How Does One Know God?

399350FA-0A88-4CFC-8FC9-8460EEC58FB9To most Western Civilizations the image of God that comes to mind when one thinks of God is the painted image on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. He (God) is the clothed white haired man, supported by a host of angels, reaching out to touch man, who is naked, with the gift of life. Even as a child I always thought it was strange that God would be wearing clothes since shame/sin had not existed before the eating of the apple by Eve in the Story of Creation.

In Eastern Cultures, the image of God takes on many forms, most of which are more mythical than human although most process human features. There are over twenty forms of Kali, the Hindu goddess of dissolution and destruction who is known for destroying ignorance. Kali means The Black One, the color in which all other colors merge and dissolve. Just as black is the absence of all color, all names and gods disappear in Kali. She is the ultimate goddess. Perhaps the female counterpart of the Christian God.

My personal belief around knowing God is just that, “personal.” It is not derived from any religious teachings or prophets, although I have read and studied many, but from a single dream which left me in awe.

The Temple to God

I saw in a dream…

I am attending a meeting of the worlds religious leaders to dedicate a new temple to God. The temple is built in the middle of the desert with no other life within miles. It is made of granite columns extending hundreds of feet into the air where they meets a massive covering made of ornate glasses connected with beams of gold. The floor of the temple is busy with the debates of world religious leaders at one end and an open air market at the other. There are no walls but entrances appear between the arched Greek designed columns.

The market place is filled with the artifacts of all the world’s religions. There is the schrod of Jesus and the wooden bowl of Buddha. The original manuscript of the Koran. The scribe with which Confucius wrote his wisdom for mankind.

I am myself, dressed in today’s fashion but everyone else is dressed in the fashion of the time when their religion was established. One man dressed in the colorful robes of a desert leader is addressing a large contingency. He insists that God’s temple is within and no building no matter how large or beautiful houses God. He is encouraging all the participants to go outside to witness God in his true house but they are reluctant to leave the new monument.

A desert wind suddenly blows through the temple extinguishing all the candles and lights, so the crowd disperses outside to view the temple in the sunset. I go outside but instead of looking at the temple, I notice a small dust twister no more than two inches high carving something in the sand at my feet. The carvings were an ancient alphabet but the translation was this: “You must know God in a way which leaves the greatest impression upon you as an individual.” The twister now flattens out and blows away the message it just created and then itself disappears. I look up to see if anyone else had witnessed this event but everyone’s eyes were focused on the Temple to God.

In The Absence Of Time

FCF38573-2929-4C13-B491-12CD9E788FD0I know a place where time has
no points of reference to hold onto,
no hands sweeps across its well worn face,
no seconds eat away at  existence,
no flashing light marks the arrival or passing.
Here, in this infinite space, all dreams live forever.
Everything, is expressed in the moment called now.
Here, each embrace is the only one I desire.
Here, I come whole and leave so much wiser.

Friends In A Different Realm

399350FA-0A88-4CFC-8FC9-8460EEC58FB9I saw in a dream…

The dream takes place in Arne’s new home designed mostly of glass and stone built on a lakeside surrounded by beautiful majestic mountains. He is in his studio surrounded by paintings. Each one unique and perfect, leaning against the walls, or hanging by invisible strings from the ceiling. I comment on the absence of the tubes of oil paints and vases filled with brushes that filled his earthly studio.

“I don’t use brushes here,” he laughed.

His smile and laughter had not changed. He still had the hump in his back from so many years of leaning over an art table but he looked strong and happy.

“Then what do you paint with,” I asked. “Here we paint with imagination,” was his response.

Noticing the bewilder look on my face. He slowly walked over to an empty canvas, waved his hand gently over its surface and a beautiful painting of roses perfectly placed in an urn sitting in a Greek like courtyard appeared on the canvas. Just then a bat flew in through an open window, which was unusual because it was daytime, and flew directly into the painting. Instantly the bat became part of the scenery.

As we toured the studio, I saw a beautiful painting leaning against the wall. It was a painting of a solar eclipse with the moon almost fully covering the sun. The part of the sun still exposed shined on the group of mountains surrounding Arne’s studio making them glisten as if drenched by the midnight sun. They were partly hidden at the top by beautiful soft airy clouds and streams of golden water poured down their sides. The remainder of the mountain range was in darkness due to the eclipse.

“Who imagined this magnificent painting?” I asked.

“Kathleen,” he said.

“My Kathleen?” I said in astonishment.

“Yes,” Arne answered. “She’s one of my best students.”

Just then the bat who had become part of the painting moved it’s wings and flew out  of the canvas and over the lake. I woke up.

My heart was so excited to know that two of my favorite people have found each other in another realm and are sharing their lessons of life together. I was so proud of Kathleen for finding her creative spirit. She always felt she lacked imagination and creative talent and never gave herself any credit for her abilities. She is obviously doing well in her new playground. Arne is also.

It was such a beautiful dream that I wanted to share it with you. Perhaps next time, Kathleen will be there expanding her imagination and creating more beauty for this world and hers.

A Little Yellow Wagon

399350FA-0A88-4CFC-8FC9-8460EEC58FB9A dream visited me last night … I love to dream. My dreams provide another dimension to my life. They open the door that says “Do Not Enter.” They fill me with possibility and for a brief time take me away from this world I see in my waking hours. My dreams are often confusing and lack any real interpretation, but I have also had dreams of premonitions which later proved to be true. The world of my dreams is a world which is mine alone. No one else knows my dreams unless I choose to share them.

Last night in my dream I and two other dream mates were attempting to steal a yellow freight car from a train. Police and security guards were all over the freight yard but they did not see us. I do not know how but the freight car belonged to me and I was attempting to get it back. I have no idea what was in the car but only that it was a bright yellow and stood out from the other old and rusted cars.

My freight car was between other cars so we has to uncouple them. When the train started moving, my car remained still and we struggled to push it over onto a side track.

In the final, scene of the dream, I am walking down the street pulling a bright yellow wagon with the same markings as the freight car behind me, on my way home. Being pulled in the wagon sits Max, my dog of fourteen years, who died in 1986 and Fuzzie, my teddy bear of thirty-six years, whom I still have.

Gratitude II

399350FA-0A88-4CFC-8FC9-8460EEC58FB9It’s morning and I am sitting on my veranda having a cup of strong Ceylon tea and listening to the roar of the ocean as the tide comes in. My swim trunks are on and I am just waiting for me to finish those last swallows, so I can go for a morning dip in the warm seawater. The road in front of my home is quiet with no school buses today. It’s Sunday. My peaceful meditation is broken only by the occasional “thump” of a coconut falling to the ground. A pair of mongoose play in the yard. One caught a frog which they share. I have a thought to get my camera but I make no move in that direction.

I sit back, breathe deeply, and relax into my chair. Then I realizing this is the image of myself I envisioned when I saw a photograph of this home a bit less than three months ago. Now I am here, sitting on the veranda in exactly the same place.  I am actually living a dream. I feel as if I won life’s lottery. The tears roll down my face in total gratitude of this life. Even now I as I write this I am having trouble seeing my keys and suppressing the sniffles from my nose. My gratitude and appreciation is so deep. My being so filled with joy. I don’t know what I did in my life to deserve this reward, other than take a chance and “follow my bliss.”

My beautiful friends, Lara and Marcus, thought they were preparing this home to rent to travelers coming here to vacation in Fiji. They had no idea they were preparing it for me until we met. I committed to being here sight unseen in a country I knew nothing about all based upon the the flash of an image in a photograph. Now I know this place will be my home for a long time. I will be here until I receive another calling. Everything I have ever wanted, desired, and even longed for is right here. I came here thinking I would find anonymity but that quickly changed. Here people know me and they like me. Not me for me, but me because I am seen as a fellow human being. They welcome me into their cars, trucks, homes, and hearts.

“Com’on com’on,” a woman calls to me from the back of a pick up truck as I waited at the bus stop for a lift into town. I quickly climbed into the back of the truck and took a seat on the bench. “Bula,” my companions all shouted as I sat back against a makeshift frame of iron tie rod covered with a blue vinyl tarp and our feet resting on sacks of fresh taro root. I came here alone and now I am surrounded by family. I brought very little with me and now, I have everything I need.

How does one express gratitude? It is the only virtue I believe is not overrated. How does one give thanks to the world for infinite dreams when one comes true? Rumi says, “There are a thousand way to kneel and kiss the ground.”

I am down on my knees. For the depth of my gratitude, I will never get up. For the love of a life fulfilled my lips will never part from the ground.

An Interview With Myself Part II

399350FA-0A88-4CFC-8FC9-8460EEC58FB9Dreams pass into the reality of action. From the actions stems the dream again; and this interdependence produces the highest form of living. — Anaïs Nin

Me: Okay, begin…

I: You were the ethereal one, a shadow passing through a large corridor, floating without form into what appeared to be an underground chamber? You moved to a large vacuum tube contraption and floated atop the platform. From the corridor on the other side a white shadow enters the room and joins you on the platform. A glass cylinder slides down and encloses the two shadows.

Me: This is the part I like. It gives me goose bumps just remembering the experience.

I: Remember also at this point you and the white shadow are without form. You are floating gasses. One dark and one white. The two of you float separately, independent of each other in this vacuum tube. The tube is then flooded with energy of light and love, and a transformation of the two gasses begins. The scene is reminiscent of the laboratory scene in Frankenstein but there is no sense of fear or drama.

Me: I know. It was like a dream. But where do you come in?

I: A bit later. Let me continue. When the tube that enclosed the two gases was lifted, you were in the form of us but there was no us yet. You were still a gas, except now you had a form too. The white shadow was in the form of a woman and was also still a gas. The two of you separated and begin to float down two different tunnels.

Me: I know what I experienced during the transformation of the two gasses into human form, male and female, but you are body and we were not together yet. What did you experience in this dream?

I: I experienced the greatest feeling of love I had ever known. The energy, the interconnection of the two gasses, and the separation and reemergence into form. Every molecule of the two gasses was exploding with love. I experienced this same intensity each time we had the dream. I wait for it to happen. The transformation of energy into love.

Me: It is a relief to know we have the same dreams. I had the same experience with love during our creation dream. But, when do we unite?

I: That happens next but I don’t know exactly how. You are still ethereal but with form. You approach a wall with a spotlight reflecting off of it and in that spotlight is your shadow. This shadow, I believe is our body. The shadow in the form of your shadow, human male, me, begins to teach you how to move. It is a Simon Says experience as you imitate the movements of the shadow on the wall. You learn how to move your arms, legs, hands, feet and head.

Me: When and how do we become embodied?

I: I don’t know. In the next part of the dream, we are driving down River Road in Piscataway, New Jersey along the Raritan River. The New Brunswick campus of Rutgers University, where we went to college, is on the other bank? It is Autumn. The road is slick with rain and the colorful fallen leaves from the canopy of maple and oak trees. I steer the car into a driveway almost hidden by the overgrowth of greenery and we approach a rustic cabin. The smoke bellowing from the chimney gives me a warm feeling as I realize my clothes are damp from the rain. An elder couple greets us at the driveway’s end. They are both professors at the university. He in literature and she in philosophy. We go inside to the warmth of the fire place and some hot tea. We have all been savoring this moment of the unveiling.

He wants to show us an ancient tome he discovered while traveling. There is ancient script across the leather cover. The title’s translation is “Answers to Life’s Questions”. To be so old the book is well preserved. We open it to the first page but as soon as we do so the words on the page disappear. We turn the pages faster with the same result. Each time we attempt to focus on the words printed on the pages, they disappear. We close the book and try again with the same results each time the dream occurs.

Me: What do you believe is the significance of this dream?

To Be Continued…

An Interview With Myself Part I

399350FA-0A88-4CFC-8FC9-8460EEC58FB9Me: Let’s begin. I have been looking forward to this interview for a long time. We have been on the planet now for seventy years and so in the words of Mary Oliver – “Tell me what it is you plan to do with your one wild and precious life.”

I: I no longer make plans, except for airline reservations. This moment is truly all that matters.  I know we live in a world of memories and dreams which place us in the past or in the future, but time is an illusion. Anyhow, the plans we made for our life never seemed to work out the way we planned. Did they?

Me: Our plans may not have worked out but our life certainly has. Wouldn’t you say? I mean, look at us. We’re retired, living in Fiji, and our book is published.

I: Yes, our life has worked out as you put it but very little from anything we planned. It worked because we learned to flow with life more than to fight it.

Me: When do you think that happened for us?

I: I would say around the time we left the corporate world and started to simplify our life a bit.

Me: Boy that was a rough time. We gave up so much.

I: We gave up a lot of stuff, the role play we were in, and the social constraints to which we were enslaved.

Me: What do you mean by constraints? We were living it up big time in those days and eating high on the hog.

I: The constraints were defined by the life we were living. We were not free. We were in a maze of conformity, trying to fit in like everyone else. We even wore suits with white shirts and ties something we said in college we would never do.

Me: Yea, we were riding blind in those corporate days. We were loving and living the life everyone expected of us but we were a baby stumbling in the dark and trying to hide that fact from the world. We played “the role” well.

I: We were in fact trying to be normal, something at which we never succeeded.

Me: Thank you for that. I remember Maya Angelou’s words, “If you are always trying to be normal, you will never know how amazing you can be.”

I: That is true.

Me: Okay, let’s get back to the interview. I think you would agree that dreams have played an important role in our one precious life.

I: Yes, they have.

Me: What dream do you believe has had the most impact on our life and why?

I: That would be the Creation Dream. It was a dream perched on the boundary between the etherial and the physical realms. It is how we came together. We had it three times in our late forties. The exact same dream.

Me: I was hoping you would pick that one. I still have some uncertainty about its ethereal and physical meanings.

I: I think that is why we had the dream three times over a three year span of time. It was significant. It was suppose to be remembered.

Me: Okay, begin.                                                                           To Be Continued…