We have many words to refer to the Sacred: God, Yahweh, Allah, the Lord, the Creator, the Divine, Consciousness, the Absolute, the Self, the Tao. The words are different, but they come from the same place, and go to the same place: everywhere and nowhere. At the Burning Bush, Moses worried the enslaved Israelites in Egypt would not take him seriously. Who shall I say sent me?, Moses asked. God delivered an exquisite Zen koan. He revealed His sacred name: I Am That I Am. Tell the Israelites, God told Moses, that I Am sent you. The ground of all being.
After learning about my interest in the book of Genesis, a friend once asked if I believed in God. And that always seemed like the wrong question. I am not interested in belief. I want to experience God’s living presence, to feel the nearness of the Sacred. Now, don’t get me wrong, none of us will ever encounter God as Abraham or Moses did. But have you ever felt the presence of something larger, much larger, than yourself? Much larger than any of us? As a young boy, I sensed this in nature, during a walk in the woods or at the beach, gazing out over the vast expanse of ocean water. I had no words to describe what stirred in me. But the feeling moved me deeply.
Later, I experienced the presence of the Sacred in music. Listening to Bach’s Goldberg Variations, or anything else Bach wrote. Or gazing into a newborn’s eyes. Or during an intimate and heartfelt conversation with a loved one or friend. Again, I felt that vast presence, an intimation of something eternal and true, as real as anything I could see, hear, or touch.
As an adult, I experienced the Sacred in a more formal spiritual practice of meditation, prayer, and study. It confirmed the essential and profound wisdom of Meister Eckhart’s words, the medieval Christian mystic who observed: God is closer to me than I am to myself.
One could spend a lifetime, perhaps many lifetimes, meditating on Meister Eckhart’s reflection. An immediate way I access his teaching involves entering a great silence. The stillness of formal meditation. Or just pausing and falling silent during the day.
Becoming still is a valuable resource available to each of us. And yet we rarely use it. Stillness is a wondrous portal to encounter the truth revealed by Meister Eckhart, that entrances to the Sacred exist everywhere, all the time.