My current theological/cosmic understanding is bittersweet. On the one hand, I am incredibly relieved that I have been permitted to recognize the connection between the spiritual truths of various religions, my personal experience and perceptions, and contemporary scientific knowledge and theories. While I am fully aware that my understanding is woefully incomplete, I do feel that I have reached a new plateau of understanding. Nevertheless, the joy of this enlightenment is tempered by the awareness that this knowledge has arrived so far along my personal journey. It reminds me of the old saying attributed to the Pennsylvania Dutch, “Too soon old and too late smart.”
I definitely have a sense of entering a new phase of my life. With a keen sense of who God is, I am striving to apply my concepts to the world around me. This involves recognizing my misconceptions and either discarding them or redirecting the thought process. The clearest example of this is the “I-ness” I have lived with throughout my life. At present it is necessary for me to consciously recognize my connection to everything around me. However, I find that as I practice this awareness, it becomes increasingly integrated into my sense of self. That self is gradually becoming a universal Self with a capital “S”.
I am extremely thankful that a recent development in this unfolding adventure has been my involvement with a local Quaker meeting. There, I have found others who are engaged in their own journeys along this spiritual pathway. It is very comforting to be part of a spiritual community that does not impose specific doctrines or dogmas, but recognizes that we are all enlightened by the same cosmic source and that our divine experience and knowledge is individually unique.
I am quite certain that an association with like-minded individuals is essential for personal growth. Like Tolstoy, I believe that true spiritual knowledge comes through personal introspection and contemplation coupled with their application through social interaction. Theories and philosophies lack significant value if they are not relevant to the world in which we live and the people who inhabit it. Therefore, interacting with others who are striving to live an authentically spiritual life provides us with a marvelous opportunity to share, learn, and grow together.