Friday, January 12, 2007

Shiners 1: Catching Bright Reflections While Reading

Lately, I have been collecting vivid passages from books, magazines, and articles on web sites that catch my eye. I call these passages “shiners” because they remind me of an experience I had while walking to school and crossing a fairly-high bridge over the Rocky River when I was in the eighth grade.

I remember stopping and looking at the dark forms of the bottom-feeding fish. Every once in a while, one would turn on its side, suddenly shining brightly, reflecting off its silvery scales the bright sun.

Just as the fish caught the sun’s reflection so did these passages catch the reflection of my Christ-mind, the part of me, the part of you, Dear Reader, that is still, eternal, peaceful. Here is how Master Teacher expressed it recently in a Session at Endeavor Academy, “Peace is a moment of the entirety of you.”

Here is a example, a passage from an essay in The New Yorker.

If I think back on the books to which I have devoted my life, I am most surprised by those moments when I felt as if the sentences and pages that made me ecstatically happy come not from my own imagination but from another power, which had found them and generously presented them to me.(Orhan Pamur, “My Father’s Suitcase: The Nobel Lecture, 2006,” The New Yorker, 12/25/06- 1/1/07, p. 86)

Here is another passage from Owen Waters’ book, The Shift: The Revolution in Human Consciousness.

The ultimate truth is to be found within, yet the study of a variety of sources of information helps you to reawaken and remember your inner truth. Your intuitive sense is your guide as to what material is most appropriate for you at any particular time during your personal development. p.112

I read a book like this and just let it wash over me, and if it holds my interest, I just sail along looking for shiners, looking for new ways to express my direct experience of my Christ-mind.

* * *

The most important thing about coming across shining passages is the recognition that what we see outside has its origin inside. What we see echoes what we are. That is why this passage caught my eye.

The dolphin produces high-pitched clicks that bounce off any object in its path, whether a fish, rock, or man- made object. By listening to the echo and estimating the time it takes to come back, the dolphin can determine the size of the object and how far away it is. Although similar to SONAR, the dolphin’s method is far superior. SONAR uses a single frequency, while a dolphin emits clicks ranging from low to very high frequencies. For instance, the bottlenose dolphin can detect metal as thin as 13 thousandths of an inch. ((Bill McLain, Do Fish Drink Water?, p. 3)

For the dolphin it all begins with a click. For man, it all begins with the interpretation of a glance. What we see in the glance, we take to be out there. When, in fact, we put it out there in the first place by our interpretation. What we see begins and ends with thoughts in our brains.

Here is a passage from a 24-minute film, The Holographic Universe: The Secret of Matter.

At the instant of seeing, light clusters called photons travel from the object to the eye, where they are focused on the retina. Here rays are turned into electrical signals and turned into neurons at the back of the brain. The act of seeing actually takes place in this center of the brain. All the images we view in our lives are actually experienced in this dark place of a few cubic centimeters.

By interpreting the interaction of particles with our sensory apparatus, we make up an entire world. This next passage is from a short story, demonstrating again the author’s intuition of what is really going on.

How could he fail to love someone so strangely and warmly particular, so painfully honest and self-aware, whose every thought and emotion appeared naked to view, streaming like charged particles through her changing expressions and gestures? (Ian McEwan, “On Chesil Beach,” The New Yorker, 12/25/06-1/1/07, p. 103)

* * *

Recently, I have been inspired by reading accounts of Near-Death Experiences. ( These descriptions help me express what it feels like to slip into the state of mind of the peace of God. These accounts also help explain this passage from A Course in Miracles.

I am not a body. I am free.

For I am still as God created me.

(Lesson 199)

In this state of mind of the peace of God, I am the stillness of God’s creation.

“Peace is a moment of the entirety of you.” Master Teacher.

In this NDE account, Kimberly Clark Sharp sees herself above her body in the operating room.

That's when I saw my body for the first time, and when I realized I was no longer a part of it. Until this moment, I'd only seen myself straight on, as we usually do, in mirrors and photographs. Now I was jolted by the strange sight of me in profile from four feet away. I looked at my body, the body I knew so well, and was surprised by my detachment. I felt the same sort of gratitude toward my body that I had for my old winter coat when I put it away in the spring. It had served me well, but I no longer needed it. I had absolutely no attachment to it. Whatever constituted the self I knew as me was no longer there. My essence, my consciousness, my memories, my personality were outside, not in, that prison of flesh.

Grace Bubulka also finds her Self hovering above her body.

I just remained there with a sense of hovering for what felt like forever. It was really only for seconds or minutes I suppose but time did not make any sense. Time did not seem to apply. It seemed irrelevant. It was unattached to anything, the way I was. Time is only relevant when it is relative to the normal orderly sequential aspects of life. So I was there for a moment or for eternity. I cannot say but it felt like a very long time to me. I was aware that I was separate from my body yet somehow I continued to exist. The part of me that existed did not have anything to do with my body. I was completely comfortable and no longer in any pain. All of the distress I was in while lying in my hospital bed was gone. I felt like I was bobbing about in a warm bath. The level of joyous anticipation I was feeling was indescribable.

At this point I had no insight into what any of this was about. I did not think I was dead. I knew I felt like a spirit or a disembodied person. I knew that the real "I" continued to exist in the absence of my earthly body. I had a sense of heightened knowing, of peace and of assured expectancy.

During this experience, time had no meaning. Time was an irrelevant notion. It felt like eternity. I felt like I was there an eternity. No remnants of the tunnel remained. There was no cloud or fog. The light was pure and all-good. I needed nothing, I wanted nothing. I was in communion with all the light around me. The specks, the others and I were all part of the light that existed forever. I felt I had an infinite sense of knowing, of understanding it all. I was completely at ease.

I felt as if I had returned to something I knew before. It was as if I had come home. I had come home to the beginning of not just me but the beginning of all eternity. This is so hard to explain but it seems so important. The only thing this compares to in a way is the way it feels when it is a beautiful warm night and you look up into the clear starry sky.

You are as certain of arriving home
as is the pathway of the sun laid down
before it rises, after it has set,
and in the half-lit hours in between.
Indeed, your pathway is more certain still.
For it can not be possible to change
the course of those whom God has called to Him.
Therefore obey your will, and follow Him
Whom you accepted as your voice, to speak
of what you really want and really need.
His is the Voice for God and also yours.
And thus He speaks of freedom and of truth.

I am now more inclined to call these NLE’s, near-life experiences. When you walk around thinking you are a body, you are, actually, dead. When you come into the awareness that you are not a body, you are free. You have experienced Heaven on earth, and you can offer this awareness to your brother, literally raising the dead to life, true awareness of the peace of God.

And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand.
Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils:
Freely ye have received, freely give.
(Matthew 10:7,8)