Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Watching Over Us?

"Abiding Presence"
-At the Desert Retreat House-

I had lunch with some friends yesterday, and as I was leaving the restaurant, crossing the street, a motorcycle came speeding by and missed hitting me by about an inch or so. The motorcycle was moving so fast and it was so close that I almost fell over at the rush of air that passed by me - the driver never even looked back to see if I was ok.  If I had left the restaurant and crossed onto that street one second earlier, I would either be in a hospital or a morgue today.

When I told someone about what happened to me yesterday, he immediately said "Well, I guess God must like you - He must have been watching over you." I thought to myself,  "I don't think so." In fact I don't believe that "God" had anything at all to do with what happened in that close encounter with a speeding motorcycle.

I suppose there are lots of people who think of God as a person sitting up in some sort of heavenly control room where He watches over all the "goings-on" in the world, taking special care of the people He particularly favors.

But if this is true, then I guess those 298 people who were killed last week when a missile blew their plane out of the sky must not have been on God's "A" list. Or how about those other people who may have been hit by a motorcycle someplace else in the world yesterday and were killed or maimed. Did God not "like" them? Was God not watching over them?

I just do not believe that "God" is some sort of Almighty Person in the heavens who watches over anyone or controls any of the events of everyday life - favoring some people while ignoring or punishing others. As I see it, life just happens and for the most part not one of us has any control at all over any of it.

I just happened to linger a few seconds more in that restaurant at lunch yesterday so I didn't get hit by the motorcycle. Some people got on a Malaysian Airliner and others didn't and the plane was shot down. None of these events occurred in accordance with some grand divine master plan for the world or because a divine power was making it all happen, watching over some people and ignoring others - these things just happened.

And yet, having said all this, I don't at all believe that life is just random chaos, a meaningless series of hapless coincidences.  I see "meaning" in everything that happens because I believe that "God" is an energy of universal love, abiding in and flowing through everything and everyone that "is."

As I see it, "God" wasn't watching over me and protecting me yesterday,  "God" was in the midst of all the stuff that happened-- abiding with me and also with that motorcyclist who never looked back.  "God," an abiding Holy Presence with me in my survival, and also a Presence who would  have been with me had I been hit and with me had I been killed.

"God" - a Holy Presence who abided with all those souls on that plane as they fell to their deaths in the skies over Ukraine,  and "God" abiding with those fighters who shot the plane down.  

"God" is love and love abides even if you don't want it.  No matter what, God abides.  And so whatever "happens" has meaning.

Author and spiritual director Eckhart Tolle puts it this way:

Love is not selective, just as the light of the sun is not selective.
It does not make one person special. It is not exclusive.
Exclusivity is not the love of God but the "love" of ego. 

And so another day has dawned for me in my life.  Without a hint of worry over what happened to me the day before or fear of what might come to pass this day, I embrace the moment.

"God" abides! 

1 comment:

  1. I don't think God does those things either Paul. Those who know God trust in him no matter what happens regardless of what it is. Their life is in God it is not in themselves.

    I think that is the knowledge that let Jesus sleep in the boat during the storm and the lack of that knowledge why the disciples were scared to death. It is interesting that what Jesus said to them was: how is it you don't believe, or how is it you don't have faith? Words to that effect.

    Jesus knew the reality that he was one in God and that his disciples did not know it. That's how I understand those things.