The Ground of Being

It has felt difficult when I sit down to write, this past year especially, to know where to begin. Nothing that I have been learning as of late regarding spiritual matters has been easy to talk about, which is quite alright since actual spiritual realities can’t actually be spoken of in any actualizing way, only hinted and pointed at from different directions in the hope that someone will have the curiosity to look into the thing for themselves. Words are only metaphors and are never the thing they are attempting to communicate. This is the danger of creeds and “beliefs”, they often claim to be the “thing” you’re looking for. That to consent to particular idea could get you “saved” or make you “chosen” as if the idea itself were the reality of union with God or enlightenment. This is also why Jesus spoke in parables. He was allowing individuals to arrive at their own conclusions; his words were and still are invitations, not doctrines. Words have no option but to forever minimize that which is Infinite.

There is one ocean. Fish may reside in different corners of the sea and the life within may have very independent experiences, yet the ocean is one and the collective of the experiences had within her are the essence of the ocean herself. To see the ocean as separate animals, plants, currents, water and substrates is to have a small view of her. Take a step back and view the ocean in its entirety and it will be clear that the Ocean is One.

A man plants a garden on his land. In it he places vegetables and fruits of various types. When they all mature he can walk you through the middle of them and point and say, “That one is a squash, these are tomatoes, and those are basil.” If you stand with him from a distance and your view is enlarged to take it all in at once he will simply point and say, “There is the garden.”

Jesus once said that if you build a house upon a rock it will stand, will endure through trials and storms; build it upon sand it will all come crashing down eventually. To construct a system of beliefs divorced from an underlying, experiential knowledge of the unity of all peoples, creation, and reality is to build a rickety structure. Though it may provide temporary shelter, comfort or security it cannot be depended on to endure the tests of storms and time. To see only a single fish or plant is not the same as experiencing the ocean or enjoying the garden. The ocean is vast and wondrous and the beauty of a garden lies not only in the independent plants and parts, but in the created space as a whole.