"The search for God is a reversal of the normal, mundane worldly order. In the search for God, you revert from what attracts you and swim toward that which is difficult. You abandon your comforting and familiar habits with the hope (the mere hope!) that something greater will be offered you in return for what you've given up ...
"...Faith is a way of saying, "yes, I pre-accept the terms of the universe and I embrace in advance what I am presently incapable of understanding." There's a reason why we refer to "leaps of faith" -- because the decision to connect to any notion of divinity is a mighty jump from the rational over to the unknowable ... and I don't care how diligently scholars of every religion will try to sit you down with their stacks of books and prove to you through scripture that their faith is indeed rational, it isn't. If faith were rational, it wouldn't be - by definition - faith. Faith is belief in what you cannot see or prove or touch. Faith is walking face-first and full-speed in the dark. If we truly knew all the answers in advance as to the meaning of life, and the nature of God, and the destiny of our souls, our belief would not be a leap of faith and it would not be a courageous act of humanity; it would be ... a prudent insurance policy.
"I'm not interested in the insurance industry. "
"Every religion in the world has had a subset of devotees who seek a direct, transcendent experience with God, excusing themselves from fundamentalist scripture or dogmatic study in order to personally encounter the divine. The interesting thing about these mystics is that, when they describe their experiences, t hey all end up describing exactly the same occurrence. Generally, their union with God occurs in a meditative state, and is delivered through an energy source that fills the entire body with euphoric, electric light. The Japanese call this energy ki. The Chinese Buddhists call it chi/qi, the Balinese call it taksu, the Christians call it The Holy Spirit, the Kalahari Bushman call it n/um (their holy men describe it as a snakelike power that ascends the spine and blows a hole in the head through which the gods then enter). The Islamic Sufi poets call that God-energy "The Beloved" and wrote devotional poems to it. The Australian aborigines describe a serpent in the sky that descends into the medicine man and gives him intense, other-worldly powers. In the Jewish tradition of Kabbalah this union with the divine is said to occur through stages of spiritual ascension, with energy that runs up the spine along a series of invisible meridians. [Hindus call these the chakras.]
"St. Teresa of Avila, the most mystical of Catholic figures, described her union with God as a physical ascension of light through seven inner'"mansions' of her being, after which she burst into God's presence."
"According to the mystics, this search for divine bliss is the entire purpose of a human life."
"God dwells within you, as you."
"To know God, you need only to renounce one thing -- your sense of division from God."
I am an antevasin. It means, "one who lives at the border ..."
In ancient India, it was a literal description ... a person who had fled the frenetic center of communal-village life, to go live at the edge of the forest where the spiritual masters lived. So, the antevasin was no longer one of the villagers ... no longer one who could just live a conventional life ... but neither were they yet a "transcendent one" ... one of the fully-realized ones. The antevasin was one who lived "in-between" ... a boarder-dweller. Living within sight of both worlds, but always looking towards the unknown ... and always the scholar.
As Gilbert describes,
"you can live there ... you can live on that shimmering line between your old thinking and your new understanding, always in a state of learning. In the figurative sense, this is a border that was always moving -- as you advance forward in your studies and realizations, that mysterious forest of the unknown always stays a few feet ahead of you, so you have to travel light in order to keep following it... and so, I'm just a antevasin -- betwixt and between -- a student on the ever-shifting border near the wonderful, scary forest of the new."
There are those who say I must choose what it is that I believe and settle there. I think I not only have every right, but every responsibility, to pick and choose what works for me, as I go, as I grow, as I expand and evolve. I am drawn to what speaks to my soul, what moves my spirit, and what reminds me of what I long-ago "forgot" ...
I take whatever works for me, for now, from wherever I find it, and continue to move toward the Light, walking in the Light I've already been given ...
I find that the ways of God, of Source, of Providence, of the Divine, are infinite... and how astonishing, really, that the Infinite would be ... well, infinite!
Shalom & Namaste ~