The theory of the Big Bang is fascinating. There’s this place(?) before space and time, where everything, seriously everything, is this one finite and infinite thing(?) smaller than measurably small. This compression of everything beyond possible compression where matter and energy are one.
Then, it explodes into the universe. Exploding. Expanding. Still expanding. I’m always fascinated by what’s beyond that it’s expanding in to and what it is that’s before space and time and matter and energy. I’m fascinated that it continually expands. Getting bigger. More space. More space. I’m fascinated that everything, everything, was once in this impossibly compressed place(?) before the big bang.
I’m fascinated by the idea that it is theorized that one day, it will all compress back into this finite and infinite thing before space and time.
Perhaps the human experience(?) of this could be Eden. And, this isn’t something you have to believe. This is to get our minds to contemplate possibilities: right, wrong, unknowable. It’s all the great Mystery. Let’s ponder the mysteries and the Mystery.
Eden is this place where everything, and everyone, Belongs. Belonging and Oneness. Beings are created by God’s hand. The Garden is created by God’s hand. Humans are created by God’s hand, in God’s image. Everything, and everyone, is connected, at One, with God. Perhaps it is a place before time and space?
With those who are “spiritual, but not religious”, we hear this idea lot these days: that we are all connected and we need to get back to that Universal Oneness. Many of us may believe this. We are all one with God (or the Divine/Universe) and with one another. The goal is to come back to realizing our connected Oneness. There is even the argument that all gods are One Universal God. All Paths are one path. Again, nothing to believe, or disbelieve, just mysteries to ponder to help inform our faith and our own path.
Perhaps The Fall can be likened to a version of the Big Bang. On a microcosm level, a human level. The point where humans are flung out and separated from the One. God. The choice made, and eaten, to be separate from God and the garden. The choice for stuff. My apple. My garden. My home. My body, my shame. My wisdom. My actions, my guilt, my regret.
This separation from the One, God, meant the creation of veils or guarded Garden gates. UnBelonging. This idea that I am separate from God, separated by a Gate. That I am separate from you. That I am separate from the Earth and the Universe. The garden gate closes and we are flung out into separateness. From God. From one another. And, honestly, we embraced it. And still do.
Me and mine. You and yours. Others and them.
Everything has moved toward an outward looking way of being. Looking out towards the end of the universe. How far is it possible to go? Outward?
Looking ahead on my path to my goals and my dreams and my aspirations. How far is it possible for me to go? How much is it possible for me to get? Looking at me and my own, as if the answers lie outside of one’s self. Looking outward to find answers.
There’s this continual “flinging” outward. Of the universe and of us. Away from one another and away from God. This separateness keeps growing and getting bigger. With an expanding universe, it can only create more space between. With an expanding away from the Garden, there can only be more space between us.
In so many ways, we are becoming more and more separate. Perhaps, it is this continual flinging outward from the Garden, The Fall. Bigger separation. Bigger gaps. I was a flight attendant once upon a time, the world is truly our back yard, but we don’t visit our next door neighbors (well, we do, more than others, but even us, in our small town, “get busy”). We separate from those closest to us in to Me and Mine. Separate.
It seems that even just in the last decades we’ve become more separate. Not long ago, even in the big cities, there was more of a “village” mentality. We’d discipline kids as a community. I know that even if I didn’t like it, most of the time I deserved it when a neighbor yelled at me for misbehaving. Sometimes, I didn’t, but Mom taught me it was a lesson in other people’s differences of opinions and that I should remember that Mrs. So&So didn’t have any tolerance for XYZ.
Everyone’s yard was everyone’s playground. Mr. So&So’s pool was everyone’s pool. Now, it’s my backyard and my pool and my kids. We’d never discipline another person’s kids, often even within families. We worry (fear) that we might offend someone by discipling in a way that doesn’t fit another’s idea of what’s appropriate for them. We’re afraid and in a lot of ways it’s just plain easier to separate and not have to deal with differing opinions.
It’s my pool. I worked for my pool. I don’t have to share and be inconvenienced. We worry (fear) that someone might get hurt on our watch.
I’m not saying that this isn’t all fine, but it’s something to think about as we become more and more separated to, I might argue, a dangerous degree.
It’s my work, my job, my kids, my stuff, my money. I’m smart and I’m more talented. We’ve separated ourselves through competition. Think of the amazing things we can do when we can work together and utilize our group resources? Last time you did a group project? We all hate it, but maybe it’s because we need practice in working together, knowing our strengths and weaknesses as individuals and in a group. Admitting and admiring without fear or competition.
We even separate ourselves by who’s more busy, more tired, like these are things to be proud of. We fight to be the best at being even the most sick and having the most hardest life. We forget that all that we have is built on a foundation that came before us, before us, and even before that. We’ve separated ourselves from our own lineages. We’ve become flung out and even more separate and more separate. And we keep looking ahead and rarely look behind with thanks for where we are.
We are isolated.
Suicide rates are astronomical. The mental health crisis is astronomical; there are WAIT LISTS to get into therapy. It’s unacceptable. The cases of simple loneliness is unacceptable.
The gaps just keep getting wider. Everything is getting bigger from the expansion of the Big Bang. We are separated from God, the Garden, and one another. We keep looking outside for answers. Filling our lives with more to try to fill that space and the ever growing void. The emptiness. Filling space. Seeking outward when the answers are within. Seeking stuff when the answers aren’t tangible.
Turn inward and we can connect to the Garden within. Within each of us is “the light in the soul that is uncreated and uncreatable” (M. Eckhart). The core within us that can not be separated from God/the Divine/the Universe. Turn inward and light that light and draw people toward the light. Toward connectedness.
I am often asked, what is the point of religion and churches? Especially in light of all the nonsense and messes and downright ugliness of organized religions recently. People are embarrassed by organized religion. By their own religions. They fear it and ask why must I come together when I can find God in the trees and nature and in my personal life? Why do I need a church?
Yes, there is the sacred in everything. Yes, you can find God everywhere. But in a world where we have become more and more disconnected from one another and God. Where we are flung out into the world and the gaps are becoming wider and wider, coming together creates places where we have to get out of the me and mine of life and come back to the ours. Places where we create pockets of connection and light and good in a world where separateness is breaking us apart and making it harder and harder to see the lights.
Yes, God can be found in solitude. Yes, bad can happen when we gather together and give someone too much power. But we can also do so much good. It’s important that we take back our faith from the hands of those who would do it harm. We must come together and not just turn our backs to what belongs to everyone and let those who would do harm stay in control. We must recreate pockets of shared sacred space and trust. Places of Love.
In a world where we are continually being pulled apart, coming together can begin to bridge the gap. Coming together can build bridges and begin to rebuild a Garden. In that Garden and reconnecting, we can find God and hope for our world.