It was a sudden fleeting idea which briefly joined my rather disjointed train of thought and sent a little frisson running through my body. I resisted the impulse to follow it and placed it in my mental filing cabinet. I’d think about it later after the meditation session, which the new Pastor at our Unity Church had introduced during his weekly sermon. For now, I’d meditate.
So I firmly tuned my attention back to the gentle inhalations and exhalations of my breath, filling my lungs with air and then releasing it with an audible sigh. Somehow the air seemed to be filled with energy and a sort of “God-ness”.
And somehow these simple sessions with Reverend Jack each Sunday morning brought me face to face with something I had pushed into the background. And that was the fact that one could openly admit that the purpose of meditation was to connect with the Divine portion of oneself, which was God. For me it was like “coming out.” Because I’d been talking to God for years and had come to accept it as a secret part of my life which if confessed to, would probably jeopardize any remaining claims I had to sanity.
This idea being shared openly in a Church was almost too incredible for me to believe. And I reveled in it. Firstly that the parishioners were being taught to pray as a direct communication which expected and was open to some Divine response. And then that we were actually part of God. Little fragments of that Divine consciousness,. That idea was so diametrically opposed to the Church teachings I had encountered as a child that even decades later, it seemed revolutionary.
There we were, small fragments of God, meditating and communicating with God. And then the Reverend gently guided us out of the meditation and into a gradual awareness of our surroundings and each other. Culminating with a short melodic chant … ” We are One”. I loved it.
But there was that fleeting idea. In the midst of the meditation there had been that idea. And I knew somehow that it had not been generated by the meditation, it had been growing and germinating for years. Only now, in the relaxed and open state of the meditation, it had dared to surface. If we are all fragments of God … then …
What if we are actually the sense organs of God? What if God experiences his creation through us?
The first time the idea briefly occurred to me was about twenty years ago when I found myself with a stop-over in Amsterdam while awaiting my connecting flight to Montreal. I picked up a tourist folder at Schiphol airport and thumbed through it, selecting my three most obvious choices … the Van Gogh Museum, the Keukenhof Tulip Gardens and the Rijksmuseum. But a fourth option was offered by the concierge when I arrived at my little hotel. “You must not mizz zee Madurodam …” she insisted.
And so the next day, I set off to visit this remarkable theme park, a 1:25 scale replica of all the major buildings and attractions in the Netherlands. I realize now that had it not been a miracle of craftsmanship and breathtaking detail, I wouldn’t have experienced the pivotal moment which fastened itself into my subconscious, waiting for the right moment to reappear and align itself as an astonishing conjecture.
Because as I leaned over the edge of the raised walkway built over the display and peered down at a maze of tiny streets beneath me, I found myself looking at a tiny world. A small train suddenly emerged from behind a cluster of buildings, careening alarmingly on its miniature tracks as it seemed to narrowly miss the curve. I suddenly became aware of a faint smell of baking bread and my nostrils flared a bit as I leaned further over the ledge to locate the source of that delicious aroma. Which was a perfect replica of a Dutch bakery shop, built tantalizingly close to where I stood. Its tiny doors stood ajar seeming to welcome me in.
I paused for a moment, enjoying the marvel of engineering and imagination arrayed around me. It was so impossibly small and impossibly perfect.
And suddenly I felt an almost overpowering urge to leap over the edge of the walkway and drop onto the sidewalk in front of the bakery. Then I’d breath in the smell of the bread and walk through the miniature doors to buy myself a fresh baguette. I’d tuck it under my arm and then stroll outside to explore the whole town. Oh I wanted to be right there, down there far below in the network of streets experiencing being in Madurodam. Right inside that little world.
And then I realized for a few seconds that this is what God must feel when He surveys his creation. Surely God must feel exactly the same way. Wanting to descend into the world, savor it and celebrate His own creation. He must. The thought lingered for a few tantalizing moments.
But after a little while, I moved on to view the rest of the display before reluctantly pushing my way through the swinging gates at the exit and out into the real world of the Hague and the train which would carry me back to Amsterdam.
Over the years that moment occasionally surfaced. But more as a philosophical meandering than anything else. A bright comment to inject into some tale of my travels around the world. A bit of clever introspection.
It was several years later before another incident made me pause and fleetingly wonder if perhaps another part of a puzzle had been offered to me. My dearly loved mother-in-law Beejee had passed away several months previously in Bombay. I was back in Canada for my annual three-month “monsoon” break, when I left the torrential rainy season for the few warm summer weeks in Montreal. My yearly agenda included drinking quantities of safe tap water, consuming bushels of fresh fruit which didn’t have to be peeled or soaked in Potassium Permanganate and indulging in as many of the wonderful French pâtisseries as I could manage. The goal was to gain weight and fortify myself for my return to Bombay in September.
So quite often I strolled down to the Marche de L’Ouest, an exceptionally well-stocked farmer’s market about a mile from my home. I normally chose to walk through a field of grass under the huge power lines which stretched the length of suburban West Montreal. It was a lovely walk, with ankle length grass under my feet and a beautiful row of wild bushes and trees separating the Hydro property from the houses on the other side. I loved it.
One particularly lovely day, I was overcome by the beauty around me. The smell of the sweet grass, the sound of the wind rustling the leaves and the beautiful warmth of the sun on my face. I suddenly thought of Beejee and felt a sharp stab of pain around the region of my heart. Beejee was gone and could never again enjoy the fragrance of sweet grass … or hear the wind moving though her beloved wheat and rice farms. She could never again feel the unique warmth of sun on her face … a warmth that somehow encompassed light and energy and maybe even God. I felt tears on my cheeks as I walked.
And then … softly and almost imperceptibly … I felt or sensed a movement inside myself. A ripple of gentle energy which coalesced into a sort of “voice”. Impossible to define within the limitations of words. I slowly realized Beejee was somehow sharing my mind … or thoughts.
And I felt her say … “ But my Beti … I DO feel the sun on your face and I smell the grass under your feet. Right now, I am feeling everything THROUGH you. …”
I stopped in the middle of the field. The tears now streaming down my face as I embraced my dear Beejee … my heart so full of love and beauty and sunlight. She had spoken to me, That was clear. And she was living through me.
Did I for a moment speculate that perhaps God lived through me as well? I don’t think so. At that point I believed that there was some separation. I could quite easily slip into an ecstatic union with a tree or a fragment of Mozart I could create a silent space into which I believed God or “Something Very Large Out There” communicated with me. But as personally being a conduit to God’s own experience simply hadn’t yet occurred to me.
Until years later when the Unity Choir in Honolulu sang my hymn. I had recently closed my business and found myself with time and a measure of security I hadn’t enjoyed for years. Now I could go back to my music … the music I had given up when I left the West to live in India for twenty years. Even with a Juilliard degree and a string of other credentials, somehow music had retreated into the background, buried under another culture and eventually lost in the struggle to survive when I returned to the West. But now … ah … now I could go back to it. The guilt for wasting the nurturing attention of so many fine teachers and the scholarships awarded to me in good faith that I would use my training became stronger by the day. Until I began creating my teaching blogs and then slowly opening my mind to another dream.
Which was composing music for budding pianists. Now I labored over creating clean scores and putting them into easily accessible computer files. I polished up my piano keys and bought a reasonably good recording device. And then posted my modest compositions on YouTube and my two blogs. And the results awed me. Over many months the views began to increase and finally that magical moment when that “exponential” wave took hold and the clicks and downloads soared.
Thousands of people around the world were enjoying my sites and hopefully, some of them downloading the scores and actually playing the music. Every day I ran my eyes down an ever-increasing list of the visitors’ countries and sometime I even had to Google one to identify and locate it. It was intoxicating.
But although my website links were working wonderfully well, the much deeper spiritual link was still lurking and awaiting my discovery.
Which happened one evening in a small classroom at the Unity Church, where the choir regularly gathered for their weekly rehearsal. I had gradually begun attending more of the rehearsals, initially helping pick out the individual parts on the piano for the four voice groups and helping with a lovely hymn written in the Classical style by one of the parishioners. What had begun as a favor, subtly morphed into a genuine appreciation of the group of twenty enthusiastic choristers and their wonderfully enthusiastic leader, who was a professional singer. It was a delightful group of people who gradually drew me out of my “hermitage”… which was how I referred to my rather reclusive life-style … and into their choir.
But shortly after the Christmas season was over, the choir was given a hiatus for a month. One day as I was preparing a short piano piece for a recording session, my fingers ran over the piano keys and I hovered over a familiar cadence I had heard as a child. I played the five chords several times in different keys and veered off into another series which suggested a formal Church-style hymn. I could almost hear the organ and voices. I grabbed a piece of paper and wrote a simple set of lyrics. And my first choral work began gestating. At the end of the month, I had printed out the score, transcribed the four voices into a digital program and was ready to present it to the choir.
But I was a little nervous. Apart from playing my hymn on the piano, the only time I’d heard a vocal approximation was on a rather mechanical digital program where it had fallen a bit below my hopes. Moreover the lyrics were decidedly slanted by my enthusiasm for physics and energy fields although I’d judiciously edited out references to quarks and neutrinos. There was a remarkable dearth of traditional flowery phrases.
But when someone called out, ” Oh I love the words …” I began to relax a bit. I played it through once on the keyboard and then slowly began to pick out the individual voice lines.
And then … we put it TOGETHER.
Suddenly the voices surged around me, simultaneously blending and contrasting. The harmony was pure and rich. I sat there in front of the keyboard as I struggled with a rising surge of tears. It was beautiful. It was alive. It was my music.
And then the pieces came together, perfectly sliding into place like fragments of an elaborate jigsaw puzzle. It was there. This was how God must feel when he looks at his creation. Not viewing it from a detached distance in the vast Cosmos, but leaning in to watch it humming with life and energy. Experiencing it and feeling it.
Perhaps we are the Sense Organs of God?