"Every life, every beating heart has a searching soul inside
Ever needing, ever seeking out the meaning to life
I refuse to believe that we're only here to live and die
In the futile days of a faithless haze never asking why
Why would I?
When I've felt the hand of eternity
It's a legacy I will leave
I want to leave for the children of the world"
(Children of the World, Amy Grant, 1994)
Although I am a few years away from turning 50, I still feel much like the young man I once was. Inwardly, I haven't aged at all. Sure, there are better parts of me now, much matured and aware, but every time I stop and focus on the outer age of my mortal coil, I recognize how young I still seem within. I see myself differently, and most certainly, think and act different than I would have at 18 or 19 years of age, but the primal energy of my youth still radiates within me. For an old soul, I am young at heart.
Most people would tell you that they do not feel their age. Even the most defeated and withered of men will relate how they are vibrant within, unaffected on that level by time or space or circumstance. Those with a keen awareness will tell you this happens to all of us. Each person is stuck in the decay brought by life yet filled with a source constant throughout life. Ask almost anyone and they will tell you the very same thing.
Human beings are imbedded with a spirit, a soul. When we examine ourselves through the filter of time, this soul becomes strangely visible, almost tangible. We recognize it as such. We claim, "I feel just like I did as a school girl," or "When I look in the mirror, I am not 46 but 18 again." When we pay attention, we can sense our spirit, that spark of the Divine duly noted by Paul in the New Testament.
"Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst?" (1 Corinthians 3:16, NIV)
The idea that all of mankind contains within itself a Divine Spark of God, which is poured into a chalice known as the human body, is common in spiritual disciplines such as Gnosticism, Kabbalah and Sufism. Judaism teaches us that all human beings are created in the Divine Image and therefore are linked to God by the Divine Spark within them. Even Jesus, when questioned about the coming
, revealed what lies within. kingdom of God
"Once, on being asked by the Pharisees when the
kingdom of God would come, Jesus replied, 'The coming of the kingdom of God is not something that can be observed, nor will people say, "Here it is," or "There it is," because the is within you.'” kingdom of God
(Luke 17:20-21, NIV)
Growing up I was keenly aware of the unification between myself and something deep inside me. I always had the sense that God was with me and I was with Him. It is clear to me now just how my relationship with the Divine was corrupted by not only myself but also the people and ideas that influenced me through experience and learning. Throughout everything that has happened to me, I could still feel Him there, near me. I knew He was part of me and nothing I could do or say would make Him leave.
I do not mean to suggest that I contain God or that God is part of me. I stand firm that God is with me. I believe that my soul and body were unified at my birth and the spirit within me is connected to something greater than all this life has to offer. I believe that there is a searching soul inside us, a vessel filled yet somehow empty. The glimmers of our soul that we have, on occasion, are just that, all shiny glimpses of something unaffected by space and time.
As we age, our physical body may decay but the spirit within us is incorruptible. It is almost as if the soul inside us, the real us, is exempt from the laws of nature. A supernatural essence of our true self is locked in this "mortal meat," without knowledge of itself. The host ages but the spirit thrives, no laws of physics may restrict it. This is spirit, it is imperishable. I can only assume this being, which is me, comes from Him.
What we see in these moments of clarity and feel in the utmost part of ourselves is what we really are. It is only illusion, however, warped through our human experience and changed in the translation. No matter how we wish we knew, think we do, we most certainly do not. We cannot know. That is for later when this living is done.
"For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. "
(1 Corinthians 13:12, NIV)
After I gave in to oblivion, I found myself floating, carried by the song of a billion hummingbirds, down the tunnel and deep towards the light. No muscle constricted and no limb found motion, it was just me, drifting in the darkness like a jellyfish and moving into the bright. Quickly, I realized that I wasn't moving at all. Only the light was moving, closer and closer like an oncoming train, as I hung in the dusky space. I knew instantly that I had crossed over; I could feel it and sense it and see it all about me. I was lost in a place I had never before journeyed to, but found myself feeling somehow like I was home. I did not fear. I had all the reason in the world I had just left behind to be afraid, but I was calm and still and silent. There was such peace that I imagined I might reach out and touch it. There was no temperature to speak of, but I was warm from within and felt nothing from without.
Out of nowhere, I realized that I was no longer bound to my human body, yet from what I could see and think I was still very much myself. There was no reflection off the shiny black walls or shadow against me from the growing light. I floated, basking in the coming illumination. When it reached me, I felt nothing but anticipation. I had no time to realize what I had left behind. I had no idea where I was going.
As the pinpoint of light approached, it grew in proportion to the tunnel that I was lingering in. The walls of the passageway were like ebony, all dark and slick and smooth. For a moment, I thought they were spinning like a kaleidoscope or cylinder in a funhouse. I looked to where I had come from, but there was nothing behind me but stronger black, undefined in a barren wasteland of dim. When the beam of white stopped moving, its glow lit the hollow tube of black and silenced the constant groan I had taken moments before to be hummingbirds. The great shine filled the torrent as I dangled like a puppet without strings.
I was all embraced by the radiance, captive in my state of unknown. I tried to touch my flesh, but my flesh was long gone. I was myself but in a different state, yet a state that was familiar. I knew this version, I had felt like this in pieces. I couldn't help but wonder if I was me or if somehow I had been transformed, no longer a slave to human form or motivation. I looked down and saw my hands. I looked down and saw my feet. I seemed intact, whatever that might be. They came in the light regardless.
“You don't have a soul. You are a Soul. You have a body.” (C.S. Lewis)