Living in the Kingdom

        Last week I wrote about essence to essence seeing. This is the essential skill for living in the kingdom of God. It means that we go from this moment to the next at the deepest level of our being, milking each experience for all its possible value. This is how God is present to each of us(millions at a time), loving us, directing us, forgiving us and transforming us. Moment to moment we can count on God being present to us as long as we bring the essence of who we are to the encounter. Then we will always see, feel, taste, sense, touch God. Wow! Isn’t that amazing? That the Creator of the whole universe can be present to an individual person(and to all individuals) at any moment in time is simply amazing!

        Our normal everyday consciousness, our rational mind, does not see God. Our culturally conditioned thinking is not aware of God’s presence with us. We have to work at broadening our awareness to see God’s presence and action in our lives. We have to be patient, open and willing to see God, before this can begin to happen. Sometimes it is only when we have suffered a lot that the presence of God breaks through our resistance. Or when we are determined and persistent in our yearning for God that we take the baby steps of first noticing God. Or when we have the expectation that God will be present, then we are most likely to see and experience the Divine Other.

       It takes some time, a long time, for us to move from the expectation that God meets us in our lives to the kind of consciousness that sees God’s presence and footprint everywhere and anywhere and then can see with God’s love whatever or whoever is before him/her. This kind of consciousness is called unitive or non-dual consciousness. It is not judgmental, does not prefer one outcome over another, is not attached to one group of people over others, does not choose sides, holds paradox easily. Non-dual consciousness is a radical break from our everyday minds that expect and divide and prefer one thing over another and deny reality all the time.

       God calls us to love, to embrace the unloved, to help the needy, to see without being judgmental, to bring our whole beings to life, to enjoy the fruits of the Spirit: “love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” [Galatians 5:22-23 NIV] If we live these fruits, we express non-dual consciousness in what we do and in our beings. When we can live these gifts, we live in the kingdom. As Fr. Richard Rohr says in The Naked Now, the kingdom is not so much a place where you live as the way we see life and the people who populate our world.

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