The Watchmaker and the Mirror

The only thing I remember from a philosophy course I took in college is one philosopher’s reasoning with regard to the existence of God: “A watch implies a watchmaker.” In other words, such a complicated creation as our universe must have been designed by a greater intelligence. It made sense to me, in my beginning years of exploring the meaning of life and whether or not I believed in a God. Looking back, after a lifetime of spiritual exploration, it still seems like a very believable observation. Yet there are so many other frameworks within which to view the universe and its “creator.”

Today, some scientists theorize that the universe doesn’t really exist until we observe it. That is, consciousness precedes reality, not the other way around. This perception aligns with ancient Eastern wisdom going back thousands of years. The watchmaker God/dess, or the Divine Mother, then is consciousness itself, existing within us as our souls. The entire universe, divine presence, and we ourselves are One. We exist within an infinite hall of mirrors, all of them possibilities, which become “real” as we observe or experience them in the Now. As we look into the mirror before us, only the reflection of the present exists; there is no past, future, time or space. When wise spiritual elders tell us that the present moment is all that exists, this is what they mean.

How do we receive this expansive awareness that is flooding into the world as we know it now? What is real? What is God? And who are we in our seemingly transient and mysterious lives? Ultimately, are these questions, or any questions, relevant if everything is One? Oneness dissolves the polarity within which separation (me and other) exists. It seems to me that this is partially what the Great Shift, foretold for centuries, refers to: the end of time, the end of space, the end of “other.” In each moment, there is only the reflection before me—an orchid, an oak tree, a robin singing, the face of a beloved partner or friend. Each of these engenders love in my heart, which is the essence of divine consciousness, also part of that reflection of Now.

What of death and eternity? How do they figure into this “only consciousness exists” scenario? Does this question, and the fear that accompanies it, also fall away if I immerse myself in the infinite presence that is Now? More and more, I am able to answer “yes” if it’s my soul that is looking in the mirror and not my time-based identity. Deep within my awareness I sense that, for each human being, soul and identity will eventually merge, and we will see the life before us with peace and acceptance, not questions. And of course, this is not the future; it is happening now. Because there is nothing else.

So you and I are the watchmaker, the present moment, infinite consciousness. I am you, and vice versa. When we breathe, it is the universe breathing. When we look into the mirror of infinity in the Now, there is no “other,” there is no death. All is one vast limitless expanse of beingness that we have given names and explanations and pinned our fears and uncertainties on. But the truth of this moment is the one image of beauty before me and the love I feel for everything, seen and unseen. This is God or Goddess; this is All That Is.

Without a Label

A good friend of mine recently told me that she loves my writing but doesn’t necessarily relate to the God references. She said she believes in something but doesn’t really have a label for it. She’s not alone. So many of us (myself included) have felt exactly the same at one time or another in our lives. And truthfully we don’t need a label–often language misses the point entirely. Some people and traditions prefer to leave the idea of a creator-being unnamed. Many Native Americans use the words “the Great Mystery.” Makes complete sense to me. I wasn’t raised in a religion, and I used to be put off by the groups who would go around house to house proselytizing about God. That word remained a negative trigger for me right up into adulthood, when I began my own spiritual exploration.

My first attempt at explaining how I thought of spirit at the time was the word “meaning.” I believed there was meaning in the universe because I could feel it in my heart. That’s as far as it went for a while. Eventually, I came to see that the word or description didn’t matter as much as the experience itself. I lost most of my objections to words and labels like God or Divinity. Still, I try to be low key about using them when I write because I know many people are uncomfortable about naming something that is in essence nameless. And it’s unnecessary. The deeper I dive into my soul, the more words fall away entirely. I experience a beingness or oneness that defies description.

So how do you write about that? How do you talk about it? Perhaps the best response to the mysteries of the universe is silence. Within that, everything arises. Immersion in something greater than language fills you. Nature shows me this more than anything else. Every time I am outdoors by myself I am deeply connected to the entire cosmos without a single word being spoken. This is why I prefer to be alone with Nature. Silence prevails. In the stillness, language is irrelevant. And mental naming is only a distraction. If you can walk slowly and quietly, or stand motionless, the natural world continues as if you weren’t there. You hear the birds singing, the wind in the trees, chipmunks and squirrels calling. You smell the earth and the foliage, and you can feel the living energy vibrating all around you.

This is Presence: being, without a name or label. Humans invented a language to describe what they were experiencing. Such descriptions can often be poetic and magical, but wordiness can diminish the essence of what is essentially a silent soul exchange. I am a writer so I know the power of expressing what is pouring through me to be shared, a divine connection to something wondrous. This is why I write. Yet, I also know that what ultimately allows that connection is an empty space of stillness, an openness to what some have called universal consciousness. Another name for God. We try, we humans, to express the inexpressible, to name what has no name. Within that trying is a sweet vulnerability that holds hope and loving awareness in it.

When we stop trying, however, when we stand in silent reverence without language or labels, the grace of something beyond expression pours over and through us. That is what we came here to Earth to experience and know deeply. And there are no words that can describe that miracle. Only profound gratitude comes close to touching the core of this meeting of Heaven and Earth in the human dimension.

Soul Presence

The world is changing so fast we can hardly keep track of it. Reports on what is or isn’t happening clash with one another on a daily basis, both in the media and among those we know. “Reality” as a perceivable, agreed-upon entity no longer exists, if it ever did (the emperor’s clothes have disappeared). Time as we knew it has also ceased to exist. So how do we navigate this seemingly chaotic and uncertain path before us? One clue is that it is no longer a place for human identities (names, family roles, job descriptions). What lies ahead is completely unknown and can only be approached as a spiritual mystery and soul adventure.

We are moving ever more rapidly into the time of Soul Presence. It’s been a long time coming. And I don’t just mean since the flower children of the 60s called out the Age of Aquarius. I mean millennia. Thousands and thousands of years in the making, with incarnation after incarnation of spiritual seekers and masters moving forward and shining an ever-brighter light. Today we have finally reached the era of collective enlightenment. No more gurus, priests, leaders, or authorities of any kind. It is dawning on each of us that we carry the wisdom and light inside us. God is within, not sitting on a distant throne issuing orders. God and soul are one. We living beings on a living planet are One.

When we awaken fully to that oneness, our separate identities and polarized world views will dissolve. Our souls will emerge in full presence and meet with loving-kindness and compassion, instead of the competitiveness and self-centeredness that formed our old personalities. The harshness of ego gives way to the softness of soul. Fear of survival and the illusion of control are replaced with trust in a perfectly designed divine unfolding. That is why so much is falling away and there is no longer truth or time. We have no idea what is ahead, but more and more we can see a light shining, from within us and from the Earth herself. “We are stardust; we are golden,” Joni Mitchell wrote so many years ago. And the flowering garden of light in our future is being born from that golden stardust that makes up our souls.

When you begin to align completely with your soul, you see and live with God vision because there is no longer a perceived separation. God/dess and Soul are one experience. Within you arises a growing commitment to peace, love, and generosity of spirit. The self apart from other no longer exists. We replaces I. Heaven and Earth come together in our consciousness and in our experiences. Heartening to think of, but how do we live it in the days ahead? Imagine it and it becomes real.

What would such a world look like to you? How would you live without an identity—neither parent nor child, employee or boss, one gender or another, one opinion or its opposite? What would life on Earth be like without rigid parameters but only fluid Presence? This is where we came from; the soul emerged from this dynamic place of pure being and unconditional love. This is the divine vision for humanity, actually for the entire cosmos. And beneath all the arguing voices and warring factions on the planet, this is what exists now. We’ve never really been separate from one another or from our Source. It was an illusion we lived out for the experience of individual karma before returning to oneness. God came to Earth as each of us to immerse itself in all the possible variations of consciousness. How else could we then know the ecstatic coming together that is oneness of Spirit? At the soul level, we were aware of the greater overview or design, but as separate incarnated personalities, we’ve been finding our way for millennia. And now is the homecoming.

So look around you and let go of everything you’ve known before. Forget the past and live in the present moment. The soul only knows Now. Within that is infinite possibility. Presence without limitation. “Eternity in an hour” and “Infinity in the palm of your hand” (William Blake). God vision, which lies at the heart of everything in the universe. The wise words “Let go and let God” were repeated again and again for a reason. We are finally hearing them clearly. When you surrender completely, there is nothing else. Soul Presence. Remembered paradise.

Breathing Lessons

If God resides within the breath, what does it mean when you are “short of breath,” with inflammation in the lungs? That was my status, post chemo—another one of the side effects, which takes 4–6 weeks to resolve. Meanwhile, my breathing was slower, my walking slower, everything slower. Was this God’s way of getting me to slow down (even though my life is not fast-paced)? Perhaps the message here is “press the pause button on everything and just be in the stillness of the breath, in which God is ever-present.” Nothing is more important. “You’ve dropped all the pieces of your identity; now just rest in the absence of identification, the presence of divinity.” This is what I am hearing, what I am receiving. Another gift of this experience. Because when you find yourself struggling to breathe (as I did one night recently), you are awakened to the slender thread that holds you to life: one single breath at a time is your lifeline to aliveness. And to God.

When I sat in silence, completely still, awareness of my breath filled my consciousness. Spirit too filled me, and I found myself asking for guidance on how to navigate a path in which there is no longer anything but my soul breathing life into form. The answer that came back clearly was “Love.” If there is meaning in life, it is love itself, the face of God present in all things. Love is the North Star guiding us even when we can’t see it. When all else falls away, there is love in every breath we take because it is the source of life.

As I walk this path of breast cancer, there is much that is unknown, but I do always feel the presence of love—in the hearts of those closest to me, in my own heart, and in something greater, an infinite beingness which humans have named God. The “Great Mystery” that we try so hard to define and understand is best known through the experience of love, looking into the eyes of another or at the wonders of the Earth. Not surprisingly, we often find ourselves breathing deeper at these times, filled with awe and gratitude. Our breath connects us to everything, internal and external. Perhaps this is the greatest wisdom of all: the breath, God, and love are all the same thing. You are closest to God and love when you focus on your breath, realizing you are part of the divine trajectory of all life.

Ironic that the main symptom of the current global pandemic is loss of the ability to breathe, easily or at all. Is humanity symbolically losing its connection to the breath of life (and God)? The Earth “breathes” through its forests and plants (oxygen–carbon dioxide cycle); the oxygen they produce sustains our lives. Yet we are killing them off at an alarming rate. Perhaps we are all, individually and collectively, being shown the importance of something we take for granted: the air we breathe. Because without it, we cease to exist, one and all. The message is clear: Stop business as usual; protect the environment, our shared home. Quiet your mind; remain still long enough, and you will see the connection between your own breathing and everything else, including God. The sacredness of each part of life on Earth will become clear. And your breath is your best teacher.

After my own recent experience of not being able to catch my breath for several very long minutes, I felt a new sense of its preciousness. Later, sitting alone in the darkness of night, I had such a profound awareness of my own breathing. It filled me with Life, yes, but it also filled me with peaceful Presence. Within one single breath is the spirit that holds the universe in the mind of God, and love in the heart of all creation. This seemingly invisible process holds the keys to both planetary life and divine connection. May we honor it as the irreplaceable gift of grace it is.

The Secret of Life

Every time you inhale and exhale, you are breathing the spirit of life, which is God. That’s the secret: The breath is God. In many languages, the word for spirit is the same as for breath. We hold this wisdom within the depths of our souls because it is what we are made of. Yes, we are human, but our humanity is composed of divine spirit. Your physical form is a sacred temple within which God experiences life on Earth. When you breathe, God is breathing. When you look through your eyes, God is seeing. When you look in another’s eyes, you are both gazing into pools of divinity. The only problem is that we have forgotten. We think that breathing is merely a physical phenomenon that arrives and departs with birth and death.

The breath is so much more. It is eternal, infinite. It is everything in all of creation condensed into something that seems very simple: air moving in and out of your lungs. But it is divine spirit that is the source of that rhythmic motion. Spirit that has no beginning or end. When you take your first breath, spirit enters your body as your unique essence, a piece of God. When you take your last breath, your essence, or soul, returns to the wholeness of God. In continuous motion, spirit flows from formless to form and back again. The entire universe moves in this manner—an infinite number of forms arising, flowering, and then falling back into formlessness. Your soul is part of this dance within divinity. Your soul, in human form, breathes spirit into the world.

What animates spirit in the first place? What is the primal cause behind every effect? Love. The infinite love of a creator for its creation. God is the eternal parent loving you, child of the universe, with the breath of life. It is love in its purest form. Divine love animates your life on Earth. With every breath, you are a conduit for that love. You touch everything around you with the divine love that pours from you just by breathing. When you become fully aware of this, you step into your greatest potential as a human/divine being on this Earth. You realize your oneness with God.

How do you become fully aware? Through a gradual deepening of conscious connection to the breath as living spirit. So many meditation practices focus on the breath because they are teaching oneness with God, with all of life. If you want to know firsthand the secret of life, look to your breath. Every time you inhale and exhale, you are one with God. In truth, there is never a moment when you are not one with God. The key is to remember it. To remember where we all came from (infinite consciousness) and how we are always connected to that greater loving Presence. The breath holds the key to everything. When you remember, your very being expands into harmonic resonance, and you are able to love limitlessly. This is what you were born for, to transmit oneness, love, peace, and unity through every conscious breath.