“He’s gone” is what my son said about Mikey, our family cat. He didn’t say he was dead when he called me at the office. In a trembling voice he said only, “he’s gone”. I grilled him on the phone. How? What happened? But he kept repeating “he’s gone”.
I rushed home. When I saw his lifeless little body wrapped in a towel, I knew why my son had said he’s gone. His body had been vacated. Standing there looking at him, the word dead didn’t fit. He just seemed gone.
Perhaps we instinctively know what animates our skin and bones is far beyond the body itself. Maybe we recognize there is a Presence in living things that’s not made up of matter. When the body stops functioning, it becomes obvious the body wasn’t the Presence but merely the holder of it.
Why don’t we see this when someone is alive? We relate to the body so much. Its gestures and its speech are what we interact with, what we think we love or hate. We never really get to know the Presence beneath all this, the silent energy that flows through them. If we sit still long enough, we can recognize the same silent energy flows through us. This same Presence is in us and has nothing to do with our constantly changing body and mind.
Some people believe it’s too hard to comprehend the finality of death. They believe we create concepts about a Presence that lives on to rationalize the pain. I understand this. But I have a hard time believing the Presence that animated our cat and even my mother when she was alive, was nothing more than a perfect combustion of chemicals. Something started that fire that was their lives.
I believe that was God.
Many spiritual writings talk about the breath of God as the force that gives us life. It could be that God is more than the giver of life but is the very Presence of life within us. Silently, God is living within all of us beneath our personalities, beliefs, memories and longings. God is with us all the time because God is this silent Presence.
We spend so much time looking for God, asking for his forgiveness, his charity, his praise. We look up to the sky or towards some symbol of God but we never think to look within ourselves. To sit quietly and let all the distractions of the outside world and the inner world of our mind settle down, to come back into contact with the Presence of God within.
If the Presence within is God, then we are never separate from God. Maybe we are asleep to God, blind or deaf to God but never apart. God is right here, right now within as the silent but powerful engine that moves us along.
Perhaps there are many levels to God and our world is just one level with people, animals, plants, the Earth, the Sun and all the universe having their current of God running through. God may not be that separate entity we were taught to believe in. Rather God is the very Presence we and everything else are made of. Only the costumes we wear are different but the Presence within is the same.
This would change our view of everything wouldn’t it? We might disagree with the outer shell but we could never really hate it because it was our same Presence at its core. It is this same silent Presence that lives and breathes each day regardless of the events we worry and argue so much about.
Then for some seemingly random and unknown reason, which may or may not be, the Presence decides to move on. Perhaps to join other parts of the Presence temporarily housed somewhere else. Or to move back to the original, pure and highest form of Presence for a rest before journeying out again.
If God is many levels and perhaps omnipresent, existing everywhere at once, then it becomes clear why what we call “life” seems to come and go. It could be that God is what we come from, what we are and what we return to. It’s all God coming and going, moving and reshaping, ever creating itself in new forms.
It’s kind of playful isn’t it? Like our cat Mikey was.