“Every question is a search. Every seeking has its prior direction that comes to it from the sought.”
Martin Heidegger (Being and Time)
Zarathustra, a unique character created by Frederick Nietzsche, said: “What is it?Is it possible? That holy old man has not yet heard in his forest that God is dead!“. Man’s relationship with the source of universal energy has always been complicated. We would say that a relationship of love-hate, like and dislike, of acceptance-denial, of complementarity is established… Even for those who deny the existence of a reality transcendental to the human being.
Do we live turning our backs on God? Today, for many human beings, God does not exist. Yes, our statement may seem forceful; nevertheless, if we observe (with a minimum of rigor and without any false passion) and stop to examine our life, day by day, instant by instant, we would be surprised to see that, in practice, we live manifesting that God is alien to our daily existence.
True, it is one thing to ignore and another to deny; in reality, our reality, it is the same thing. In our western world, it seems that those childhood experiences of fear and terror before a god (lower case) of terror, justice and vengeance have been lost in the “night of time”. Today, in our nearest and closest universe, the relationship with the Creator -if we affirm that God is synonymous with Creator, with original source- has changed considerably (perhaps too much?), to the point of living a daily existence far from the sources of transcendence.
Man’s relationship with God is not exclusively linked to religion, nor even to the field of philosophy, art or science. It is a personal, intimate, profound, experiential and experimental relationship. If we empty our perception of these contents, our perception would be incomplete, just like a table that lacks a supporting leg. However, we tend to witness a complicated series of performances that pretend to show us a static, time-bound and excessively dogmatic vision of God. Yes, rigid, asphyxiating, lacking in practical sense and not at all committed to the humanism of our lives, what we really need for true meaning and comfort (I am aware that this word has a meaning that provokes a certain rejection for some people).
What role does religion play in the 21st century? From our point of view, all religions have a clear responsibility in the distancing of man from God: too much theology, too many dogmas, laws, rites… an endless list of prohibitions, limitations and punishments have shaped a map of indifference to the religious fact in its manifestation.
Science (science would be the correct thing to say, since the word science is a pure abstraction) tries to cover the role of religion in explaining the universe, the world and man; science tries to remove the “ancestral fears” of the human being, to explain the origin of life, the meaning of life, why and for what purpose I exist, who am I? The eternal questions continue to strike our thinking minds. Science is unable to explain that which is beyond its own field of understanding. What is finite and temporary is subject to the natural law of “being born, growing, shining and fading away”; the cycle of life, of nature is conclusive: here, in our world, everything is subject to mutability, to change, to impermanence?
“God of the earth, God of the universe” are heads and tails of the same human existential reality. The god (lower case) of the earth is temporary, manageable according to our own worldly, partisan, self-interested, petty and petty expectations… always changing according to our mood; the God (upper case) of the universe is eternal in time, immutable in its essence, origin and source of all creation, the unity to which the human being, unconsciously, longs to return.
The concrete and natural religions speak to us and outline a “god of the earth”. Philosophy shows an apparently more complete, but insufficient, picture. The mystics, on the other hand, live the direct, certain and marvelous experience of a real transcendence, of a “God of the universe”.
It is important to reflect: the will to live necessarily implies the will to be healthy. Guilt complexes are one of the biggest obstacles to our well-being. Tension implies fear and aggressiveness; it is not fear that motivates us, but joy; satisfaction reveals itself as an incentive for our creativity.
The human realm is distinct from the realm of classical physics. We live in a world built by us on the physical, emotional, psychological and energetic planes; a world, in short, on the horizontal axis. We possess the ability to make something new and influence the physical matter that forms our own body. If we were nothing more than machines, only a mechanic could aspire to change us; but we are more than that reality and we can also transform ourselves.
We must start from our own inner universe, from our deepest feelings; therefore, it is necessary to direct our steps towards a serious and deep integration with our inner self, day by day, being on the right path to succeed as human beings.
The word is the source of creation, it is life, it is real and authentic force. Mysticism is synonymous of full life, of embracing the unfathomable, of living…and existing? There is a stone, the Human Being lives his finite and earthly experience as an essence of transcendence, of harmonious, comforting and peaceful fullness.
From the mystical experience we can understand the inexplicable, apprehend the infinite, quench the thirst of a wounded heart that cries out in the silences of eternity that takes shape in the present, our present.
As I usually say: “Living is a wonderful and unique experience, for which we should be thankful”. Living…Living the present from the present, feeling the strength of the energy of the universe that manifests through the personal and intimate reality of being, our being. Each day is a new opportunity to be ourselves, to know ourselves, to understand, accept and love ourselves… respecting our fellow men, brothers and companions in the journey of life.
In the poetic, sonorous, beautiful and harmonious words of that universal mystic who was and is John of the Cross:
“I went in where I didn’t know
and I remained not knowing,
all science transcending”…
And even more precisely and concretely:
… “And, if you want to hear it,
this sum of science consists of
in a heightened sense of
of the divine essence;
is the work of his clemency
to stop not understanding,
all science transcending.
Spirituality is within the reach of every human being. Living is a wonderful thing. Let us live life with authenticity and fullness. Let’s be more mystical… and less philosophical and religious about existence!
Federico de Sanchez
Philosopher, theologian and spiritual counselor. President of the Spanish Society for the Dissemination of Spirituality (SEDEL)