Discovering the Love Within

Humans are seekers. Our curiosity has driven us out of the caves and into the stars. That curiosity, coupled with our keen powers of observation, helped a nomadic woman invent farming. Realizing some of the wheat seeds she dropped on the ground were sprouting into new plants, she watered and nurtured them until she had the world’s first intentional crop. Eventually, her tribe stopped wandering from food source to food source and settled down, paving the way for modern civilization. From there it was a few short steps to masonry and metalworking, to pyramids and empires. Once we began planting roots, there was time for art, music, literature and philosophy. There was time to simply ponder the great mysteries of being that we still wrestle with today: Why are we here? Is there any meaning to life? Is there anything in control of our world? How is the universe constructed? What happens when we die? Where did we come from? Where are we going? Are we finite or infinite beings?

I believe we have always sensed there is more going on in the universe (and in ourselves) than we can see, hear, taste, touch or smell. There is extrasensory stuff going on, and this has been proven by the discovery of things like quarks, muons, and antimatter. We can’t really “see” or touch these things (at least, not without special equipment), but we know they are there, and they are the building blocks of everything material—including you and me. Scientists are constantly learning new things about the invisible universe that underlies the visible universe. The unquantifiable is intrinsically part of the quantifiable.

Our spiritual quest has followed a similar trajectory. The problem with a spiritual journey though, especially for postmoderns and the oft-talked-about millennials, is that there is no scientific method to spirituality. You can’t perform experiments and have them repeated to prove their truth. Or can you?

Think about it for a minute: Every great spiritual text ever written has some common ground. Every great spiritual mystic describes their transcendental experience using similar language. Augustine and John Spong may disagree about interpretive details, Buddha and Lao Tze may disagree about nomenclature, Jesus and Moses may disagree about the politics and method of revolution. But underlying every spiritual philosophy is the idea that somehow, humans have the ability to transcend—to transfigure, if you will.

Every religion began as a small spiritual movement. Buddha attracted disciples by helping them learn to reach nirvana—an extremely heightened state of consciousness. Jesus attracted followers by teaching them that God is not an external being meting out rewards and punishments, but rather the very essence of who they are. Jesus teaches that concentrating on a personal relationship with God leads us to a higher state of consciousness. Mohammed teaches that focusing on God through intensive practices such as intentional prayer and meditation leads us to… higher consciousness. The ancient Japanese Shintoist tradition is about existing on a higher level of consciousness that recognizes and respects the divine nature of everything.

We can observe the love that blossoms from God when the seed of spirituality is planted within and allowed to grow—just like that first grain of wheat tens of thousands of years ago. We are the result of a spiritual evolution that is constantly changing us into more loving, more spiritually aware beings. Like the germ of an idea or the seedling of a plant, our spiritual health also needs to be watered and fed by constant study, questioning, and attention to the divine love that permeates the universe.

Meditation: Nourish my soul, challenge my mind, and enlighten my spirit, my God, my Divine Universal Energy, my Love that is and transcends all love. Amen.

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