A Hindu man is walking and talking with God. The man asks, “Can you explain to me the mysteries of life?” God says, “O.K., but first give me a cup of water.” Just then they come upon a house. The man goes to the door to ask for a drink of water.
A beautiful woman answers the door. Forty years later they are married with children, living in the same house, when a terrible storm shakes the house. The man cries out, “Where are you God?” God answers, “I’m here. Where is my cup of water?”
Life often interrupts our quest for the Divine. God’s presence to us is often silent, largely unnoticed, but unremitting. He’ll still be here after forty years. God hangs around.
In her book Sacred Heart, Gateway to God Wendy Wright says, “A layered reality is part of the Catholic [Universal] imagination. To possess this imagination is to dwell in a universe inhabited by unseen presences - the presence of God, the presence of saints, the presence of one another. There are no isolated individuals but rather unique beings whose deepest life is discovered in and through one another. This life transcends the confines of space and time."
“Mysticism is as real as science,” Father Ron Rolheiser says. “What she [Wright] describes here so brilliantly points towards something that is all but lost in our world today; namely, the fact that reality is more than just physical, that it has layers that we do not perceive empirically, that these layers are just as real as the physical, and there is more mystery within ordinary life than meets the eye.
In a related column Father Rolheiser says, “The mystical imagination is the other half of the scientific imagination, and, like science, its purpose is to help us see, imagine, understand, speak about, and relate to reality in a way beyond fantasy and superstition. But the mystical imagination can show us something that science, wonderful though it is, cannot; namely, it can show us the many grace-drenched and spirit-laden layers of reality that are not perceived by our physical senses. The mystical imagination can show us how the Holy Spirit isn't just inside our churches, but is also inside the law of gravity.”
Developing mystical eyes is simply becoming aware of God’s hidden presence inside us. It is recognizing God’s presence in our lives. God is forever trying to break through to us, but like the Hindu man in the story, life interrupts us in our quest for God.
God’s presence in our lives can be experienced in different ways. Conscience is one way. Unless we have silenced it, we all have an inner voice that prompts us to make correct choices. This inner consciousness keeps us in touch with our Maker who put it there.
Artists often have a unique way of expressing the Divine Presence in our world. William Wordsworth spoke of
“A motion and a Spirit, that impels
All thinking things, all objects of all thought,
And rolls through all things.”
“Lines—Tintern Abbey” (100-103)
Dag Hammerjold said, “God does not die on the day when we cease to believe in a personal deity, but we die on the day when our lives cease to be illumined by the steady radiance, renewed daily, of a wonder, the source of which is beyond all reason.”