I was raised Catholic. I practiced faithfully through the time I worked in a Catholic Church just over a year ago. Prior to that, I had already started to pick up ideas of God from more native traditions. I love Toltec interpretations. I love the Navajo concept of the energy of God. I practice an Ignatian form of meditation. I taught World Religions this year and loved some of the Jain principles of integrating with the world.
I’ve had three spiritual directors. Two really amazing ones. One who told me that at the core of praying we are trying to listen to God. And if God is within us, our only goal is to still ourselves long enough to hear God.
I’ve felt God’s presence. I’ve heard God in dreams. I’ve seen God in waves and red rocks and sunsets. I’ve felt God in the wind against my face. I’ve heard God’s voice in the air and in the voices of my students and in the stillness of my soul.
When I was a junior in high school, our religion teacher asked us if anyone knew without a shadow of a doubt that God existed. I raised my hand. He was angry with my response and challenged me saying that only God could know if God existed and to say otherwise is sacrilege. For that one moment, I wasn’t trying to be antagonistic. I said to him very simply, “How can you look into the eyes of another human being and deny the existence of God?”
After my first year of teaching, I was introduced to Ignatian meditation through a 6-day silent retreat. It’s truly about listening to yourself. I have been a faithful practitioner for 6 years, even completing the 180-day guided meditation. I have received countless answers and many revelations through these meditations.
When I left my last job, I went to Sedona to find God. The Navajo believe there are vortexes in Sedona that channel the energy of God. I’m inclined to agree with them. The energy was overwhelming.
I believe that God is light. In every meaning of that word. My parents light a votive candle every single day in their home as a reminder of God’s presence. I don’t think I truly understood the power of that until a few weeks ago. Now, there are three candles lit in my home. I say to remind myself of the light within my body, mind and soul, but really that light comes from God. It’s a simple reminder to nourish all three.
Yet, when I was asked a few weeks ago if I believed in God, it was nearly impossible to describe how and why. My perception of God is a sum total of these experiences. My answer was I believe in God, absolutely, but I think of God as an energy of sorts.
My friend responded with something that’s been spinning around in my head for a few weeks. He said he likened God to a rhythm. Then went on to say that he felt it was like being in “the pocket”–not too fast, not to slow, but exactly in the right rhythm.
And when we spoke a few days later, he said he was enjoying the silence amid the noise, which brought me to something I had written a couple of years ago. Those moments where sound and silence collide are where genius is born. It’s like having the entire world swirling around you, but being so centered that you’re in that divine rhythm.
So, I stripped yet another wall in my classroom. And I put three words on that wall: “Divinity in Motion.” My neighbor walked in and stared for a few moments, and then said simply, “what a powerful statement.” I smiled at her and said that it is our students and what they do in these classrooms.
Then, as I sat in the grass yesterday with the latest copy of Rolling Stone, I became transfixed with a quote from Erykah Badu. It was almost as though it was the combination of my lifetime of knowing God with my friend’s addition of “rhythm” that have been simmering in my brain:
“I think the atoms in the body rotate at the same rate and on the same axis as the Earth, so that when the Earth speeds up vibrationally, so do the atoms in our body. The more things the Earth goes through, the more things the body goes through, and our brains are not separate from that.”
And, in writing this, I have realized that these moments and the combination of these thoughts is my Easter miracle. A Resurrection of sorts. Not really from the death, but a gift of re-enlightenment.