Divine self-awareness


I really liked this meditation from Jim Burklo, published in the latest edition of the e-mail newsletter of Sausalito Presbyterian Church:

They’re worth the trip to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, just by themselves. In a dark corner of the building, they glow in their glass tanks, lit from below, like the altar-pieces of a dimly-lit church. They pulse wisps of translucent flesh around gulps of invisible food, and wave delicate tendrils to the slow beat of some strange, silent music.

They are the unheard heartbeats of the sea. They float in the depths, on seemingly aimless trajectories. Perhaps I and the rest of the people in the aquarium were so transfixed by the jellyfish because they dangle in our dreams, hovering in the ocean of the transpersonal unconscious.

They made me wonder. When I climb to the top of the Marin Headlands and look over the surface of the ocean, I see nothing of them. Just as when I gaze transfixed at jellyfish in the tanks, but see nothing of the process by which I contemplate them. Billions of neurons oscillate in my brain, but I can’t detect them. Their tendrils reach out to each other in a delicate tangle that I cannot view as they enable me to think these thoughts. In that salty sea between my ears, strange things pulse. Who, least of all myself, knows what I’ll think or write next?

That which caused my jaw to drop in front of the jellyfish tanks at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, that which boggles me when I think about how I think, is that to which Meister Eckhard, the 14th century German mystical priest, referred when he said: "The eye with which I see God is the eye with which God sees me." Considering jellyfish and the neurons that consider them, I am ushered into a prayerful state of self-reflective consciousness.

"Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God? You are not your own..." (St. Paul, I Corinthians 6: 19) Through my worshipful awe, and yours, God knows God. My wonderment, and yours, is the dark sanctuary in which the divine becomes ecstatically aware of itself.