Thursday, January 15, 2015

Being Connected


Have you ever had that moment, that experience, when all that surrounds you feels like it simply envelops you?  When you disappear into your surroundings and all becomes one and the same?  Not each thing a separate part, a separate existence, but everything – including you – are one larger whole.  Perhaps for just a split second; perhaps longer.  It may even be hard to know, because in such instances time seems almost forgotten, irrelevant.

I had that experience often in my younger days as a musician.  Mind, body, fingers, keyboard and piano would seemingly dissolve and feel instead as one musical instrument.  The music would seem to play itself, I just an observer watching.  Such were moments to be treasured.

Such also can be the experience of the fisherman sitting alone in the quiet of the boat; rod, water, sky and fish all becoming one still-life portrait.  Or the artist, whose block of stone or canvas comes alive through one’s fingertips.  The moment when a computer techie’s program goes “live”; the hiker’s walk through the dense, majestic forest; the cyclist or runner pushing down the track at top speed; the actor and the role melding into an indistinguishable one.

It is when the liturgy moves beyond just words and becomes mind, body and heart.  When both persons in a conversation seem to – for the first time really – speak as one voice, one thought.  Each truly understand the other in a deeper, more complete way than before.  It is the moment on the mountain when the expansive view of the mountains and neighboring valley all become simply one true landscape.  It is the moment when the sense of one family, one team, transcends the sense of Self.

The spiritual seeker knows such an experience.  Those flashes when the surroundings meld into the person.  It is “connection.”  A moment of no separation, in contrast to the separateness we normally feel in our daily interactions with life.  A separateness we often think we want as a way to define and highlight our individuality and uniqueness.  But that individuality comes at the price of separation, of being spiritually alone in the world, oblivious to the larger story within which we actually live.  It is only when we finally burn out in our quest to stand apart from all else that the desire for connection begins to grow.  A small seed, then a crack in our hard shell, followed by a gradual broadening of our “logical” mind, until finally a brilliant flowering of thought and heart.

So we begin to seek a personal connection beyond just the physical environment that we can see and feel, but to that which is beyond our vision and touch.  A connection to what we may call the Universe, Spirit, Creator, God, or any of a hundred different names.  They are the moments when we simply know what the Universe is, know what being a part of God means, know what our life and priorities are truly about.  We no longer just seek to know; we simply do know.  As the 14th -century mystic described, it is through the veiled cloud of unknowing that knowing occurs.  Without any needed explanation.  We are simply there.  Not separated.  Connected.

"When we try to take out one thing, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe."  (John Muir, American Conservationist)

© 2015   Randy Bell