Grace

Into the Presence

Stillness of the Presence

I want to be the hole in the flute Christ’s breath passes through.
Listen to this music.”

Hafiz, 14th century Sufi master and poet.


Moment of Grace

It comes to us from within, when God’s Presence is first felt in us, in a moment of Grace. Not by effort has it reached the surface level of our consciousness, infusing us with new aliveness – it is a gift that possesses every cell of our being, thrills the heart with its abiding Joy and with its Peace beyond understanding. It is our first awakening to who we truly are.

Who We Are

“Who’s there?” is the pointed opening in Shakespeare’s most studied work. But its surface meaning and mechanism of entry into the scene and play are not all its purpose. ‘Who is there?’ is a metaphysical query directed at the playgoer, addressing the reader and inquiring of their identity, beyond body and intellect, in this play (at Hamlet’s meridian) about Being itself, and the veiled usurpations of religious nobility that displace the heart’s need of His quickening Spirit.

In the opening of his epic, Savitri, Aurobindo begins his exploration of this same theme with these words:

“It was the hour before the gods awake.”

Who are the gods he refers to? And who are the ones referenced in the Psalmist’s, “I have said ye are gods, and all of you are children of the Most High.”

The references are to you… and me, and everyone we see. Yet it is difficult to imagine, and in some cases may seem impossible, that an atom of God’s Presence resides in every soul. But beneath the trappings of the ego, buried beneath its tapestry of incarnations and the many shields of the lesser self, it is there.

The Divinity Is Within

“I want to experience God’s Presence inside me” will prove the truth of this assertion. If you can say the words aloud, and cherish them sincerely in your heart, your moment of Grace has drawn nearer in time. The inner spark has been touched by your whispered desire.

At the beginning of his transformation from agnostic to renowned spiritual teacher, Dr. David R. Hawkins, gripped by deepening depression and in a physical condition nearing death, spoke these words: “If there is a God, I ask him to help me now.” 1

In that moment his world changed, a type of spiritual coma was entered into and on the other side awaited an altered consciousness, and the perspective of a sage, the natural state of many embodiments spent seeking, in Einstein’s words, “the mind of God.”

The Quantum Probability Of  Parallel Universes

In one of the many books written after his noted awakening Dr. Hawkins, in the ‘Eye of the I’, 1 recounted the change in his consciousness and his witness of the parallel universes which physicists have indicated is one of quantum’s probabilities (and may have led Einstein to his stated goal, had he been able to embrace it fully), this way:

“It is as though there are two different levels of consciousness going on, coming out of the same scenario of form and movement; two different scripts being spoken via the same words… At the same time it is clear that the lower selves of the people are unaware of the communication simultaneously going on with their higher selves.”

A Breakfast Shop in a Small Town

The morning after experiencing the Presence for the second time, this same witnessing of the parallel dimensions unfolded before my eyes in an unlikely setting, in a breakfast shop in California. The beauty of it I will always have and I will forever cherish. Beyond being touched by the Presence in that hour, was revealed a connection to a higher level of being that is concurrent with this physical one that alone seems real.

Moment of Surrender

As retold in one of the early scenes of God Touches, what preceded this revelation was a moment of surrender in a Catholic Church the evening before, at the encouragement of a trusted friend, in a building I had never stepped inside though I’d lived in that town for many years. And what was witnessed there was an event of such incomparable scope that it changed my life and those of many others forever – it held the experience of waterless baptism, of true baptism, in the Holy Spirit.

It was not a vacant ritual or a promise of something that went unfulfilled (as Confirmation in this same Church of my youth had been), it was a gift, contingent on one thing, a simple gesture of humility as an adult, an expressed and genuine willingness to be touched by the Presence within.

Enter as a Child

Preceded by what is termed the sinner’s prayer, “Dear God, I confess that I have sinned. I repent of those sins and I invite Christ into my heart now” – all it required further was this childlike moment of surrender which, when it transpired, yielded no unusual feeling or immediate perception of change.

But seconds later all of what I (and we) know, and see, and which alone seems real, stood altered: in the seeing, in the feeling, in breathing itself. Where the Franciscan who had extended the invitation to this wonder had touched my forehead and spoken the words, “Receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit in the Name of Jesus Christ,” and had pushed until I had nowhere to go but down (caught in the arms of the man who stood behind me), now Peace and a Love of inexplicable dimension showered into me as I returned to my feet, literally as if a faucet had opened.

The Unlocked Gate

“What is this?” I thought as I walked back to the pew. But as expressed in the play I understood what it was. It was the Pentecostal experience of baptism in the Holy Spirit which this minister served as channel for, the hole in the flute, and the wonder we had been promised as young Catholics at our Confirmations but was not felt that day, not in me or in any of the children I knew.

That had been a lovely ritual but held no power of change, was premature in its timing, had unlocked no gate. This must come, I understood in that moment, when as adults we confess we want change in our life and we desire to be touched by God’s Presence inside us: when we wish the stubborn door of our egos to be opened to something greater than our lesser self with its little consciousness and limited linear perceptions.

This Moment

And so here is a moment in Eternity, in Earthly time. Everything needed for you to experience the Divinity inside you is expressed on this page. No human intercession is required, Heaven’s Presence alone is needed and it is all around, and inside you, as Scripture reveals. Prisoners in their cells have had the Pentecostal experience when they simply fell to their knees, with no one else present except the Divine. They made a choice and that choice changed their lives forever.

The choice I had at the beginning of this essay was not to write it, not to believe what I was feeling inspired to set down and encourage its readers to do was at all possible. As I thought this and approached a darkened room in our home, a soft beam of light shown through its ceiling extending to the floor and I knew its meaning, that with God all things are possible. (An architectural note of humor: it was a first floor room in a two-story structure, and there are no skylights in our home.)

The Steps

This then is a choice you have right now, if you have never experienced Heaven’s Presence inside you: Keep sitting or standing with the ego and risk no change in things as they are.

Or hazard these several steps for change.

Here are the words to speak (best said on one’s knees, aloud):

“I want to feel God’s Presence inside me.”

“Father God I confess that I have sinned, I repent of my sins and invite Christ into my heart now.”

“Lord Jesus,* I wish to be baptized in Your Holy Spirit this day, this hour.”

You will see, thanks and praise are soon to follow these spoken words as your tactile world becomes charged and lovely, as colors reveal their brightest textures, and a sweetness of such immense Beauty fills every cell of your being, your very breath.

You have become a child again and experienced the first Joy, have had your first awakening.

 

[If you were unable to invite the change extended in the words above, there are no penalties to suffer and certainly no eternal hell to fear. But consider this: the word Grace is the only link to this page and your hand moved the cursor over it without knowing what it led to; or, someone who loves you told you what it contains.

Whatever the means, it is you He wants to (and will) bless with Grace one day, to bring you safely Home. Any delay in this is not denial. The heart’s desire, and the soul’s acquiescence, are all that’s needed.]

*It’s my belief, a belief with no assertion it is an unassailable truth, that there is more than one discipline that leads to the Presence, that there are many paths to God. But this much more: that there is only one Express train and it is boarded when the living Word enters the inner chamber of the heart – because at this invitation comes the piercing of the ego’s deepest layer, and provision in the moment for His Light to touch our consciousness and the Trinity to be felt within. Years of effort with meditation did not yield what this mature acceptance of His gift achieved in a matter of seconds.

That as well in this surrender is broken the wheel of rebirth, the cycle of reincarnation, because there now is no past for which the soul needs to atone, it has been swept away by the Maker of souls. Which efficiency comes from the heart of a loving Creator who prefers any future embodiments be spent in service to humankind – and not on a revolving wheel of reaping what is sown; from which law the departure, except for this pardoning Grace, can be so long delayed.

The Second Joy»