"I am ever present to those who have realized me
in every creature. Seeing all life as my manifestation,
they are never separated from me. They worship me
in the hearts of all, and all their actions proceed from me.
Wherever they live, they abide in me."
With that somewhat invisible foundation in place, let's consider that it's really the surfaces we look at that create a great many of our world's problems. They insist that by being the "visible" parts of life, they are also the most important parts–the parts we're actually interacting with all the time. But that's not really true, is it? Aren't we seeing, and more importantly feeling, the invisible parts of life, perhaps more deeply, all the time?
You can neither tell a book by it's cover, nor the content of a person's heart from the clothes they wear. It's impossible for our limited vision to see into the whirring masses of sub-atomic particles all dancing inside of our supposedly "solid" world. There is an inwardly exponential relationship of the outsides of everything to their insides, where the real story is told in the many pages beneath the cover.
When we're confronted by surfaces–appearances, behaviors, "final outcomes"–it does us no good to compare our insides to those outward presentations, but only to first consider what we don't know about the insides of each. That's where we may find our real understanding. We've all experienced the illusion of something looking so good on the outside, only to find out that it's really full of pain. (I've picked a lot of chocolates like that...)
"I am the light that shines on everyone
I am the All.
The All came forth from me
and the All came into me.
Split the wood and I am there.
Turn over the stone,
and you will find me."
The Gospel of Thomas, Logion 77
So, it's our ability to witness this occupation by spirit, and it's outward expression (as mysterious as it is miraculous,) that is the most important, truly interactive, and compellingly honest perception we can have–whether we can actually see past the physical surface of something (or someone) or not. When we don't get too wrapped-up with surface appearances, we can see that remarkable relationship pretty plainly...but we have to relax and allow ourselves to. So try this sometimes – pay as little attention to the surface of things as possible. Practice looking into it (intuit); and try to witness the spirit arising from within things and people, as often as possible. Like everything that's worth getting good at, it takes practice.
"To God belongs the East and the West;
and wherever you turn,
there is the face of God."
The Qu'ran, Surah 2
These quotes from ancient wisdom sources really say the same thing, don't they? We display a kind of silly ignorance when we rely on visible affirmations–on outside appearances–when we know that every surface changes, and that it's the mystery within that remains Eternal. Everything we witness with our minds, and our eyes, and our hearts, is actually just more proof of our shared elemental composition; the substance of our Source, and our ineffable connection to each other and every living thing. It's all the real "face of God."
So, it's just a matter of our perception, and allowing ourselves to look beneath the surface of things by looking with a vision that's free of judgment and comparison– that's the only way to be more fully, more realistically, engaged by our compassion, identifying with the insides, instead of the outsides. Heres a quote, from a wonderful egghead, that tells us the same thing:
"A human being is part of the whole, called by us "Universe," a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings, as something separated from the rest - a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty."
"The disciples asked him:
'When will the Kingdom come?'
It will not come by watching for it...
The Kingdom...is spread out over the whole earth,
and people do not have eyes to see it."
The Gospel of Thomas, Logion 113
The book, "How To Survive Life (and Death)," is available from Conari Press, or at all major booksellers––but ask for it from your local bookshop.