This morning I come across yet another online rant about God. About what kind of cosmic asshole allows crib death and fentanyl. I get it.
I’m passing through a covid rebound, a revisit just a few days after departure. It was never much, like a mild cold; the rebound, however, is “foggy.” Brain fog, that’s what we call it, but that’s not accurate—it’s a lack of continuity of presence. Like a too big hit of too strong pot, it's got me forgetting what I'm doing while I'm doing it. Stoned, I mostly laugh at the forgetting, or if it’s big and scary, breathe into it and find the yumminess in my body; I know it will pass. With covid, there’s a niggling fear that it won’t.
My 97 year-old father is rebounding with me. It was never much for him either, just a bit more congestion than usual, but this reprise for him is delirium. He’s lost in the house, frantically looking for his glasses while I keep reminding him they’re on his face, holding his hearing aids in his hands and asking me what they are. Obsession, confusion, carrying dreams into waking, these happen when circumstances are unusual for him, bodily or in terms of place; I hope they pass and they do, but a little bit of clarity and his capacity to communicate seems to be lost each time. Who we are essentially remains relatively the same from incarnate birth to death, transforming on a longer, qualitatively different timeline than we can see from here; and it is my father’s essence that I love and loves me in return. Nonetheless, departing this life bit by bit can feel unbearably cruel.
Indeed, if there was a God as many define it, he would be a cosmic asshole—but there’s not. There’s just an unanswerable question, an unfathomable source—and I, like you, am made of it: there’s nothing else to be made of. Nature gets its raw material from itself, there’s nothing outside of it from which to draw. I call this mystery, this immanent, undefinable verb, “G-d,” and while I am not all of it, it is all of me: I am a shifting collection of vibrations and densities, bound in this incarnation as Jeff, made ultimately of the same stuff/non-stuff, the same question, as everything else. There’s no Stern Dude in the Sky involved, no overlord playing naughty and nice. We are made in G-d’s image, but my oh my how we love to make G-d in ours: to claim some greater righteousness justifies our murderousness and greed, and that some greater punishing or rewarding lies behind our sufferings and successes. It’s pathetic, puny, and desperate nonsense, and may mark the end of us all together.
As unfathomable and undefinable as G-d is, there are a couple of things I can say about it, by virtue of knowing myself, to the degree that I do, as an expression of it. Its action, its ongoing result, is life unfolding always. Even death leads to life. And suffering leads to learning and growth, though the arc can be long, longer than a lifetime.
Neither of those truths are particularly comforting. But in this miraculous unfolding in which I have my being, something of a unique order is given, something utterly transformative: I can choose to love. This choosing is not in the usual sense, like going for slaw instead of fries—it’s surrendering to an innate capacity within. Breathing into fear, letting bodily tensions go, I see it is my nature to love. It plays out in many ways—as gratitude for what I’m given, in giving freely to others, in helping, in kindness, in compassion, in listening. Love is the finer material, the higher vibration, within us that we share; allowing it, I experience the interconnectedness of all life. It’s a game changer. Knowing love, the mystery verb I call G-d deepens in character: love is not only a part of it, the entirety of life unfolding takes place within that love. That shifting collection of vibrations and densities bound in this incarnation as Jeff? It is love that does the binding, and further binds me to others, others within a species bound by love to all life: a oneness within a oneness within a oneness that is ultimately, simply, One.
I can make the effort to share this, to be it as I grow, in the face of suffering and otherwise; to be a conduit for it, in my own way; and fail sometimes, and learn, and try again. I can think of nothing better to do, no better way to live.
So this is my rant about G-d. It’s not some boss man you bargain with, not some moody bastard who parses out favors depending on whether or not he thinks you merit them. G-d is the unfathomable force behind the flow of life, and the flow itself and everything in it: nothing and no one is left out, ever. I and we are living love, loved exactly as we are, and free to love freely, right now and always. Allowing love opens my eyes to the most freeing, healing truth I know: we are one together, and we’ve never left home.