As small child, I was taught there was only one God, the universe’s creator. I was told we all had souls connecting us to God and to each other. These ideas were heart-felt, not parroted, because they made sense; unlike all the rote-memorized church dogma, much of which I remember despite many years trying to forget.
I no longer struggle to forget anything. Trying to forget, forced me to hold on; sometimes tighter. I tried to forget much more than dogma. I wanted to erase pain, trauma, suffering. Every thing unpleasant, I wanted obliterated from my life. I tried various ways to do this. But nothing was forgotten. Ever.
Later, I tried to accept misery. To analyze it. To cope with it. To sift through it for meaning and relevancy. I spent much time and effort trying to understand. But understanding is not forgetting and while there is comfort in explanation, there is no ease. The trauma may not throb forever but one remains drawn to it like a healed scar. We touch it, rub it and remember it.
In graduate school studying literature, I encountered American transcendentalists. I was attracted immediately to transcendence. The mystical as always beckoned me. As a kid, I was intrigued with Christian mystics like Julian of Norwich, who in her walled cell, had visions of universal love, salvation for all and the feminine divine. Later, I found Sufism’s mystical mergence with the universal God. The transcendentalists’ spiritual expansion derived from communing with nature where they found harmony and oneness through this experience.
I believe in universality and oneness.
At church recently, we discussed that spiritual beliefs could be like windows in a cathedral. We each drew images of our windows and shared how their symbols reflected our beliefs. I could not render mine as I wished because my drawn image filled with swirling abstract colors was limited by the two dimensions confining it. If I could create this window without limit, there would be swirling colors and lights around me, through me, in me, out me, above me, below me, surrounding me. There would be nothing holding me. I would be one with the colors. I would be nothing but energy, light, color…
Nothing would hold me. I’d just be. There would be memories, not forgotten; just there. Pain, pleasure, peace. All there. Just, there. Not held. I would hold onto nothing, no one. I would transcend everything. All of myself and everything I am. All that I was, that I will be. Could have been. May have never have been. Won’t ever be. I won’t be.
For me, God is this universe, this energy which surrounds us all, through which we move mostly unaware, through which our lives flash brightly and then are subsumed by the energy. My soul at present is embodied here. When my body dies, its atoms will return to the universe. The energy that is constrained by my individual soul will release to the universal energy. The universal oneness.
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