“We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.”
You might have read or heard of this passage from the French philosopher Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, and you might have resonated with it at a very primordial level.
On an unconscious level deep in our hearts and our guts, we know that we are made of something more than just the total of our thoughts, feelings, and life situations. We have a sense of being larger or more infinite than just our little self. This idea might be a relief for most of us, even though we can’t quite access it directly.
The 19th-century British poet William Wordsworth expressed the idea that we gradually lose our intimate knowledge of heaven as we grow up, observing that “our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting” of our previous spiritual or heavenly existence.
In the book, Memories of Heaven, Dr. Wayne Dyer and his friend and collaborator Dee Garnes collected astonishing real-life stories of children who vividly remember heaven from the time before they were born. In the Japanese documentary film Prenatal Memories of Children, they explored children’s recollection from the time they were inside their mother’s womb and from an even earlier time. All were speaking eloquently and accurately about their lifetimes in the spirit world and of a kind of Divine love that exists beyond this physical realm.
It seems that we come into this with an innate wisdom and knowing of our infinite and spiritual nature, but through our conditioning and as our life unfolds, we forget who and how magnificent we really are. One can say that we are getting smaller and start believing that who or what we are is just a bunch of roles we play, our successes and failures, the opinions and beliefs that we hold, and the problems we need to solve.
So what gets in the way of this realization? What untethered us from our truly infinite and spiritual nature?
The short answer to such questions is: THOUGHT.
From the time we were young, we devoted most of our life’s energy and attention to our thoughts. And honestly, most of them were not that interesting or helpful.
When a thought appears in our field of awareness, we assume that it is true and that we must believe it. Since we are conditioned to believe that we are our thoughts, we assume that we must pay attention to each and every thought that arises. But this is a false assumption.
Thoughts appear and we can choose to believe them or not. We can become the witness of our thoughts. It is up to us how we want to be in a relationship with the thoughts that vie for our attention. This identification with thoughts causes us to be somewhat asleep or lost in a trance most of our lives. We are not actually where we are.
Put in another way, and it causes us to abandon our bodies. Because we are always so focused on our stream of thoughts, we become disconnected from our senses. We start living outside of ourselves, becoming automatons who are bombarded by external stimuli, very much stressed and imbalanced, riddled with aches and pains or dis-ease in the body, which eventually turns into a disease. This is because we keep running around looking for quick fixes to make us feel better. But the faster we run, the faster we miss the point.
We forget that our search for wellness, for balance, for peace of mind, for happiness has to be inward through our senses. This is vital as it is the senses that are the portal to our own presence, our spirit, our true nature, our bigger Self. The gateway into the NOW is by coming into the body, feeling the breath and feeling the sensations that are happening right now. Only through this present moment, when sensed directly, can we remember ourselves as the infinite and spacious presence that we intuitively know (but forget) that we really are.
The NOW cannot be talked about. It cannot be a destination. It can only be something we are that we melt into. The moment we talk or think about it, it becomes something separate from us, a possession, a notion, a goal.
The NOW can only be experienced directly through our body, our heart, and our senses. While thoughts have tremendous value for many aspects of our life, if we want to know ourselves as spiritual beings on a human journey, thought is not the path. The body holds this intelligence, this memory is deep in its cellular structure. It is as if the body itself remembers from whence it comes, the stardust out of which it is made.
Right now, at this moment, invite your body to feel itself from the inside out and allow your body to arrive here, where you are. Don’t consult your mind of what it thinks of “here.” Don’t send your mind down into your body to notice what’s happening now and come back up and tell you. Simply tune into the sounds reaching your ears, experience the breath as it enters and exits, and the gaps in between them, feel the sensations happening in your body. Allow yourself to land inside and fill up your whole body with your own presence, to sense your being. Feel what it feels like to simply exist.
When we feel this moment directly through the body, who we think we are, our ego, a “person” disappears. Our individual “me” agendas fade and we are just right now, LIFE. We are one with life, with our spirit, with our true nature, our real Self.
So as you and your family decorate your home this holiday season and look and gather upon your Christmas tree, may the Christmas Star lead you like it has led the three Kings to the Divine. May it remind you that you are also a Divine spiritual being.
The significance of Christmas, after all, is not just of a baby born in a stable but of Divinity born in humanity today.