I had to make the game fun, otherwise it wouldn’t be worth playing. For you or for Me. It was clear that there had to be some drama and pain involved in it all, some element of tension about whether I would wake up to see Myself, or whether you (Me!) would continue to suffer under the weight of the illusion of separateness.
This is the trick. This is the joke.
I am never separate from What I am. You are never separate from Me, even if you think you are.
What did you expect? That this universe had a serious purpose? That it was presided over by an insensitive, maniacal tyrant who sought to manifest a reality only so He could condemn it? Quit projecting your own neurosis and fear on Me!
If you’re at all worried, don’t be. All your problems and stress are caused by failing to connect with the source of what you are, which is open and available in every moment. You can come back home anytime. I left you enough hints all around and inside you to help you remember how to do this.
Perhaps you’ll be out on a boat one day looking out at the horizon and you’ll remember that, just as your field of vision is defined by something that’s ungraspable, that you could never reach, this existence is ringed by nothingness.
The horizon reminds you that there will always be more horizons, since any time you arrive at a point that was once part of your previous horizon, another horizon has appeared. In science, math, or self-understanding, any answer only raises more questions.
When you see that any motion toward understanding is simultaneously a motion away, you begin to understand a little bit more of what I am: an infinite mystery whose center is everywhere and circumference is nowhere (your google search engine is a little conflicted about who said that).
When you open yourself to feeling the depth of that mystery, you’ve touched a little bit of Who you are, of What I am.
Your task here is to cultivate and enter this feeling as much as possible, for that is what will allow you to escape from the prison-like confines of your tiny little self. Encountering the mystery of who I am will put your suffering in perspective, making you understand that the joy of life is only possible because horror and death are ever lurking just over the horizon.
This perspective will make you affirm that yes, I do want to go through this again, and again and again and again, for the sheer joy of it.
After all, what else are you going to do when you realize you’ve got all of eternity to play?