The Skin of God

On Monday night, I took a walk. Or, more accurately, I thought I was going to take a walk, but it was more like the walk took me. As soon as I stepped out of my apartment, I was almost overwhelmed by the beauty of—everything.

Fireflies—whether in the distance or up close, were like meteors blazing in my heart. I was filled with wonder at the blossoms on the trees, the beauty of the lights shining in houses, the ambient light of the night itself. And I was able to just shut my mind up pretty much, and just BE there.

I found myself led to a playground, and I climbed on top of the monkeybars and sat and meditated… it was one of my best sits in ages. MyZen teacher» has been instructing me in shikantaza—”just sitting” meditation, which I’ve always found very difficult. It wasn’t difficult Monday night, though! Sure, thoughts came and went, but I just stopped caring, and melted into sacred Presence. No strain or stress of “trying” to meditate. And peace just opened up.

It seemed to me not just possible, but screamingly obvious that the world is just the skin of God, like a movie screen holding back just enough divine light to show us the entertaining/painful images, sensations, thoughts we call life. It was obvious to me that there is no true separation, but there is One only.

During one summer in the late 80s, I had experiences like this rather frequently. (My poem Across a World is about a night like that.) I wonder what keeps us from seeing it, experiencing it more often. (And I suspect that a great many people don’t have these insights at all.)

I’d like to hear from you. Send me your comments about your experiences, or your thoughts about this.

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