October 4 – Our All-Embracing Nature – Mark Nepo, The Book of Awakening
“No individual exists in their own nature, independent of all other factors of life. Each has the totality of the Universe at their base. All individuals have, therefore, the whole Universe as their common ground, and this universality becomes conscious in the experience of enlightenment, in which the individual awakens into their own true all-embracing nature.” Lama Govinda
Imagine this spiritual fact: the whole Universe is at the base of who we are. What the whale sees as it rushes to the surface is beneath all human seeing. What the eagle feels brushing under its wings is beneath all human question. What the uppermost tree leaf knows of light as it spreads open for the first time is beneath all attempts to love. The essence of every living thing is embedded, dormantly potent, in the energy of heart that waits beneath the skin of heart. As Lama Govinda so touchingly puts it, enlightenment is an experience in which all of that essential relation becomes more than knowable, it becomes palpable; and being so touched, essence to essence, a pre-existing spiritual quality of Oneness is enlivened.
Imagine that beneath all our distrust there is a stream of ongoing Oneness, and the only wayto enter it is totake off our distrust and bad experience like clothes. Imagine that in entering that stream naked we reach, for the moment, with every hand that ever reached.
I confess that I have known moments that open beneath the grid of time where light is more than light and yet only light, where the soft wind through the remaining yellow leaves falling on the pond is today and a hundred years ago. I usually enter these moments alone. It is how I climb my way to God.
But quietly, when daring to love, to hold nothing back, I have gone there with others. And in those moments of total embrace—of life and each other—we look both out and in, and all is aglow. And it becomes clear that all true lovers meet here, climbing through their lives to a moment no one else seems to understand, where to be together is to be alone, where to touch the skin is to touch the spot of God within that was born to be touched.
In this way, enlightenment is the experience—the feeling— of Oneness of All Life, more than the putting on of wisdom.