Disclaimer: I tend to use the metaphor “God” a lot in this piece. It’s just a word I’m using to try and point to something that’s so much larger than any concept or pronoun could ever encompass.
I’m really impressed by the design of the universe. I was looking up at the moon while walking home the other day and thinking, wow, what a great symbol, what a great reminder of how light comes spontaneously out of darkness every month only to realize a brief moment of plenitude before dissolving back into the void from which it emerged. If I look at the moon in the right way, she speaks to me of the wonder with which life continues on through death, even in this very moment as thousands of my cells die and are reborn. The outside world is a metaphor for the internal world, as I’ve heard, and wow, how amazing is it that there is such a thing as outside and inside, and how even more amazing that this distinction and division is the very basis for contemplation itself. Put another way, if God did not divide Herself into separate entities (who are actually all connected on a deeper level), She would not be able to look out upon Herself and marvel at what She is. I am the vehicle through which She/I can wonder at Her/My own deepest essence, with convenient hints provided by things like the moon (but really, I could look anywhere and find an image to unlock a deep understanding…take a tree for instance. Or sleep.)
And then I thought about what’s happening in Syria right now, in particular the massacre of women and children last weekend, and I was similarly driven to wonder how, while part of God is looking out at Herself in loving appreciation, another part is off consciously killing others. People will take any pretext, any little division to justify killing each other- you’re a Shi’ite! You’re a Sunni! You’re an Alawi! You say your prayers differently, so you deserve to die! When what the founders of every religion have taught is that we are all partaking in something unspeakably magnificent, and that we should try to help others who might not have been so fortunate to wake up to this magnificence, so that we could laugh and dance with each other in constant celebration that there is Existence and that nothing else really matters!
(aside: We saw a great talk by Tenzin Palmo (a remarkable western nun) the other day, and she joked about Buddha, Mohammad, and Jesus all making a bet to see whose followers deviated the most from what they really taught!)
And yet, people find a way to reject this message of love and replace it with fear, maybe because it sounds too good to be true. Well, it is too good to be true! And if you need any more proof, just look at the bodybags and think: God is so powerful and loving that She allows those who have willfully destroyed part of Herself to go on living. Presumably, if our fear-based image of an omnipotent, patriarchal God were correct, then retribution for these wrongdoers should have been swift and immediate. But no, there are dozens of men who killed the wives and children of others still walking around in Syria right now. It sounds crazy to say this, but the fact that God does not intervene in our destruction of each other is not proof of Her absence, but paradoxically proof of Her presence. We cannot fuck up so bad that we aren’t still loved, and given another chance to express this love. The Holocaust happened, and the world kept turning.
This Being (that we all are) doesn’t step in because, as Krishna asks in Gita, who is killing whom? You can kill part of Me, but you can’t kill Me. Even if a manifestation disappears, the essence will persist. I have never been born and I will never die, because I am LIFE. There has to be something separate in order for harm to occur.
Sure, it’s probably a more constructive and happy use of our time to love one another, but there’s nothing stopping us from devoting our energies to hatred and violence if we so choose (isn’t it crazy that thousands of people around the world wake up to go and work in weapons factories?). Such are the mysteries of being part of a Being who has given itself the freedom to create or destroy, all because this Being couldn’t be fully what It IS without giving itself this possibility.