Is God a Cliché?

AngelsThe word “cliché” is from the French and literally means a printer’s plate—something that was used over and over to say the exact same thing until it dulled and had to be tossed out, no longer able to clearly communicate its original intention.  In this sense the word “God” is a cliché—a word that once glowed and pulsed, numinous with the sacred.  The word we commonly use now points to the sacred for some, but for many others it is muddied, unclear and problematic.  If there is some ultimate Truth and source of being, this nameless and transcendent non-thing can never be contained within any name, rather all names and things would derive from, and be contained within, this mysterious non-thing.

Now this is complicated enough, but how could we transmit our respect for the sacred to the mind of a young child?  Or is it that the young child transmits to us an experience of the sacred that is wordlessly closer to the “Truth” than anything us grown-ups, with our language and our analytic intellects, could come up with?

In a sense, children are close to the wisdom of animals, to the non-intellectual state of being in which animals exist.  The Garden of Eden story could be read as a metaphor of the moment in pre-history when humans evolved a sense of knowledge (i.e. of separate identity)—not a Divine eviction from paradise, but rather a human shift in consciousness that felt like an eviction from their old way of being, a break with that suddenly nostalgic time when we were at one with Nature.  Later on, Noah, jammed into a single vessel with all the animals, would seem to be not just a new beginning but also a repetition of the paradise of being one with the animals, now amidst a veil of cosmic tears.  We humans are currently evolving back to where we started, to the recognition that there is no object independent of an observer, no superior and inferior creatures—only interconnected relationships.

One of the exciting things about parenting, from a spiritual perspective, is that if we are blessed with children and the awareness of their splendor (or if we don’t have “children,” but are blessed with the ability to see the sacred in the world) this potentially teaches us how to love with all our hearts and souls—unconditionally.  When we do this we transcend wanting anything from those we love, at least for fleeting moments, and we touch the eternal—relating soul-to-soul in what Martin Buber calls, “the essential deed.”  When we are one with nature, when we love children in a heart-mind recognition that our relationships are our deepest essence, we are part of a single soul—and we are happy… and we intuitively know how to parent, our children and our world.  Imagine.

One week out from the solstice, consider returning to your intention (or see June 21st’s post and set one now); consider this invitation, free to decline or accept, to again dedicate your day, your week, your next breath to your consciously chosen intention, in the service of your child and all children.  Consistency will make all the difference.  We’re just getting started, but then again we are already done.  Taste today, see today, smell today, feel today; open the heart-mind to hear the music of the birds, and the humans, today.

Namaste, Bruce



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