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Location: Midwest, United States

Monday, January 16, 2006


I’ve been thinking a great deal about my personal spirituality of late. Actually, it’s been a preoccupation throughout my entire life, but seemingly more so now. There’s quite a bit to ponder…too much in fact. I’ll scratch the surface by reminiscing about two events that influenced me greatly.

* * *

I was around 10 – 12 years old. I can’t remember any details about the day except that it was summer. I was preparing for my evening shower.

I had just read or heard somewhere that scientists had determined that our universe is finite. I was taking off my clothes when I began to ponder what we might discover if we were to travel to the end of the universe and peer beyond the edge. What would we find? Heaven? God? Another universe? A whole bunch of universes? My head began to spin. I felt faint. It was as if I physically experienced something profound, an indescribable awe. I can’t remember any specific thoughts. I don’t recall thinking anything. I was simply overcome by awe. I began to hyperventilate. I grew dizzier and dizzier. As everything began fading to black, I clutched at the shower curtain for support…just before I went tumbling into the tub, shower curtain and all, falling unconscious as my head hit the wall.

* * *

I was in my 20’s. I was on another personal hajj. This time I was somewhere in the northern Colorado Rockies, high up in the mountains. I had been riding all day. It was summer and I was hot, dusty and numb. I think I rode about 800 miles that day, which is a bit trying on a motorcycle. It was dusk and I soon found a small campsite. I slowly began setting up camp. Not all that much is involved in setting up camp. I was always a minimalist when I rode. Two saddlebags for clothes and such, canteen, sleeping bag, plastic sheet/ground cloth, a pup tent and a compact cook kit. I could survive for weeks on end with just that, my bike, some cash (and a few credit cards).

As I said, I was dead-tired. I took my time gathering firewood and kindling. It was a warm night, so I decided to forego the tent. The sleeping bag would do just fine. I puttered about. I inspected my bike, organized my possessions, and tended to the fire in preparation for a bit of supper. A can of beans seemed about right. It was dark when I sat down to eat. It was all so very quiet and peaceful. Nature’s evensong relaxed me.

I grew sleepy. I unrolled the sleeping bag and laid myself down. Shock and awe! SHOCK AND AWE! There, directly above my head, was the Milky Way - a blindingly bright river of stars. I had never seen anything so magnificent. All I could say was “WOW!!” I couldn’t move. I couldn’t think. I couldn’t even blink my eyes. I just stared at the Cosmos and was filled with utter rapture and awe.

I think that is as close to God as I have ever come.

* * *


Blogger PattiKen said...

When I was young and into "space exploration," I got hung up on what seemed a conundrum. Actually, it still does. I had read that space is infinite. Then I read that Einstein said that space is curved. And I was off and running.

A curve implies an edge to me. And an edge implies a finite area (or space, if you will). But if space is infinite, how...

See what I mean? In more recent years, I've read that space is probably not infinite. OK, then maybe I can accept the whole "curved" thing. But I've kind of lost my interest in it all, so I guess my response today would be "whatever."

Mon Mar 28, 09:34:00 AM  

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