Recently, my friend, Tom Thomas, issued a challenge: “Telescope your cosmology, your entire thinking, into one homily.” If I can try to telescope 66 years of life, 49 years of meditating and 41 years as a priest into one homily, we'll see what happens. Now, I know that it is a ridiculous kind of exercise. And I know that a map is not the terrain. And a cosmology is not the reality. But we need maps to guide ourselves.
Buddhism has a saying, “If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him.” In other words, if you create a theology that you really believe in, “kill it before it kills you.” But we need theologies to maneuver as we try to understand what God is. There is a great statement by the Christian mystic, Meister Eckhart, “I pray daily to God to rid me of God.” As soon as we attempt to create reality, we try to express in words what essentially is ineffable.
So, I have to navigate between giving you enough detail to let you know what my thinking is, and at the same time, to not swamp you with so much stuff that I do not confuse you in the process. Now, because I'm Irish, I can't be succinct. So, I'm not going to be able to tell you in one phrase what my cosmology is. I'm a bit more like Moses. So, I'm going to be rather wordy.
A YouTube video of my original homily appears below. I've also included everything in the drop-down panels at the left of this page so that you can read at your leisure.
May God continue to hold you tenderly in the hollow of Her hand.
Fr. Seán ÓLaoire, PhD
To begin, I need to define four key terms: Reality, Truth, Memory and Imagination.
If we live in the West, we suffer under the misapprehension that something is only real if it can be grokked by our sensorium — either directly or by extension through our instrumentation. So, we don't believe in the West, that anything is real unless we can see it, hear it, taste it, touch it or smell it. However, that is not my understanding of reality.
Reality exists in many different levels — some of them more pristine than others. I believe that anything you can sense, feel, think, remember, dream, choose, or imagine is real. But there are different levels of reality. And to make our maps of reality, we have to be cartographers of all of those levels. So, reality for me is much bigger than what we normally think.
Truth is not the same thing as fact. Fact is simply a data point in the physical Cosmos — not particularly important. So here is how I define truth: something is true if it transforms me and aligns me with Source. And something is ultimate truth if it transforms me radically and aligns me permanently with Source. I'm not particularly interested in factoids. I'm interested in that which can transform me and align me with God. The factoids are only important in order to manipulate the physical world in which I find myself.
For me, memory goes all the way from “Eidetic Memory” which is the tiny memory that remains in your senses after you've experienced something. When you see something, there's a small memory that lives in your eyes for a few nanoseconds. Or you hear a sound. There's a memory of the sound that stays in your ear for a little bit of time. So that's what I mean by “Eidetic Memory”, memory held by the sensorium itself. Then at some stage, it goes into short–term memory. And then, it goes into long–term memory.
I believe that memories of an entire lifetime are available to you. I believe that the memories of all the lifetimes you've ever lived are available to you. And I believe ultimately, in the Akashic Records — that everything that has happened in any dimension of God's manifest realms has been recorded — that God is a doting grandparent who has videotaped everything that every one of Her children have ever done. So memory to me means access to all of God's data.
Imagination is not the ability to make up stuff that is not real. Imagination is the ability that allows us to shift our state of consciousness, alter our mental frequencies, visit other dimensions, have encounters with entities and energies that exist in those dimensions, bring them back here, cross–fertilize them with our culture and, therefore, expand our models of what's real. That's what imagination is. It's the most important gift an artist or a scientist has. Real science is based on imagination — leaps of creativity — not just technical data.
I believe that, ultimately, only God exists and that everything that we experience is some kind of emanation, or articulation, of God.
God seems to have two aspects — a transcendent aspect, the “Isness” of God, which is totally ineffable and about which we can say nothing. And then there's the “Immanence” of God — as She breathes and moves through Her manifestation. The “Immanence” of God is that which we can encounter and experience.
In a different way, you could say that there are three aspects to God. There's the “Isness” of God, represented by the Father, in the Christian Trinity. There's “God's Total Self–Knowledge” represented by the “Word–of–God” or “Jesus” in the Christian Scriptures. And then there's “God's Total Love for Herself”, the total self–acceptance of this mystery. And that's represented by the Holy Spirit.
And there are five things I do not believe about God: God is not a person, a creator, a covenant-maker, a micro-manager nor is He partisan.
I do not believe that God is a person. I don't think that God is some kind of super–human being with human attributes. We have projected these onto God, from our own virtues and vices. Nor do I believe that God is a “Creator”. I don't think that God sits in His workshop and thinks, “Today I'm going to make elephants.” And then He makes elephants out of nothing. And then He says, “I think I'm going to make planets," and then He makes planets. Or He says, you know, “I think I'm going to make spiders,” and then He makes spiders. For me, all manifestation is, literally, emanation from God.
It is the nature of God to emanate into manifestation. I've used the example, many times, of a flower pot someone gave me. There was a bulb set in it. But I couldn't see the bulb. And the person who gave it to me said, “It's very simple. Stick your finger in the clay. If it's dry, put water in it. If it's wet, leave it alone.” And I put it by the window in my bedroom and a few weeks later, this green stalk began to emerge. And then, a few months later, four big trumpet flowers emerged. It's not that the bulb created a stalk and that the stalk created four trumpet flowers. It was the nature of the bulb to emanate and manifest as stalk and then subsequently as flower and then again return to being a bulb.
I do not believe that God waves a magic wand and then elephants come into existence — from nothing. Rather, it is the nature of God's “Immanence” to manifest everything that we see around us — whether they're galaxies, elephants, spiders — or humans. Nor do I believe that God is a “covenant–maker”. I don't think that God makes particular agreements with particular groups of people. I do not believe that God has that kind of relationship with any group. Nor do I believe that God is a micro–manager — that He inserts himself into human affairs and gets really upset when you don't follow His laws. And I do not believe that God is partisan. Rather, I believe that everything that exists is a Word–of–God–Made–Flesh.
In the Christian dispensation, we make a huge mistake, I believe, by claiming that the Word–of–God became flesh just once. In the prologue to his gospel John says: “In the beginning was the word. And the word was with God. And the word was God. And the word became flesh and dwelt among us.” And we think this word is “Jesus Christ.”
When I meditate on that passage, here's the version I use. I say, “In the beginning was the word. And the word was with God. And the word was God. And the word became flesh. And You are such a word.” So, everything that exists in the phenomenological realms is a Word–of–God–Made–Flesh.
Darwin would have us believe that evolution is predicated on three principles. There is, first, spontaneous mutation — just any kind of mutation, most of which are useless — and that occasionally there's a good one. And then, secondly, there's a process of natural selection based on “Survival–of–the–Fittest”. It's a dog–eat–dog world out there. And, then thirdly, this process, very gradually and smoothly, morphs into more and more complex life forms. That's the Darwin viewpoint. And I don't agree with it at all. I believe that there is an intelligence guiding this entire process. So, if you want to call it “Intelligent Design” that's fine with me.
Rather, I mean that God's wisdom is built into evolution and that, therefore, there's intelligence to it — that things are not just mutating randomly. There's meaning to the direction they're planning to take as they achieve more and more complexity. And, rather than claim that it's “Survival–of–the–Fittest” and dog-eat-dog, I see much more evidence for cooperation and symbiosis in nature — all life forms helping each other to survive in their own particular niches.
And I do not see evidence for gradualism. In fact, there's no evidence whatsoever in the fossil record that evolution happens as gradual sophistication. Rather there's evidence for what Stephen J. Gould called “Punctuated Equilibria” that every so often, there's a “Quantum Leap” — and a whole new feature comes into being on Planet Earth.
So, it's not this gradual ascent but instead there are punctuated jumps. If we were brought up in the Judeo–Christian model, we probably subscribe to the following tenets. That there's only one Universe. That there's only life on one planet in the Universe. And although we know that there are at least 150 billion galaxies containing about 150 billion solar systems in each galaxy, we claim that life is only on one of these planets. Then we claim that on this planet, there's only one species that has a soul, and that's the human species. And we claim that there's either a chosen race or a particular religion that God particularly loves.
We think that we only get one shot at life. And then, at the end of this lifetime there's a judgment and that we're concerned that with the thumbs down we go to Hell. And with the thumbs up and we go to Heaven. So, that's pretty much what most of us have been brought up to believe. That's one model of cosmology. I see it very differently.
I do not believe that we live in a Universe. I believe that we live in a Metaverse that has given birth to a pluraformity of Multiverses. And that this little Universe that we inhabit is one little baby connected to other little babies in the womb by black holes and white holes and that literally we live in a bubble bath of Universes, each of which is precious to God. And this particular Universe, we now know has more than 800 exoplanets — planets similar to Earth that exist in solar systems apart from our solar system. The probability is that there are billions of such exoplanets. To think that life only exists on this one is absolutely ridiculous. It's like thinking that the Earth is flat. There are other life forms out there much more advanced than us.
Are we the only creatures that have souls? I don't believe that for a moment. I think that every sentient being has a soul. And, I believe, there are different levels of soul. There are souls that inhabit human spacesuits. And they're fairly sophisticated, but they are not anything as sophisticated as the souls that decide to inhabit and to vitalize, let's say, a planet, or a galaxy.
So, I think, for instance, that Planet Earth itself has a soul. And that this soul volunteered more than 4.6 billion years ago, to inhabit the third rock from the Sun in our particular solar system and to breed life until it brought forth a life form capable of experiencing and recognizing its own divinity and therefore the divinity of all else that is. So everything — from spiders to elephants to daffodils — has a soul and they're all precious to God. A banana slug is no less important to God than an Avatar, as far as I'm concerned. And there is not just one lifetime to accomplish this journey of evolution. We get as many lifetimes as we need.
And there isn't a judgment at the end of this process. There's a self–evaluation. There's a sitting with a mentor to figure out, “Did I really accomplish what I set out to accomplish in the incarnation I just finished? Or is there work I still need to do?” And there is no such thing as a Heaven. And there is no such thing as a Hell, a place we go to and say, “Whew! I made it” or “Damn, I'm screwed for all eternity.” There are no such Heavens or Hells.
We create the Heavens that we're ready to meet. And we fashion the Hells that we're stuck in because of our belief system and our lifestyle. But they're all temporary. The Heavens are temporary. And the Hells are temporary. We'll outgrow the Hells. And we'll outgrow even the Heavens, when we finally realize that we have to keep thinking outside the box — or we realize, ultimately, that there is only God. And we are God in drag.
Therefore, we can let go of all the in–between that happens and be at one with Source. So, for me, that's what the evolutionary trajectory looks like as we wing our way back to God.
My next point is to look at life itself as it's planted and tended. So, where does life come from in this little Universe? We believe that the Universe is 13.7 billion years of age. But we know that our planet is only 4.6 billion years old. And so, there are parts of this Universe which are literally three times older than Planet Earth. Do we want to believe that for two–thirds of the existence of this Universe nothing happened — and that life then began to breed only on Planet Earth?
For me, that's ridiculous. I'm totally convinced that life started elsewhere long before it started on Planet Earth. And it became very complex long before Planet Earth was seeded. Later on, life was planted on Planet Earth. By whom? And how? When Sir Francis Drake, the discoverer of DNA, was asked about this he said, “I believe it is through directed panspermia, that spores came from outer space and settled on Planet Earth and began to grow.” And when somebody asked him, “How could spores exist in inter–galactic space?” he said,“because they were sent here in specially designed capsules.” Now, I think actually, it's a bit more hands–on than that.
I don't think that some extraordinary extra-terrestrial civilization bombarded Planet Earth with capsules filled with spores of life, but rather that the ET’s themselves visited here. I believe that many different extra–terrestrial societies, much more advanced than we are, visited the Planet and treated it as a garden. And they planted the garden. And they've come back regularly. And they've weeded the garden. And they've fertilized the garden. And sometimes they've grafted new stuff onto it and they genetically modified it. And then, finally, as we've read in the Scriptures, they created us in their own image and likeness. So what does that mean? That they finally bred a life form that somehow resembled those who planted the garden.
Now, are these gardeners the ineffable Source? No, we are simply talking about some very advanced civilizations that literally planted, tended, fertilized and genetically modified this garden and continued to look after it. We read in the Hebrew Scriptures, in the book of Genesis, that some kinds of “Sky Gods” made us in their own image and likeness.
And moreover, they got infatuated with the human beings and began to breed with them. There's a very strange statement in the Book of Genesis, in Chapter 6, where it says, “The Sons of God found the Daughters of Men to be really attractive and they took them to wife as many as they wanted and they created a great race called the Nephilim.” They give the race two names in the Hebrew Scriptures. Sometimes it's called the “Nephilim”. Sometimes it's called the “Anakim”. And according to the Scriptures which we believe are the word of God, the Sons of God — whoever they are — found the Daughters of Men — whoever they are — to be very attractive. And they took them to wife. And they bred with them and created a race called the “Nephilim” or “Anakim”.
And so, in the Scriptures there's a lot of evidence that life on Planet Earth didn't just happen. It was seeded. It was planted. And it was tended. And my belief system is that there were many such civilizations that visited. Now, the tendency is that when a very technologically sophisticated civilization meets a very primitive group, the primitive group always presumes that the others are Gods.
During World War II, when the Japanese and American air forces landed in the Polynesian Islands and brought supplies, the local population thought that they were Gods and started imitating their rituals. They created runways and built model aircraft hoping that these “Gods” would come back with more cargo. That's how they became known as “cargo cults”.
And so, I am convinced personally, that religion — as distinct from spirituality — is literally the false worship of advanced civilizations by primitive people. And we are the primitive people who continue to believe that some kinds of “Sky Gods”, who just merely are advanced civilizations, are in fact, Source. And we defer to this false Source.
An Avatar is the transcendence of God reaching down into the immanence of God. It is the ineffableness of God revealing itself in the human story. And so, it's like a downward–pointing triangle. And a Buddha means human excellence reaching toward the Divine. It is our humanness trying to align totally with our divine nature and finding its way back to the transcendence of God. It’s like an upward–pointing triangle.
And, if you look at these two triangles intersecting, you get a Star of David. This is a beautiful symbol of what happens between the Avatar and Buddha.
And so, the Avatar is where transcendence expresses itself in the human arena; and the Buddha is where an excellent human being — virtuous and aligned fully — reaches back towards innate divinity. That is the connection we have between the two aspects of God — the transcendence and the immanence — between the manifest realms and the ineffable mystery itself.
Souls exist in timelessness. And, at some stage, all souls sign up for some kind of incarnational experiences where they voluntarily self–limit in order to try to feel what it would be like to be separated from Source and to forget, temporarily that they are bite–size pieces of God. What would it be like to try work our way back? What musculature would we have to develop to force ourselves to remember who we really are?
At some stage, every soul is going to volunteer for separation from Source. They're not all going to come to Planet Earth. Some will go to different planetary systems. Some will go into different dimensions. But all of them will strap themselves into this kind of game that God plays, which I call “Hide–and–Go‐Seek”. God plays “Hide–and–Go‐Seek” with Herself. She tends to manifest aspects of Herself which forget that they are aspects of Herself. And they act as if they're separated from each other, from nature and from Source.
The game then begins to become “Can You Remember?” In the middle of all the vicissitudes of incarnation, “Can you remember that you're not separated from anybody else and that you're not separated from nature, and that you're not separated from Source?” That becomes the soul's game of walking its way back.
And so, every single one of us has volunteered for that. And when we volunteered, none of us came down as individuals. We came down roped together in what I call “Soul Pods”. So, we find that there are people in our lives with whom we move from incarnation to incarnation. The roles are different from lifetime to lifetime. And the relationships are different. Genders may be different. The I.Q. level may be different. The socio–economic status may be different. The ethnicity may be different. The religious affiliation may be different. But it is the same pod, the same group of souls, moving from incarnation to incarnation, creating a drama which affords every individual soul the ideal circumstances in order to develop a particular virtue or virtues that they want to work on for the incarnation, whether that's compassion, courage, patience, integrity — or whatever it is.
And we also bring into our life people from, what I call our “Shadow Pod” — people in our lives who really test us. And they're as important to us as the people who love us, because we need weeders and fertilizers in our garden in order to make the garden thrive. And we need weeders and fertilizers in our psyche and in our spirituality in order to make our souls advance and grow. So, we bring into our lives, by agreement, people whom we find really, really difficult to love. And that's why Jesus would say, “You must love your enemies.” He's not talking about lying down and letting people walk all over you. He's saying, “Recognize that you've contracted with each other, that these people are part of your life to test you and to weed your life.”
So, the best part of volunteering to be human is that we come with basically four aspects — physicality, emotionality, intellectuality and personality. And each of these is just equipment for the journey. Physicality is the spacesuit we inhabit with the particular organs and sensorium. And that's part of what we need in order to experience incarnation. We also come with an innate gift of emotionality so that we can relate to life — not on just a physical level — but on the level of compassion. We come with intellectuality, so that we have the mind's ability to reason and to think about thinking. And we come with a personality, which is the interface between the spacesuit and the environment.
And there's one last point to be said about the equipment. I'm going to distinguish between the brain and consciousness. I am totally against the materialistic, reductionist scientific model we have in the West which claims that consciousness is merely an epiphenomenon, a brain activity, a bio–electronic circuitry, which in the process of performing, creates the illusion of consciousness. For me, that's absolutely pathetic. So, rather I believe that the brain is simply a tuning mechanism that consciousness uses to broadcast in a particular wavelength.
Thinking that the brain produces consciousness is like thinking that a TV set creates the ballgame. Imagine that you're watching on a small black and white TV. The 49ers are playing. And they play horribly! And you think, “Oh my God. If I can just rush out to Best Buy and get a 52-inch plasma high-definition screen and plug it in, the 49ers will play better.” That's how we think. We think that the size and ability of our brains are going to improve the quality of consciousness. The size and ability of our brain can improve the quality of the video but has no effect on the ballgame itself. Consciousness creates brain and uses brain as a transducing mechanism.
So, what are the rules of the “Game of Incarnation?” When you sign–up for incarnation, you become part of this experiment. One of the rules is that we have to learn to infer from our experiences how the system works. Inference is the ability to draw conclusions from and to recognize patterns in our experiences. One of the primary experiences is realizing that the Physical Universe, in which we live is, in fact, just the printout of a Metaphysical Universe.
The Greeks had two words for Universe: “Cosmos” meaning the physical Universe in which we find ourselves; and “Kosmos” meaning the metaphysical undergirding that's responsible for the physical articulation of the Universe. The Greeks were attempting to infer the existence of the “Kosmos” from their experience of the “Cosmos”. They were also attempting to infer how the system worked so that they could play the game of incarnation properly. For example, “The Law of Karma” says that every action has a consequence. If you like the consequence, keep doing the action. If you don't like the consequence, stop doing the action.
To learn to play the game, we have to become “Scientists of Spirituality”. The typical scientific method is that the scientist will amass a bunch of observations and data and begin to recognize patterns, create a hypothesis to explain the patterns and then set up an experiment to test the hypothesis. If the hypothesis is correct, then it is repeated and replicated in other laboratories. If the results are the same, it becomes a new scientific principle. A bunch of scientific principles creates a scientific model. But at some stage, anomalous data come in and we have to tweak our models. Sometimes there are so many anomalous data that we have to dismantle old models and erect new ones. This happened twice in the 20th century with quantum mechanics and relativity theory. The old Newtonian model was utterly inept at the microcosmic level and had to be totally revamped.
And, we have to do that with our spirituality also. In the course of our observations, we have to be awake. We have to collect data from our experiences. We have to recognize patterns and laws and test them. We have to cross–reference them with other people’s experiences and then re–establish some kind of cosmology or new laboratory for ourselves. So, we navigate through the system in a scientific fashion. Spirituality is a science that allows us to become “mysticists” — a word I coined many years ago.
A mysticist is a cross between a mystic and a scientist. It's the ability to be scientific about spirituality, as much as we are spiritual about science. By becoming mysticists, we opt for gnosis, instead of just dogma. And the most important rule of all is the “Law of Love”. Ultimately, the only thing that works is love. We can try greed, violence, anxiety, fear and anger. They all just create other situations with more anger and more fear and more depression and more violence. The only thing demonstrably showing that the system improves is acting with love. Because ultimately, the evolutionary trajectory is a single safari that started in God's womb and ended in God's heart.
So, what does the “Journey Back to God” look like? The first thing to realize is the philosophical fallacy of “The Myth of The Given”. This is the belief that our sensorium provides us with a radically accurate map of what exists. And it's a myth. It can't do that. All we can say is that we've got five senses with very narrow ranges. It's like we've got a tiny laptop between our ears. And when we apply our narrow group of senses and this little laptop we have a limited model of reality. If we had a bigger laptop and extended sensorium, we would have a totally different model of what's out there.
Even if you take the electromagnetic spectrum discovered by science, that's only a tiny portion. Obviously, there's a lot more to the electromagnetic spectrum than even modern science can comprehend. But, just take what we can detect at the moment, counting x-rays, gamma rays, heat rays, radio waves, TV waves and the visible spectrum. And stretch that out. Imagine it's a line connecting New York to Los Angeles. And then pick the visible part of that spectrum — the part that we can actually see. Do you want to guess how big it would be? It's the diameter of a dime! Of the entire electromagnetic spectrum, spanning three thousand miles, the visible portion is the diameter of a dime!
And we insist on making our maps of reality from that tiny slice. It's absolutely ludicrous. So, what do we need to do? We need to shift the wavelength. We need to shift the frequencies constantly and move into different kinds of experiences. We need to begin thinking and experiencing outside the box so that we can make our maps of reality less inaccurate. They will never be accurate. But they can be less inaccurate.
So, imagine that you're an explorer 200 years ago and you went to Africa. You heard of this continent called Africa. And you want to find out what kind of wildlife lives in the jungles in Africa. And you go to Africa with a hundred mousetraps. And you set them out in the forest. And then you come back a few days later and look and there's a mouse caught in each of these. And you think, “Wow, so Africa's jungles contain only mice!” If you put out mouse traps, you're only going to trap mice. What did you expect? Is an elephant going to be caught in a mouse trap?
And that's what we're doing with our little models of reality. We're setting mouse traps in the Cosmos and we're capturing just a little slice of reality. And, we're claiming that's all that exists. That's absolutely ludicrous. If you put out mouse traps in Africa, you're only going to catch mice. If you put out this tiny mindset, you're only going to catch material science. So, we need the courage to change the channels, to experiment constantly with altering our states of consciousness.
And when we do that we'll have real–time experiences with different energies and entities. And then we can bring them back and cross–fertilize what we’ve learned with our current models and extend what we believe.
Recently, I was making a pilgrimage near my home where I have the 23 stations of my “Eucharistic Prayer of the Cosmos”. At each station, I ring a bell and say the prayer for that station. As I walked, I had a realization, “I need to create a simple equation of enlightenment.” Here’s what I came up with.
“E” stands for Enlightenment. E = AX1 + BX2 + CX3 + DX4. X1 stands for Self-Understanding, or Self-Identification. X2 stands for Intelligence. X3 stands for Wisdom. And X4 stands for Compassion. So, if you add these four variables and weight them appropriately (A, B, C, D), you have an Equation of Enlightenment.
X1 is Self-Awareness — to the extent that we misidentify with our physical bodies and the physical world — we cannot become enlightened. We have yet to realize that we are “Spirits in Spacesuits”, “Souls on Safari” on Planet Earth — and that we are bite-size pieces of God. Until we come to that Self-Awareness, there's no chance of becoming enlightened beings.
X2 is Intelligence, the ability to understand, manipulate and control our physical environment, our physical bodies and the communities in which we live and maybe even our planet.
X3 is Wisdom, the ability and faculty of understanding and aligning with the Metaphysical Universe — not the Physical Universe. It’s the ability to understand and align fully with the Kosmic principles.
And, X4, Compassion, is the ability and practice of treating all sentient beings as my neighbor.
As I played with this equation, I began to wonder, “What if each variable were measured on a scale of zero to 100?” Zero being total absence and 100 being perfection. What would it look like to score 95 on Self-Awareness? It would be to really understand that I have a body. But I'm not my body. I have emotions. But I'm not my emotions. I have an intellect. But, I'm not my intellect. I have a personality. But, I'm not my personality. I'm a bite-size piece of God.
Intelligence would represent my ability to understand how the physical Cosmos works. How people operate. What creates cultures. What makes me happy or sad. Wisdom would be my realization of how the Metaphysical Universe works.
When I came to Compassion, I realized that all of the others go from zero to 100. But Compassion goes from minus 100 to plus 100. On the others, you can’t score below zero. On Compassion you can. Not only can you lack Compassion completely. If you were a psychopath, you would take pleasure in either watching or inflicting torture on somebody else. So, you can actually score way below zero on Compassion.
Next, I created a six-column matrix. In the first column, I put the names of famous people: Jesus, The Buddha, Muhammad, Mahatma Gandhi, Einstein and Hitler. The second column was Self-Awareness. The third column was Intelligence. The fourth column was Wisdom. The fifth column was Compassion. And the sixth column was the total.
Then I plugged in a whole bunch of numbers. Where did I think Jesus was with Self-Awareness? How intelligent did I think he was? How much Wisdom and Compassion did he have? I did the same with The Buddha, Muhammad, Mahatma Gandhi, Einstein and Hitler.
I'm not going to tell you the results. But, I invite you to create a simple matrix of those four pieces: Self-Awareness, Intelligence, Wisdom and Compassion. And plug in any character you want and give them grades. Add them up. And find out. Also, place yourself into the equation to see where you fit in.
Last year, I co-authored and published a book with two other psychologists, Matt McKay and Ralph Metzner. The name of the book is: “Why? What Your Life is Telling You about Who You Are and Why You're Here”. In the book we try to dismantle old, dysfunctional cosmologies that say that the secret to happiness is to avoid pain, seek pleasure and pursue power. That hasn't worked for 100,000 years! We tried to write different cosmologies that put together the mission of the Universe, the mission of the Planet and help people identify what their particular mission might be. And there is a series of exercises so that you come into alignment with that mission.
My final point is that, “Life is like a Jigsaw Puzzle”. If you were to scatter all the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle on a table, the first thing you would do is identify the four corner pieces and put those in place. Next you would identify the straight lines and put those in place. Then you have three clues for the rest of the pieces: contours, colors and the picture on the box.
So, what are the four pillars of your understanding of life? What are the lines that hold you together and round out your life? And what are the colors and contours of the experiences you had as you put the pieces together? And, most importantly, do you have any idea of what picture is on the box? If you don't have any idea of what the picture is, there’s no way you can create the puzzle.
The picture on the box is “You”. The picture on the box is your divine face. And the greatest part of it all is that when you throw the contents of the box on the table, you have to realize immediately that everything that's there is necessary. And, everything that's necessary to complete your life’s mission is there. You're not going to wind up with 15 pieces left over.
And so, the greatest tragedy of all is the person who comes to their elder years with big gaps in the jigsaw puzzle of their life — and a whole bunch of pieces that have never been used. You know that you're living life to the fullest if there are no holes in your jigsaw puzzle and there are no pieces left aside.
2nd: Community-Led Meditation
3rd: Extended Homily, Q&A