Sunday, October 14, 2007

On being one

Quakers often speak of the “Inner Light” and “that of God in each of us.”

In the last couple of days I’ve been led, in a Quakerly manner, to think more about divinity and spirituality and where they reside.

In an all-encompassing universe (a UNI-VERSE) that defies human notions of “place” and separateness, I believe we are blinded when we posit our spirituality here or there or anywhere.

Some belief systems place the spirit within us (in the heart or the solar plexus or in the center of the forehead). Some project a part of the spirit into an exterior place (a sanctuary, a shrine, a house of worship, to a Rome, Mecca, or Jerusalem) or into a person (Jesus, Mohamed, Buddha etc.)

But the spirit isn’t “place-able,” because it is in every person, every place, every thing — all at once, everywhere.

It is everything.

Even as we Quakers speak narrowly of the “Inner Light,” we practice silent worship that moves us “out” as well, to include a vast oneness.

Dispensing with words in the silence is a huge step because words separate through definitions. A “tree” is not a “rock.” “You” are not “me.” A “Jew” is not a “Muslim” — who is not a “Christian,” who is not a “Buddhist,” who is not an “atheist,” and, yes, who is not a “Quaker.”

Moreover Quakers (or “Quakers,” if you will) worship as a community, a form that acknowledges a spiritual oneness, however narrowly defined it may be by our “Quaker” beliefs. As a community, we can say we are parts of a whole that is speaking to itself through each of us, but by seeing ourselves as parts, we become separate, even in our coming together.

As Quakers, indeed as human beings, we find it difficult to express what it means to be “of everything.” We are not “part of” everything. We do not “join” with everything.

Rather, we ARE it.

If only we could say and affirm that—as one.

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