Am I an Atheist?


I have no experience of, nor belief in, the god of Abraham, nor the gods of any other religion. And yet since childhood, I have had profound mystical, transcendental experiences and insights that allow me to know that I am part and parcel of all and everything, that there is no separate “me,” that “I” am not the author of my life. Life is living “me.” “I” am an expression of the natural functioning of the universe. And so are you.

I cannot help but perceive a creative intelligence manifesting as everything, and yet also know the source of this creative intelligence is something the conceptual mind would call “emptiness,” or “nothingness” because the conceptual mind cannot grasp the inconceivable.

When I was training as an EMT, I would go into samadhi or mystical states listening to the trainers explain how the human body worked, and why. There is some pretty magnificent precision and impeccable design going on moment to moment, keeping us alive and functioning.

If we had to run that show, we’d be dead in a second. There is an incredible intelligence keeping us alive and it is clearly not a random process.

A Christian minister, who was a very close friend and attended programs at our center whenever he could escape from his church, told me that I was a panentheist. I looked this up and this definition is about as close as it will come. “Panentheist,” not “pantheist.” They are two different words with different meanings. Some say I am a non-dual Tantrik yogi, which means I have an all inclusive view. Everything appears and disappears within Consciousness, as Consciousness.

There is Pure Awareness, the Formless Absolute, free of all qualities and attributes. To the conceptual mind, it is vast emptiness. It is nothing, it is no thing. We experience this “ nothingness” every night in deep sleep. Even though all experience, including our experience of self, disappears during deep sleep, we can’t really say we have stopped existing. This vast emptiness has infinite potential and when some of that potential manifests, it does so as the creative intelligence that is the source of all and everything, including you and me.

But theses are just terms, just words. If the mind grasps at them, it will think about them and then they become conceptual overlays instead of pointers to This Here Now.

Perhaps I am an agnostic! I abide in this life, in this moment, without knowing. Every moment is fresh and new. “I” have no idea what is going to happen next. There is only the mystery revealing itself to “me.”

“I” don’t know who “I” am. “I” don’t know what is happening or why. “I” don’t have any need or desire to create conceptual over-lays that explain it all to my mind. “I” am willing to live this moment to moment revelation of life, completely helpless and in awe. It is a terrifying, loving way to live. I highly recommend it!

“The first gulp from the glass of natural sciences will turn you into an atheist, but at the bottom of the glass God is waiting for you” ~ Werner Heisenberg – theoretical physicist and one of the key pioneers of quantum mechanics.

2 thoughts on “Am I an Atheist?

  1. This mirrors my experience and understanding so closely. The only difference is that I spent 30 years in Christianity prior to discovering the mystics in every tradition. That was like coming home as I had mystical experiences since childhood. Anyway, Tom, thanks for sharing this.

    Richard Young


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