On a fall afternoon — I was five or six – I walked along one of the tree covered lanes on our farm. On the left along the dirt path large, curled, dried, brown leaves of the May apples, on the right, the moss covered bed of a trickling stream. The fresh smell of the earth. The crispness of the air. The cool touch of a snow flake burst into awareness as it fell on my cheek, and in the distant charcoal-grey sky, billowing black clouds of an approaching storm. I stood motionless in the silence.
Snow flakes fell around my feet. A few melted as they hit the ground. Others remained intact. Then I heard the silence get louder and louder and then the falling of the snow — the softest hissing sound.
I stood transfixed, listening…then knew what could never be expressed: that the natural is supernatural, and that I am the eye that hears and the ear that sees. And what is outside happens within me, that inside and outside are unseparated.
This was not a belief. I experienced that there was an eternal law or principle at work underlying what appeared as a perpetually changing world in motion. A unity, a oneness, a moral order, the nature of life forces, the right, the idea of the world, the method, the way, a holographic intelligence that informed all that is.
All of these words stand for abstract ideas or metaphors. It is like water that gives life to everything and yet it does not strive to do so. It cannot be seen or heard. It is intangible and yet it is the intelligence behind that informs everything. It flows everywhere and is inexhaustible and at the same time brings everything into fulfillment. This was my childhood. Experience after experience of directly knowing the transcendent, that which is inexpressible through words, a quality of revelation that set the stage for my life. After a time, I realized that others saw the world through the blinders and filters of the rational mind and what I saw and heard and experienced they did not as yet perceive, because “we see things as we are.”
The unifying principle I experienced underlies the major eastern religions, although each may call it by a different name. Each holds that all phenomena from particles of light to galaxies are aspects of the one. A little later in life, I noticed that the orthodox Judeo-Christian traditions had a different view of reality and emphasized opposing dualities, God above, sinful human below, soul in opposition to world, spirit struggling to overcome flesh, man in opposition to woman.
Modern atomic physics leads us to a view of reality that is very similar to the mystic’s intuitive vision or reality. The picture of an interconnected cosmic web in which the human observer is always a participator, emerges from quantum physics. At the atomic particle level, the world view becomes very mystical; time and space become a continuum, matter and energy interchange, observer and observed interact. The physicist now knows through mathematics what the mystic has know through mediation. They both share two basic themes: the unity and interrelationship of all phenomena and the intrinsically dynamic nature of the universe.
The way for the experience can be prepared, my father knew this. When he moved his family to a remote part of upstate New York, it was this awareness, this insight, that nature would convey the message to his children with more infinite articulation than any words he could ever proffer.
His action helped set the stage for an intellectual awareness and acceptance of this spiritual awakening. Each week, and in each process, I set a stage to share this awareness of true silence with you. If there is a receptivity and openness, an intuitively felt experience can follow.