Being Both Here and There

comments 4
Christ / Creative

I was standing on the end of the pier on a crisp morning, leaning against the half-petrified rail, watching gulls weave in and out of one another without ever getting anywhere– watching my breath roil into translucent clouds that caught the sun and held it for a moment, and then fizzled.  In the background the gulls were rising and falling on the wind, their heads swiveling back and forth with the persistence of algorithms as they looked for possible sources of edible debris.

I was standing on the end of the pier, in a brooding mood, taking stock of everything I’d ever thought or known, getting about as far as those gulls, when the Messiah came up and leaned against the rail next to me.  He was wearing a black watch cap, a Fear the Beard t-shirt, an unzipped black leather jacket, jeans, and a pair of weathered Vans.

He reached into his jacket pocket, pulled out a pack of Doublemint gum, and offered me a stick.  I took one and then he took one, and then he put the pack back in his pocket.

Didn’t take you for a doublemint man, I said.  Figured you for more of a Minty Mayhem kinda’ guy.

Then I unfolded the thin foil wrapper, pulled out the sheet of gum within and placed it into my mouth, folding it in half as I did so.  He unwrapped his own stick of gum and then held it out for display for a moment, pinched between his thumb and fingertips, thinking.

He said one day I’d remember that creating a body to represent my interests in this plane was about as complex as going out and buying a pack of gum.  When I remembered that, he said, things would fall into place pretty quick.

I tried to play it cool, but inside I felt like a hot air popper.  Just like that? I said, snapping my fingers as casually as I could muster.

Just like that he replied, and he was gone.

I looked at the gulls and shook my head in bemusement, chewing my gum.

Then in my heart I heard his voice telling me it was my turn.  And where exactly did I think he’d gone, anyway?

He told when I could answer that, things would fall into place pretty quick.


  1. “He said one day I’d remember that creating a body to represent my interests in this plane was about as complex as going out and buying a pack of gum.”

    Hi Michael,
    I really like this analogy. Are you pointing here to the power of the unseen force of creation? I suspect that minus the identity we adapt while embodied, we share in that creation, but that it’s not so much a magical power without limits, but a power that participates with the givens of the cosmos.

    Does that make sense?



    • That makes sense, Debra. I was pointing to the fact that our somewhat entrenched ideas and perceptions of what is real, what is possible, who we are, etc., may in fact be wholly incorrect, as if we are trying to understand the nature of light by using a filter that only allows in one color. The effects of this color may be consistent- and our world may not be jam packed with obvious contradictions to our formed beliefs and impressions of what is occurring- but once we no longer insist on that particular filter, all manner of other discoveries may be possible. That we know ourselves day in and day out as limited beings does not mean that is all we are, it only means that is what we have chosen to experience. I think the magnitude of what we are and of what creation is up to are far grander than we often admit- hence creating a representation on this plane is no more difficult than getting a pack of gum, within the context of the big picture.

      This idea of magic and limits is an interesting one. I assume by givens that you mean the laws of physical creation, such as gravity, or electromagnetism, etc. And that this invisible power has the capacity to pull the levers and strings on those forces in order to give rise to creation. So, for instance, using the classic example of biological evolution- it could be seen as being the formative indwelling of spirit, played out through the use of physics and chemistries that are givens.

      I like that, but if the truth of our reality is that loving consciousness interacts with or gives rise to displays of creation like the world around us, then I think it becomes difficult to stipulate exactly what is on the magic side of the line and what is a given. But a tailor stitches together fabric, and our Creator paints with Light, so I think what arises may always appear to be cloaked in the givens. But that does not mean, to me, that the formative intelligence of Creation in which we share is remote or dormant right now, or that we cannot open ourselves to greater participation in it’s flow through our lives, or that evidence might not arise from time to time of fast-moving Creations.

      This notion of anything being possible can seem a fool’s wish, but it helps to keep me sane to think that no matter how boxed in or cramped or serious the tone of my life momentarily becomes, I am but a hair’s breadth from majesty and power, a majesty and power that is the authentic source of my being, and which, in the snap of a finger, can paint our world with holiness.



      • Hi Michael,

        Yes to all. In a way, the givens aren’t even given, but perhaps are what we know as the extent that creation has reached. No scientist here, but I picture the “laws of nature,” or of science as that way in which the world has become to the extent that we can understand it. Yes, no dormancy; we are participating in the fully alive adventure of creation.

        The fact of our limits tells me that we do not know our limits, if that makes any sense! We all know, in varying degrees, that any sense in which we see limitations, comes out of our perceptions which rely on the perceptual devices that we, embodied spirits, are. We are then, inbetween; partness (apartness), within wholeness, but being in it, perhaps we can’t see ourselves in relation to a whole, but knowing ourselves as parts to a whole allows us to move, expand, contract, limit and break or revise the limits. As we have often said, identity, or how we place ourselves in relation to others and to the cosmos, is fluid. Knowing this is quite freeing.

        But as well, seeing containment as a necessary component for individuality to show up, is also just as freeing. How else can anything be articulated other than through the experience of bodies that live and die and become food for each other, both in the material sense and in the spiritual sense?

        Borrowing from Hillman (he did not put it quite this way), I would call this soul-making, where soul is understood as a perspective that is created from the mediation between matter and spirit. It may not matter what we call this, but only that we recognize
        how our lives are part of creation; that through love, and all that binds us to each other, through the givens, expandable as they are, we are making something.



        • “It may not matter what we call this, but only that we recognize how our lives are part of creation; that through love, all that binds us to each other, through the givens, expandable as they are, we are making something.”


          I like the notion of our individuality as a medium of expression as well. The whole pours through individuals in a way that allows for both giving and receiving, speaking and listening, and in those relationships points to the unchanging meaning of wholeness itself.

          There’s a question in all of this about the way our particular “filter” of perception might be brought to a state of greater unity with Creation, such that transformative bursts of communication take place with even greater regularity and visibility.



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