I'm writing this at 38,000 feet somewhere over the southeast portion of the United States. I'm on my way to Dallas/Ft. Worth on a speaking gig and the day could not be more beautiful. In a downward direction, the landscape stretches as far as I can see. In an upward gaze, there is nothing but an endless sea of blue ... an infinity of space. When I try to wrap my little brain around this vastness, I'm at a loss.
In a sense, I know I'm looking at a vastness that is made up of mostly nothing -- emptiness. You might say, nothingness. And yet, as strange as it may sound, ever since the day of spiritual awakening, I now see something in this nothingness. It's as if I'm looking into the face of God.
Everything changed on that afternoon of my spiritual transformation. I describe it in detail in The Enoch Factor: The Sacred Art of Knowing God. So, I won't go into it all here. But, like many people, and perhaps like you, I have spent the greater part of my life looking ... searching ... and trying to find God. I had brief moments when I felt God's nearness. But, they never lasted and, for the most part, my spiritual life was one big frustration to me. I could never quite seem to make it with God. I don't think I'm alone.
Furthermore, I had conditioned ideas about what God was like ... even what God probably looked like. Maybe something similar to what you're imagining right now -- a grandfatherly -- type who was mostly displeased with what was going on here on earth and mostly displeased with me.
Then, on that afternoon of my unplanned and unanticipated awakening, everything changed. My views about God, my feelings about myself and others, as well as my views regarding the universe and the purpose and meaning of life shifted, or better, morphed into something infinitely more meaningful than I could have ever imagined. God was no longer "up there," sitting on an eternal judgment throne, stroking his long white beard, and shaking his head in disapproval at me or the world. Suddenly, God was to me the infinite vastness that's not only beyond me but around me, too -- as close as my skin. God was nothing and, yet, everything, too. Sounds like doubletalk, I know. But, for me, in an instant, I ceased looking for and wondering where God was. I felt God within. From that point on, I never again looked for God, precisely because I awakened to the realization there was no need to look for what had never been lost. Someone expressed it this way: "When you finally stop struggling to find God, she finds you." The feeling of God's nearness has never left me since. Admittedly, the intensity varies but, mostly these days, I live in a state of inner quietude, self-acceptance, and peace.
By the way, there was no typo above. I chose to refer to the Infinite with the feminine case because, among other things, I suddenly realized God is no more him than she is her. The Divine just is. In fact, God is that emptiness out of which everything appears. In other words, before the awakening, I could look into the heavens on a starry night and all I would see were stars and planets. Admittedly, that was amazing. But today, what I see is infinitely more amazing. I see ... are you ready for this? I see ... nothing. And yet, that is vastly more than everything. What I'm saying is, when I look into the heavens, even as I'm doing this day while flying, I see God.
What has been the consequence of this transformation in my vision?
· Today, I feel and know Presence almost continually. No longer do I feel judged by God or struggle to please God. Why would I? She could not be more pleased with me just as I am. I feel loved by God. I cannot imagine anything more wonderful.
· I love myself, too, and so I am able to love you and accept you, as well as everyone else with much greater ease and no judgment. While the spiritual path I follow is that of the Christian faith, I make it my ambition to learn from all faith traditions. As my friends among the Baha'i faith say, "There are many paths ... one destination." This may be one of the most significant revelations related to my spiritual transformation. There was a time when I mistakenly felt it was my religious duty to convert everyone to my way of thinking. Not anymore. If my journey should inspire or guide yours, then of course I am pleased. If, however, you choose another path, or no path at all, my hope is to learn from you, not judge you. So, for this and other reasons, I developed a kind of logo I wear that I call the Unity pendant. If you're interested, you can learn more about it here. It expresses my hope for universal peace, beginning with all spiritual traditions.
· Finally, I am at peace. Like nothing I've ever known before, too. Today, my normal state is one of tranquility and bliss, interrupted only occasionally. This peace, which is the consequence of Presence, anchors me to the present -- to Now.
Sitting as I am on this small plane, I could easily become claustrophobic. The tight quarters, cramped seats and little leg space. But, here's the difference. Today, I see the emptiness in this fuselage as well. By noticing it, I have this inner sensation of peace ... of spaciousness ... stillness ... God.
So, what could all of this mean? I have just given you what I think is the secret to spiritual living ... to living a life of peaceful bliss. If you practice the following, you might discover a similar kind of transformation. Here's the practice I recommend: Pay attention to nothing. It is out of the nothing, you'll begin to see everything. This inner knowledge of nothing will transform everything. For me, this is God. Or, Presence, Or, peace. This is life in the NOW!