(Introductory Note: This post is about Being and beings, so it is necessary to define from the outset what I mean by being and Being. By being, or beings, when written with lower-case “b” I refer to entities as existent things; for instance, a cup, a person, an idea, a thought, etc. which are existent things though each as itself and in a particular mode of presence; a cup as perceived in my perception is a being in the space of perception, in the mode “perceived;” the same cup when imagined is a being in the space of imagination, in the mode “imagined.” In general, all objects of cognition, whether actual or possible concrete or abstract, are beings. On the other hand, when I use Being with the capital “B” I mean the existence of beings rather than beings themselves as entities. Thus, Being refers to their existence rather than their identities. For instance, when I speak of the Being of beings I am referring to their Being, their existence, their endurance in and through time, an endurance which is always manifest only in the form of an identity. We note that Being is not itself a being but rather it is that in which all beings participate and in virtue of which beings are beings. I borrow this lower-case/upper-case distinction from Heidegger’s convention. The discussion of Being and beings was the life project of Martin Heidegger, the German philosopher. But we approach the subject independently of his philosophy.)
The intention of this post is to show that the Being of human being, his/her existence, is entirely different from the Being of all other beings. The way and the manner in which we exist is of a totally different character from the the manner of existence of other things in the world. I as this human person am not just another object in the world but instead occupy a very special place among other beings and in the world as a whole.
My Being is different from the Being of other beings because the other beings are exposed to me, I am always aware of a field of beings that are in Being, while my Being as a human being is not exposed to other beings: I always have a world around me, perceived precisely as a world, but a rock does not have a world. Also the Being of the rock as a rock is not exposed to itself; a rock shows no sign of being aware of itself as a rock that is in the ceaseless flow of Being. But my Being is such that it is an exposure to an infinite field of beings while at the same time I am also exposed to my own Being as a human being. Not only am I a human being in the world, I am also aware of my being as a human being in the world; I am aware that I am aware.
A rock, or even an animal, has no perception of itself as a being with a well-defined identity among other objects constituting a world. A cow lives but it is not open to its own essence as a cow. Thus, we can summarize our view this way: Human being is that being who has a world, but other beings don’t have a world in the logical sense of the world as a horizon of all actual and possible beings and experiences; that is, other beings don’t have a logic, and hence no world-phenomenon. If we can speak of animals as having a world it is only because we confer upon them our own world-perception. We view the animal in our own image. We perceive the essence of animals, animals precisely as animals and in their characterization as species; but they cannot perceive us as an essence, as human beings with human characteristics and define us as species. In other words, human being is entirely different from other beings in that our Being is equipped with essential intuition, with an insight into archetypes of which all individual beings partake.
The Being of human beings is an opening, a window toward beings and their Being. When we are perceiving we are in fact being open to the Being of beings in the primordial space of perception; we are exposed to beings as perceived, and in this exposure we are also exposed to our own Being as that which perceives. When we imagine, we are making ourselves available to the beings of the imaginal world. It may appear to us that we are creating the imagined objects but in fact we are only exposing our own Being to the phenomena of the actually present and real world of imagination, the world of imagined beings which reveal themselves to us on their own accord. In other words, we do not create or produce thoughts and imaginations; instead we make ourselves open and available to the revelation of thoughts and imaginations. Insofar as we are directed toward the space of thought or imagination, the beings of these primordial spaces naturally and smoothly flow into our Being; all we do is to steer hither and thither within this revelatory flow. We don’t create thoughts out of nowhere; thoughts are always there, always available in infinite forms. In the act of thinking we are in fact making ourselves directed toward, and hence open to, the space of thoughts; this openness allows the revelation to flow in, and then we only steer them around. Notice that whenever and wherever you wish to think of anything the thoughts just flows naturally without you having to put any efforts in producing the form and content of those thoughts, or imaginations; it is only enough for you to adopt the proper orientation after which revelation comes forth and allows you to steer the thoughts, and hence receive that to which you are receptive. In reality, we don’t really think; rather, we let thoughts reveal themselves to us in the manner in which we intend them to be.
Thus, the Being of human being is unique in the sense that man is the site of revelation. Man is an occasion for the revelation of beings in their Being.
We are very much biased by the prejudices of modern philosophy, especially those imposed by the Cartesian divide of the subjective-objective. We are made to think that our thoughts and imaginations are subjective and relative, that they are phenomena in our own heads and without any concrete reality outside of ourselves; we are prejudiced to think this way because we have unquestionably accepted that reality is a fundamentally physical entity from which non-physical phenomena emerge by accident. We have given unquestionable priority to material existence, and hence we take less seriously anything that is not physical, such as our thoughts and imaginations, our spiritual well-being, etc. We think thoughts are just thoughts. But we must remind ourselves that the Cartesian division of reality into the two distinct realms of spirit and matter, subjective and objective, is itself a division made by a subject, and hence it is a subjective division in its character and scope. Beliefs are not just subjective, relative phenomena. They are as real as anything else, and in fact more real than everything else. We must note that the idea that our thoughts are private and subjective, that there is an objective, external world out there which exists independently of our ideas, that our minds and existence and beliefs are immaterial and irrelevant, is itself a subjective belief, a mere conviction, now held by the majority which gives it the illusion of being correct.
If we free ourselves from the sickening prejudice that world is fundamentally physical, then we can see that our thoughts and imaginations are real components of the world: When you think of an object you make that object itself present as itself, however in a particular mode of presence, now as perceived and now as imagined, etc. In other words, to cognize is recognize, namely to make present. By thinking of a thing we make ourselves open to the actual Being of that being; we allow that being to present itself precisely as itself and in its concrete reality, not as something unreal or merely subjective.
To think is to let be. When we think of God we are letting God enter into our Being. We make ourselves open and available to His grace, and God’s grace is nothing but His presence. Thus, in thinking of God we are not exposed to just an idea of God; instead, in thinking of God we expose ourselves to God himself, however he is made present according to the mode and degree of our openness and orientation. In other words, we let God be in any way that we are capable of thinking of Him or imagining Him: He gives himself to us in the manner in which we open ourselves to Him.
When we realize that the beings of the space of thought and imagination, and all cognitive spaces in general, are as real, effective, and affective as anything else in the world, then we are more careful of what we think, of what we say or imagine, etc. The prejudices of modern philosophy regarding the subjective and unreal character of imagination and thought has unfortunately allowed us to be too comfortable with what we let into our minds which is a letting into our very Being, as if it were Ok to think of an unjust act if we didn’t actually commit that act! But this is not true at all. Thinking of committing an unjust act is as real and consequential as actually committing it, though its reality has a different character. The reason we cannot see the truth in this is because we are made to give priority and superior value to physical existence, to physical harm and injury, while we don’t see and acknowledge the more serious and consequential spiritual/intellectual harm and injury caused by impure thoughts and imaginations. Physical damage and death is superficial and transitory and becomes forgotten easily while spiritual damage caused by impurity can cripple our soul forever, and hence the soul of generations to come. But we are so used to spiritual self-injury caused by impure thoughts, itself caused by the prejudice that what’s in our mind is not that important and effective, that we can no more feel our spiritual decay and decadence; instead we carry this decadence around under the guise of physical beauty or well-being. We exercise to keep the heart healthy and we take too much pride in that, but we cannot even begin, and don’t even care, to initiate spiritual exercise to keep the soul healthy. We are made to feel good about ourselves as long as we look good and healthy, thanks to modern slavery and its oppressive consumerism which is nothing short of global genocide against human spirit which deprives man of his/her essential Being and reduces him/her (and more reduces her) to just another being, a universal holocaust designed to destroy the spirit while sparing the body for a lifelong of exploitation and mandatory labor making the rich richer and the poor poorer. It is with this in mind that Christ reminded us that adultery, and any sinful act for that matter, is already committed the moment we think it.
If our Being is an openness to other beings, if our Being is a letting Be of beings, if our Being is a making present the beings that are otherwise suspended in oblivion, then we must take responsibility for the things that we let enter into our Being, whether in the form of thoughts or through any act of cognition. We make the world actually more positive and beautiful when we let only positivisty and beauty enter our Being, a Being which is an opening toward present and presence and hence itself a divine present.
We can make God to be more present in our lives if we think of Him more often, and he makes himself present to us in any way that we expose ourselves to Him, in anyway that we like to perceive Him. God just wants to Be, and more so to Be in our Being; he longs to impregnate our Being, and he can’t care less about how we wish to imagine him and his Being. God becomes present actually and as Himself in any way and through any symbolism that we intend Him. Your thought of God is God Himself. Whenever you think of Him you make Him think of you, and God’s thinking is nothing short of His Being. When He thinks of you in virtue of you thinking Him He makes your Being participate in His Being; He thinks and then you are.
Oh, mind; dive deep into the thought of God.
This is a story of a humble religious experience, of how the Almighty graced and saved me in a stormy day.
The other day I had a pretty rough morning at the university, the burden of projects and things not working, and especially the spiritual turbulence of the week. While driving back home the mini-storm of thoughts in the mind underwent a butterfly effect and created a tornado of negative thoughts about the rough year, made it into a rough life, and then into a rough existence. The spiritual imbalance was the most unbearable part of these days. I started intensely praying to God, begging him to calm this mind down, to tell me that everything is ok.
Disclaimer: Yes, I do comfortably refer to God as a He, simply because I like it. Though in principle the Godhead transcends gender, I don’t hide the fact that I perceive God as the masculine aspect of the Godhead while I perceive nature, the manifestation, as the feminine aspect of the Godhead. I have heard rumors that some people of no occupation but preoccupation with gender have actually bothered to invent a name for a person who uses a masculine pronoun for God; I think it’s called “sexist.” I personally like the name; it makes me feel naughty. Besides, I am just happy to see that employment opportunities are rising for people obsessed with gender and linguistics.
Back to my tornado: So as I was driving I was intensely praying for some spiritual guidance, some sign. I must add that I am a proudly religious person; but my relationship with God is mostly a purely intellectual/metaphysical relationship with the impersonal Godhead, the absolute truth or the transcendent principle. I chose this kind of relationship because it chose me; I have the essential temperament of what Hindus call a Jnani, a practitioner of the path of knowledge. The personal God of religion with its symbolic narratives of creation and destruction doesn’t interest me; in general the outward form of religion doesn’t speak to me. This being the said, I am still a human and like everyone else I am blessed with the three faculties of will, intelligent, and sentiment. Deep down I have a very strong sentimental aspect that I have been systematically suppressing by the force of mathematics and philosophy. Why? Because when I was 9 I had a small chicken (I love love love animals) that got sick and died only a week after I’d bought it. I was devastated since I was emotionally very attached to it. I couldn’t stop crying but I stopped eating and couldn’t sleep. I buried it in the yard and put a cross on the burial site (lol, we weren’t Christian and I didn’t even know what a cross meant but I had seen it done in western movies and just assumed that’s what modern people do, put a cross on the grave, so I thought it was cool.) Due to devoted mourning I couldn’t go to school and instead spent day and night next to the burial crying. The gross part was that many time during each day I would dig the soil, take out its body and kiss it while crying; the ants were crawling over it but I couldn’t part ways. I suffered a deep, wounding suffering. That mourning drama lasted for a few weeks until the corpse was almost gone. My soul was tormented for weeks and I still remember the pain vividly. After that incident, which was partly responsible for driving me into philosophy, I learned the lesson, that attachment is the last thing I want in this world. As a result I decided to do physics, mathematics, and philosophy and exclude myself from attention and attachment to all things organic and their conditions. But even now seeing an animal hurt or seeing the pain of others makes me suffer deeply as if it were my own suffering. So I am in a way very sentimental but I have managed to keep the volcano under some control most of the times. Please excuse the digressions.
So under the pressure of my sentimental aspect I sometimes wish I could also have a personal relationship with God, to love him, to adore him, to be just like a little child in His presence. I had heard stories from mystics and even normal religious people who loved God; yet I never understood what it means to love God, what it’s like to love God! To love a woman I get, to love an animal I get; but to love God I never got. But that day I begged for it.
That day when things became unbearable I begged God to be the good old God of Old Testament, to actually speak, to perform a miracle right then and there so I would know He is with me and I with Him. I just needed an assurance of His presence, an assurance without the need of intellectual intuition which can only perceive ontological necessity; I didn’t need to be assured of his existence of which I am absolutely certain; I didn’t need Brahman or Principle; I needed an intimate relationship with a loving and caring agency whose presence I can feel rather than think.
Anyways, the mind was going crazy and I was tearing my throat repeating the name of God. I got home and jumped in the shower with the hope of cooling down. My shower is a pretty tiny stall kind of shower; you cannot fit two people in it (not that I have tied.) As I was showering I kept repeating His name; I had read and heard from spiritual masters that repeating the name of God has a tremendous spiritual power. Though I could never understand how, I kept saying the name as I was too desperate, too human instead of metaphysician, for feeling His presence. As I was repeating the name and longing to feel God’s presence the idea of a funny but childish scenario interrupted the mental storm: The thought came to me that I cannot ask God to appear before me here; we cannot both fit in this small shower! Besides, I always perceive God as a He; being in the shower with Him would be too gay. At this point you may bite your lower lip but I mean no profanity against God; I do these small gigs in my mind which often involves God with the religious intention of making him laugh, and he doesn’t mind them if they’re a little dirty. He and I have an understanding, and he likes me as His court’s joker and personal stand-up comedian than anything else. Anyhow, this idea just put a smile on my face and distracted me from the mental tornado, but it was just the beginning; it was meant only as an opening toward a memorable grace which unfolded as following:
The idea of that scenario was replaced by a strong feeling of presence; the thought downed on me, with the intensity of a divine inspiration, that “He is the doer and the enjoyer of all things. Who do you think is moving your hands? Who do you think is moving your head? Who do you think is washing you and making your tongue repeat the holy name?!” The inspiration continued, “It is all Me: You are desperately looking for me while I am here with you; without me you can’t lift a finer; I am the one washing your body. You’re crying to feel me; I am the one bathing you.” These words touched me so deeply and made me feel something I had never felt. Tears rolled down my cheeks and I was filled with infinite joy. I leaned against the shower wall and cried like a baby as I listened again to the inspired words “I am the one bathing you.” I stroked my body and felt his strokes. I was intoxicated; the tornado was totally gone and replaced with a deep sense of serenity. I felt so light, so carefree as I had never been. I had become like a child and out of impulse started to make the noises a newborn child makes when the mother spoils him.
As I was drying myself with the towel I felt, and knew again, that it was still Him, drying me this time, that it has always been Him, and that it will never be anything But him. How could I feel so infinitely joyful, infinitely great and yet infinitely light, exactly the moment I denied my own existence and saw Him as all that there is, as the doer and enjoyer of all things, but this time not as a thought but as an intimately felt reality with the highest degree of certainty; I knew that he was the one making the jokes, gay or otherwise. After drying myself I danced naked around the room and then threw myself on the bed and rolled around like a child. For the first time I loved God as God, not as principle or nondual ground of all things. Yes I need the latter form of communication, the intellection, but this new feeling of intimacy with God spoke to an essential part of me that had been silenced till that day. Oh, such a great day I had and that message is still with me. Thanks God for that storm, and for all the others to come; we see the storm but in Reality it is Him trying to tell us something. That day’s experience may appear to the outsider as nothing special but for me it was a deeply felt reality, and considering the depth to which it penetrated and transformed my rigid idea of the divine it was one of the most profound religious experiences I’ve ever had.
God is good; God bless Him.
Many a times I thought how can one explain to the critics of religion that what lies at the heart of religion, the inward truth of which religion is only an outward expression, has nothing to do with the heinous acts done under a cloak of religious zeal, that such acts are of men oblivious to the principle and not of the principle itself. Never I found a response better than one offered by William Law:
“Would you know whence it is that so many false spirits have appeared in the world, who have deceived themselves and others with false fire and false light, laying claim to information, illumination, and openings of the divine Life, particularly to do wonders under extraordinary calls from God? It is this: They have turned to God without turning from themselves; would be alive to God before they are dead to their own nature. Now religion in the hands of self, or corrupt nature, serves only to discover vices of a worse kind than in nature left to itself. Hence are all the disorderly passions of religious men, which burn in a worse flame than passions only employed about worldly matters; pride, self-exaltation, hatred and persecution, under a cloak of religious zeal, will sanctify actions which nature, left to itself, would be ashamed to own.”
There are two classes of species when it comes to intelligence:
The first class are the extremists who are of two types: There are those who never question the world, and there are those who never question their intelligence. Religious fanatics are of the first type. Ideological fanatics such as Richard Dawkins and the atheists, and the rest of the animal kingdom are of the second type; they suffer the worst kind of ignorance according to Socrates because they are hopelessly blind to the possibility that they do not know. These evolve only in the physical plane but remain stoned in the department of intelligence.
Evolution proper applies to the second of species, the superior ones, which are again of two types: Those who question both the world and their intelligence without constantly ejaculating judgments all over the rest, and those who trust both the world and their intelligence, hence leaving it to Him to lift them up; and they shall be lifted up. These two types are destined for evolution in the true sense of the world, that is the vertical evolution which takes them from earth to heaven rather than merely from birth to death.
The difference between the two classes lies not in the object of their belief; the religious seeker who has beliefs and the honest agnostic who avoids all beliefs are equally close to The Center though one calls that center God and the other has no name for it.
What distinguishes between the two classes of species is their inclination toward judgment. The inferior type, being essentially insecure because they believe in nothing greater than themselves, are those inclined towards judgment; they are egocentric and inferior precisely because they assume the position of God, the Ground of Being, The Abyss, The Nameless, you name it.
The second class knows it is not for him to judge, that reality is determined from above and not by him or her. The second class is always a truth-seeker while the first is only a self-seeker, the judge; the former can transcend itself while the latter cannot even pass a kidney stone. The superior kind knows that “to know is to be able to learn” while the inferior kind thinks he knows because he is done learning. The higher species is humble, loving, and intelligent; the lower one is rude, arrogant, and stupid.
And when it comes to destiny of our higher and lower classes, the truth-centered species merges and converges to The Center while the self-centered diverges and submerges in oblivion.
Intelligence is not the capacity to pile up information and carry around a bagful of opinions. To be intelligent is to be able to be and remain open to fact and experience as they present themselves, that is to say to be objective pure and simple. The simple peasant of yesterday was much more intelligent and objective than the complicated scholar of today, though the scholar has managed to change the meaning of intelligence and objectivity to suit his egocentric ends without being noticed by the consciousness of the mass.
The common misunderstanding is that religion is only a matter of faith and opinion and unquestioned devotion. Religion is first and foremost a matter of intelligence; it is founded upon Pure Intellect and demands the same thing from the serious seeker. Faith and devotion are only the protective layers of truth, the sources of divine perfume, the means to an intuitive end. But the string that is holding man during his fall is after all the intellect, the Axis Mundi.
Intelligence is the divine spark in man, whether we understand by divinity a personal God or the impersonal principle underlying the universal manifestation. To see Satchidananda, the divine hand, in all beings is only a seeing of and by the intelligence. It is the intellect that sees and directs the operations of reason which belongs to the lower sphere. The faith of the true devotee arises from his/her intelligence; it is a faith rooted in trust and intuition, unlike the whorified idolaters of scientism and atheism who are in blind faith, or bad faith as Sartre puts it, and whose objects of worship are nothing but the non-intuitive abstractions of the true scientist who stays out of publicity and is himself only after truth, however misguided.
Thus, the salvation of mankind is a function of his objectivity which is the essence of intelligence. The more objective we are, the closer we become to The Center. Objectivity is the sole virtue that guides all other virtues, and especially those stated or implied in the scriptures:
What is humility but objectivity toward oneself, seeing oneself like we see everyone else.
What is charity but objectivity toward the other, seeing him/her as oneself.
What is love of the neighbor but objectivity toward manifestation as such, understanding that the neighbor is a concept encompassing all beings, including ourselves as God’s neighbors. Without this objectivity one cannot love without destroying, for love without objectivity will make either a master or a slave.
Adam and Eve took a bite from the tree…, and hence The Fall.
Did they fall out? Fall in? Fall through? Fall short? Or Fallujah?
No. They did fall: They fell asleep, dreaming of transgression and expulsion, of life and death, of losing that which cannot be lost. God is tearing his throat to wake us up; but alas, the apple has a long half-life.
My dear Adam and Madam, you are still in the Garden of Eden. Can’t you smell the fragrance from the tree of life?!
The original sin is the forgetfulness of one’s original blessedness
Every event in our lives is a gift that we will some day unwrap and appreciate. The very being of the moment, the ceaseless flow of conscious experience within which this life-world is given, is the primordial revelation of the One; we only take it for granted, as if it were our own consciousness; little do we realize that we too, along with the world, are known in and through consciousness which is always transcendent to all subsequent knowledge, including our self-knowledge.
There is only one unquestionable, brute fact that defines life and world: Impermanence. Our sciences, religions, philosophies, our state of knowledge and technology, all change; they have no absolute reign. But impermanence is the very nature of phenomena. What is ironic of human existence is that we accept and entertain all kinds of fiction with no trouble at all but we have not been able to accept and cope with this one brute fact. All the pain and suffering comes from our tantrums in the face of the inevitable, the impermanence of all things. So much for man as the rational animal!
When we judge a situation we are viewing it from our particular state of mind at the moment of judgment. Whether things are good or bad depends on our values at that moment. What we judge now as the worst mistake of our life may in a few years turn out to be the best gift of life, and then again the worst mistake when we judge it after a decade. If we are rational and reasonable animals, then we must see that judgment is the most futile epiphenomenon in nature. An act propagates endlessly into the inaccessible future; it has no end result, and hence no intrinsic value expect against the background of our our values and expectations.
One may object and bring the example of murder. But we ought to be objective and detached from our passions: A man who hates murder is more likely to commit murder when what he loves is destroyed. If we do not like murder here in America it is because we forget our democracy is founded upon the genocide of Native Americans, and this is for all great empires that ended up creating great men and women in history who transformed the masses. It would be a good research project for us to investigate and see how many people are being killed in poor countries for us to enjoy the little things of our everyday lives in developed countries!
And how about the murder of animals; it is perfectly justified as long as we like meat, though we prefer others do the murder for us. Thus, every single one of us is in one or another, directly or indirectly, involved in and benefiting from, whether physically or spiritually, some murder somewhere in history. But so far it was only the physical murder that concerned us, since we believe only in the physical reality; but there is more: On a daily basis we murder dreams, crush human spirits, and commit murder against ourselves by food and medication.
The pain and suffering will continue as long as our individual interests and benefits come before our objective intelligence which is really our consciousness of impermanence and the source of humility. This is so because the inevitable part of life, the impermanence, constantly gives and takes away, and hence constantly puts our egos under stress and strain. Insofar as we identify with the ego which is the inertia of the mind we won’t be able to face the inevitable and at once enjoy it. Ego is the cancer of the soul, and only divine radiation can eliminate it.
The good is Him; the bad is Him
The pleasure is Him; the pain is Him
In pain and pleasure, in hell and heaven, I am always with Him
If you have come to take Him away then take Him away, for this too is Him
He is the here and the away
He is both the Being and the Non-Being
It is not that we are made to suffer: Suffering is there in the world as the blue of the sky is there in the world; we feel the suffering only because we identity with it, thinking that it is ours. Both pain and suffering arise from our attachment to phenomena: Pleasure comes when our attachments are present and safe; pain comes when our attachments are being taken away. But attachment to and identification with the impermanent is suicide, for there is no pain without pleasure and no pleasure without pain. Suffering comes to an end only when we all learn to prefer peace to pleasure, unity to individuality, Oneness to mine-ness, God to ego.
What we must learn, and what spiritual traditions speak of, is precisely the art of facing the inevitable and undergoing impermanence. What is the original sin but lack of patience, and what is lack of patience but the reign of the ego, the snake of the Eden? If an object falls due to its mass, man falls due to its ego. The Fall is not so much the fall from heaven which is the eternal present given by the One. Our fall, the real fall, consists in our forgetfulness of still being in heaven and in His presence.
The existential angst of modern man, which is the vertigo of this apparent fall, comes from resistance against the inevitable. The return to the One, that is accepting the impermanence, is in the heart’s act of embracing Its present to us, and Its present which is Its presence is none other than the present, the now, which is indeed the primordial present. Thus, to be with the One is to be fully in the present, that is to be perfectly committed nihilists. It is often the case that our seeking the One makes us farther away from Him.
Meister Eckhart, a 13th century Christian mystic and theologian, says:
“A man must become truly poor and as free from his own creaturely will as he was when he was born. And I tell you, by the eternal truth, that so long as you desire to fulfill the will of God and have any hankering after eternity and God, for just so long you are not truly poor. He alone has true spiritual poverty who wills nothing, knows nothing, and desires nothing.”
The Zen Master Nan-Sen says:
“Do not strive to seek the truth; only cease to cherish opinions.”
The Sufi Master Bayazid Bastami says:
“Knowledge of truth cannot be attained by seeking; but it is found only by those who seek it.”
To seek God in heaven, in church or mosque, in the saint and the prophet, is like seeking a picture of him who is always already present with us. To be with the One is to stop looking for Him and seeing Him in the very Being of everything in and around us.