I have no experience of nor belief in the god of Abraham, a personal god, nor the gods of any other religion, East or West. And yet since childhood I have had profound mystical, transcendental experiences and insights that allow me to know that you and I are expressions of all and everything, that there is no separate “me,” or “you,” that “we,” as apparent separate selves, are not authoring our lives. Life is living “us.” “We” are expressions of the natural functioning of a dynamic reality.
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 and imperceivable. And yet we are IT.
When I was training as an EMT, I would go into 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. It is highly intelligent, much more intelligent and aware than our “me” mind.
If we had to run that show of keeping our body alive, we’d be dead in a second. This incredible intelligence and precision is keeping us alive right now, reading this through our eyes. It is clearly not a random nor mechanical process. It is us as us.
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. Panentheism, for me, is the direct awareness that dynamic creative awareness expresses as every aspect of reality and also rests prior to space, time, and existence. This is all inclusive awareness.
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 dynamic creative intelligence that is the source of all and everything, including you and me.
For me, this is an on-going vibrant direct awareness, not a belief, spiritual philosophy or concept.
But theses are just words. If the mind grasps at them, it will think about them and they become conceptual overlays instead of the direct recognition of This Dynamic Living Presence.
I abide in 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 play of Dynamic Consciousness revealing itself to “me.”
“I” don’t know what “I” am other than radiant awareness within which everything apparently appears and disappears.
“I” don’t know what is happening or why. This is the play of Consciousness.
“I” don’t have any need or desire to create conceptual over-lays that explain it to our minds. Just writing this is already a mistake. It will not be “grokked” by those who are not able to take an honest look for themselves.
“I” live this moment to moment revelation of life in wonder, delight and astonishment, completely helpless and in awe.
It is a terrifying yet loving way to live. I highly recommend it!
2 thoughts on “Am I an Atheist?”
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.
A welcomed explanation of what I have experienced since I was a teenager.