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 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 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.
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.