Do you believe in God? If so, describe what you mean by that?
Godness is the 'I am That I Am' within each of us. It is the nothing and the everything. It is the smallest particle to the greatest whole. It is the isness, the nowness, the awareness, the timeless indivisible, unborn, undying source of this infinite, unknowable mystery. It is the creation, preservation and destruction of every part and particle playing out the grand theater, the eternal kaleidoscoping holograph of space-time. That spark of divinity, of the Self within all selves, is the witness acting out every drama imaginable.
Each and every life form is the immortal totality splintered into mortal faire. The source of life, of creation, is more than any measurement can ever explain or define. All attempts to grasp it, all the traditions, symbols, rituals and concepts, all the speculations ever devised in this garden world, or any other, are equally limited as anything but intuitive reflections. They are all merely a means to an end, not an end in themselves.
Time is a fabrication of consciousness. It is the virtual reality of the mind, the cotton candy of imagination. The ephemeral, momentary nowness is the only reality. Every life form, no matter who, what, where, when, why or how, is very much of the same evolving creation, the same source, the same light, the same dreamer, the same witness, the same amness, the same uniqueness, the same absolute oneness. No matter how you slice and label it, we are all holographs of the same essence.
If you were raised in a religious environment, has that had a positive or negative impact on your life?
Organized religions across the world clutch vainly to beliefs founded upon geographic assumptions whose foundations have all become brittle and stale in this shrinking world. Groups throughout time have again and again claimed to be the standard-bearers of truth, but have all too often created far more conflict than community in their egocentricity. The net result is that the many propagandas of history are weighing us down with clashing notions. Notions that no longer hold water when examined closely.
The fact is that we are all the truth, the light and the way, and those blind to this most simple, obvious understanding, those attached to literal translations and dogmatic collusions, cannot help but perpetuate unnecessary confusion and disintegration.
Religious traditions, with all their customs, folklore, symbols, rituals and concepts are products of time and its inevitable limitations. Their value is that they remind us of our relationship with the mystery of our existence. But to vainly cling to any as more than temporal tools, to battle over them in any way, to use them as anything but maps home, presents a narrow vision of the eternal quest. The word is only sound, and no sound can more than echo though the expanses of eternity.
Organizing the spiritual quest tends to box godness into a concept. And in the journey beyond concepts, into that which is immeasurable, there are no boundaries, no assumptions which withstand that which creates, preserves and destroys all illusions. The maker of time is bound to no form, and inevitably harvests all.
Do you believe in heaven, hell and judgment day?
Heaven and hell are states of mind, plays of consciousness, which only seem real where the now of time meets the road. Heaven is a sense of intuitive unity, an understanding, a clear harmony, a serene contentment. Hell is its divisive counterpart filled with unending prejudice, complexity and contention. It is the passionate mind playing out the dualistic weavings of desire and fear, and the suffering they endlessly bring to fruition. Every day is judgment day for those confined by the illusory, dualistic play of the senses. In separation we are demons, in unity we are angels. Who has not tasted every potential to some degree?
Can prayer heal the sick?
If you really have faith, do you need to pray? Sickness, injury, aging and dying are inevitable in this mortal theater. Oblivion of personal identity is the undeniable fate of all forms. Yet that essence each of us truly is, is immortal, and this very simple realization creates a far different view of life than most seem destined to entertain at any given time. What each of us really is, is far greater than birth and death and the limitations of any manifest theater. And praying to imagination for mortal immortality is rooted deeply in the quicksand of ignorance.
Are your religious/spiritual beliefs separate from your political ones?
Every action ripples. Every cause creates effect, and every effect becomes cause to the next effect. Those aware of this tend to walk more attentively in their day-to-day actions. Separative choices lead to disintegration; holistic ones to integration. Through interactions with others we show what we value. Are religion and politics separate? All division is the play of the time-bound mind. As long as we as a species value power, fame and fortune more than we value right relationship, as long as we are in the grips of worldly attachment, as long as we worship mammon and idolize form, we journey toward an inevitable, synergistic fate of our own creation. The paradigm from which we spawned is no longer functional, and the bell is daily tolling louder.
Describe a spiritual experience you have had recently.
Is there any moment which is not spiritual, magical, mysterious? Whether sitting on the porcelain throne, or caught up in an inexplicable vision, every moment's unfolding is ultimately very much the same. We may or may not be tuned in, we may prefer some moments to others, but in reality the ungraspable is source to all creations of consciousness, wherever or however they unfold. Pay attention to the vastness within, or meander through every sensory, dualistic diversion the world offers, it is all the same ephemeral virtual reality. Life is an opportunity to reflect upon the oneness within and without, and to take it as any more than a three-dimensional, quickly passing mirage misses its greatest potential.
What is the soul?
What is not the That I Am? What is not the ground of all creation, preservation and destruction? What is not the indivisible, immortal, absolute reality that permeates all seen and unseen? What is not the same divine mystery residing in everything from the smallest particle of an atom to the farthest galaxies of creation? Godness, as seen through consciousness, is as expansive or limited as any given personal vision, yet cannot be confined by any.
Ultimately, there is no other. The ocean of godness is all, including the drop of awareness reading this. The proof of it is that no one, no creature ever birthed upon this spinning garden has ever, will ever, or can ever discern more than a reflection of its own face. All forms are splinters of the same witness, the same oneness, the same faceless unknown. All attributes, all measurements are born of the illusion of space-time, and to be bound by any reverie is the delusion of ignorance.
(Note: "Got God?" was a response to a seven-question survey of Chico News & Review readers published in April 1996.)