I didn’t intend to write the following, it’s just what came out. It’s not really what the challenge called for, so I’ll go back and try that one again. But I thought it was worth posting anyway. . .so here it is.
1. There’s a spiritual sensation of connectedness I get from time to time, a few moments in time that feel as though I’m connected to and can sense the existence of all things, an awareness that there is a grand spiritual reality beyond my rational ken that is graspable by my ever developing being.
2. Unless you’ve experienced something like that, I can’t describe to you the sensations, emotions or insights those moments bring. It’s like trying to describe the sensation of orgasm to someone who’s never had one. I can tell you that you really, really want to have one…trust me on that.
3. Like an orgasm, not everyone has had this experience. Also like an orgasm, some people believe they have though they have not. I am as surprised by who hasn’t experienced this as I am by who has. That says more about me than the people who surprise me.
4. While writing a play in 2000, I experienced this sense of connectedness 24/7 for a period of about 2 weeks. I would wake in the middle of the night feeling the energy of it thrumming through my body, reminding me that it had been with me all day but that my consciousness of the sensations had subsided for much of it, like what happens with pain.
5. Your body knows more about your spiritual well being than your mind does. Teach your mind to listen to it.
6. Leading a spiritual existence is like being at a dance. You can wait for someone to ask you; you can get up and dance alone; you can grab some friends and dance in a pack; you can stand by, tapping your feet, and enjoy watching everyone else dance; you can choose not to dance at all. But know this: the purpose of going to a dance is to dance and you’re really missing out on something if you don’t.
7. I’ve always wanted to believe in life after death. Now I know there is, because it touched me. I’m pretty sure about past lives, as well. I’m told that our spirits chose this life we’re living now…I believe that’s true, and that we have an intended purpose for being here and that the purpose – our fate, if you like – is of our own choosing. That purpose is why we chose to come back.
8. My point is: maybe this isn’t the only dance you’ll ever go to, so if you decide not to dance this time, you’ll have other opportunities. What have you got to lose by not dancing? Maybe a lot; the reason you came to the dance hall was to dance.
9. God, beauty, perfection, love: synonyms.
10. One of the tricks to falling in love with life – and thus, yourself — is accepting that there is beauty in everything, no matter how ugly it appears to you. Even ugliness is beautiful. The real task is to go beyond accepting it. The real task is to see the beauty in all things. Can you imagine how easy it will be to love fully, completely, unconditionally then?
11. I once knew that reason alone could answer all the important questions; I know now that reason alone can’t even answer the interesting ones.
12. Science wants to know, “What is a tree?” Art seeks to express, “What does a tree mean?” Science doesn’t always understand that these questions aren’t the same, and that the difference is essential – I understand it as the difference between knowledge and spirit.
13. Science will never discover the true nature of spirit. Not because it fails to ask the right questions, but because, by design, it seeks objective answers outside the experience of self.
14. Philosophy, as it has been traditionally practised in the West, is science. Philosophy, as it has been traditionally practised in the East, is art.
15. That feeling of connectedness I was talking about? That’s an awakening. That’s me seeing my true self, because I am connected to all things. I only came to understand this just now, while writing these 16 thoughts down.
16. If you’ve never felt connected in this way, I can’t tell you how to go about experiencing it. If you have felt it and want to feel it more…same thing. For me it often arises out of experiencing the grand moments of nature: storms, sunsets, skiing deep, deep powder, bicycling through the forest over winding single track. Other people tell me those are the kinds of things they’re doing when they get it. It can also come to me through words and images fraught with meaning, beauty, insight – as I consider them awareness just wells up inside, an energetic acknowledgement of something perfect that fits in the grand pattern of perfection. (Recall #9 above.) I’m not sure what will work for you. But I’m pretty sure I’d have never experienced it by just tapping my feet watching everyone else, or heading outside the dance hall to share a spliff, or spending the whole night on the sidelines with the rest of the wallflowers, wishing someone would ask me to dance. You have to get up and dance. Your body knows how. Just let it lead.
An addendum to the 16 thoughts.
17. Whenever you write, the most important reader your words will have is yourself, no matter who you are writing for, or to, no matter who your intended audience is. So, remember at some point to put down your pen, stop being an author and read whatever you’ve written as if they were the words of a wise, intimate friend, intended for you. Why? Because they are.