Simply the moments where you are so struck by the awe of what you witness, feel, know that you are silenced into nothingness and everything joins you in that reverence. That is consciousness, that is God, Goddess, Divine.
As a child, I knew not what religion was.
My grandmother’s crucifix, that was my size, made me incredibly sad and my earliest memories were of wanting that bleeding man to not be so alone.
My solution? Undress all my Barbies, wrap them in toilet paper loin cloths to be fashionably on par and hang them up all over the wooden cross so this guy wouldn’t feel so lonely or awkward. I seriously wish I had a photo of that and my family’s face when they found my Buddy up Jesus project. Priceless!
As a pre-teen, I wanted so badly to be confirmed, for a ritual to take place that marked me as a valid something. I dreamed of having a bat mitzvah or quinceañera, a rain dance rite of passage and to get to wear a hooded cape in the mists of Avalon. I just had a Thanksgiving plate of mythology and tradition that I wanted to eat up and digest.
I was taught to find my own way by my parents and when I started asking tougher questions beyond my Barbie years… my father gave me Siddhartha and my English teacher recommended the The Way of The Tao to read.
The places in life that caused me to pause were little and easy. I don’t know if I really saw religion as anything else but good story telling and at that point I wouldn’t have been able to have a conversation about spirituality.
I did know , however, what caused me to feel like I had insight, the keys of the universe- they were the little moments I felt sublime. Perhaps what some would call grace.
The right song on the radio that “randomly” sang exactly what I needed to hear, dogs sticking their heads out of car windows, sunrises that found the details out of the darkness.
It took me 20 years but I no longer shudder at the words God, Lord, Holy, Spirit like I once did. I resisted these words as I didn’t understand them and saw they often made people shift their weight or stand weirdly erect. What helped was no longer having God be synonymous with religion, dogma and righteous separation.
I had the opportunity a few years ago when I lived in Sedona to reexamine what I experienced as sacred, spiritual, or God-ish. People who were visiting often asked me what the deal was with a vortex. Stay with me here…
These places all over town that were supposed to provide spiritual insight and be psychedelic in some fashion, vortexes or correctly, vortices (but no one ever called them that, it wasn’t Southwesty enough I suppose). It was in trying to explain it to someone who had no vocabulary regarding consciousness, yoga, metaphysics, etc. that I, too, was able to understand my own definition of the nameless.
“When you stand in witness of a view so potent with beauty, you can’t help but shut the hell up. There lies peace and in the face of it, you know what some call divinity.”
That’s how I saw it, spelled it out and it still holds water with me today.
Unity with beauty- be it with a conversation that blows your mind with possibility, a spring flower on it’s first opening, the vulnerability of a hand on the small of your back that makes your heart flutter, the breath the Earth horizon seems to breathe as the burst of red sunsets cast their warmth at sunset, tears on a kind face, the depth in a newborn’s eyes, a sky so clear that it kisses you and grants you wishes.
This is what I call God.
Being human allows you to forget how perfectly round this experience is and it’s the momentary returning to something greater and all together simpler that requires nothing, just to behold and be held. Behold, be held in, of and by beauty or just give a dog a belly rub. Dog/God. Meh, same thing, just spelled backwards. Coincidence, methinks not.