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Sunday, 1 June 2008

Touching God

I have been aware for a few weeks now of a sense of unease in the back of my mind, which if I do not concentrate too hard, is just on the periphery of my vision. Many live with this feeling their whole lives, unaware of the cause, and unaware that there is anything else, that they can choose another way of being. Fortunately I do not fall into this camp.

I know that ultimately what lies behind this sense of unease is non acceptance of the now - the present moment, and what is happening in my life right now. To help me accept what is, and accept the sense of unease, for it is the act of accepting it that ceases its power over me, I have begun as of today to go over the lesson cards for A Course in Miracles.

I first discovered the course back in 1996, and got halfway through the book and cards before coming to an abrupt halt. When I got to the lesson where you had to give up all your fears, I found that I was not ready to do that, and so have not looked at the book (apart from to find the odd quote etc) since. I feel though that now is the right time to start reading it again.

I was reminded of this need last night, when I continued to read the Eckhart Tolle book, A New Earth. The page that I opened it at (page 240) said:

"Choose an object close to you - a pen, a chair, a cup, a plant - and explore it visually, that is to say, look at it with great interest, almost curiosity. Avoid any objects with strong personal associations that remind you of the past, such as where you bought it, who gave it to you, and so on. Also avoid anything that has writing on it such as a book or a bottle. It would stimulate thought. Without straining, relaxed but alert, give your complete attention to the object, every detail of it. If thoughts arise, don't get involved in them. It is not the thoughts you are interested in, but the act of perception itself. Can you take the thinking out of the perceiving? Can you look without the voice in your head commenting, drawing conclusions, comparing, or trying to figure something out? After a couple of minutes or so, let your gaze wander around the room or wherever you are, your alert attention lighting up each thing that it rests upon".

This is interesting, as the first lesson from the course is "nothing in this room means anything". Readers are encouraged to do the same exercise that Tolle describes above, gradually lessening attachment to the things that they see, and encouraging us to see with fresh eyes, perhaps to really see for the first time in our entire lives.

This reminded me of a deeply touching experience that I have each time I visit my beloved Lundy - one of my favourite occupations - to go out and night and gaze at the blackness of space. Living in towns and cities as most of us do, we do not often get the chance to see the night sky in all her glory, free from artificial lights with nothing between us and the vastness of space. I often go for walks at night when I visit the island, or climb the Old Light, to just gaze at the stars.

I believe that f you do not become completely absorbed and in awe when looking into the blackness and vastness of space, then are not truly looking. At this moment we stare deep into one of life's most incomprehensible mysteries and we have completely relinquished all sense of ego and self. The sense of awe is not derived from the fact that there are so many stars, or that we are small in relation to the universe, but from the depth that contains both of these facts.

When you become aware of space, you become aware of yourself and your own inner consciousness, as your consciousness opens up to expand that which is both within and without - our own sense of God. When the senses cannot perceive of anything, and the eye has nothing to see except the blackness, then that nothingness is perceived as space and a space opens up inside of ourselves that enables our spirit to shine forth. we connect with our sense of knowing and wisdom and realise that anything is possible, as the things that we see around us are no longer obscured or defined by form and we let go of all attachments.

When we observe beauty in nature, a flower unfolding, the sound of the sea, a beautiful sunset or sunrise, we touch a sense of recognition deep inside. We know that the stillness that we see in nature is a reflection of the stillness that lies at the core of our own being.

To coin a phrase from the best science fiction (or perhaps science fact) television programme in the whole universe, Babylon Five:

"I will tell you a great secret, Captain. Perhaps the greatest of all time. The molecules of your body are the same molecules that make up this station and the nebula outside, that burn inside the stars themselves. We are star stuff, we are the universe made manifest, trying to figure itself out. As we have both learned, sometimes the universe requires a change of perspective." -
Delenn to Sheridan in Babylon 5: A Distant Star"


  1. I am so greatful to Eckhart Tolle and Oprah for turning me onto Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor and her beautiful book ""My Stroke of Insight"". Her story is amazing and her gift to all of us is a book purchase away I'm happy to say.

    Dr Taylor was a Harvard brain scientist when she had a stroke at age 37. What was amazing was that her left brain was shut down by the stroke - where language and thinking occur - but her right brain was fully functioning. She experienced bliss and nirvana and the way she writes about it (or talks about it in her now famous TED talk) is incredible.

    What I took away from Dr. Taylor's book above all, and why I recommend it so highly, is that you don't have to have a stroke or take drugs to find the deep inner peace that she talks about. Her book explains how. ""I want what she's having"", and thanks to this wonderful book, I can! Thank you Dr. Taylor, and thank you Eckhart and Oprah.

  2. And thank you, whoever you are, for sharing that story with us. We are gifted indeed to share this journey called life.