The universe is the outcome of imagination. Then why try to acquire knowledge of the imaginative universe instead of plumbing the depths of your real Self?

(Meher Baba)

A couple of days ago, I saw a little bird on the floor, just across the glass door that leads to my backyard. So close. He was a little sparrow, dressed in its many shades of tan and brown and white. His minuscule body was so puffed up, he looked like a feather ball. It was cold and his body was shivering, I do not know if because of the low temperature or the deep shock of crashing against the glass door. I identified with him or her, feeling the same shock I have felt when life smacks me hard and cuts my flight. So fragile, so tender. A drop of life, like a morning drop of dew about to fall, so simple and delicate and marvelous. It took my mind away from the morning chores and I drifted away into memories.

I remember when, as a child, I became aware of being. I remember feeling awed by everything. Maybe this is something every child feels. I also remember once, seeing another child in a car next to ours, pondering about it and asking my mother why I belonged to my family and not that other one. During those early years, I felt I was waking up into a dream, or landing on a strange planet. I was enchanted by my body unit, and by the surrounding scenario, all was magic.

I imagine if circumstances would have been precarious, surrounded by hunger, violence, lovelessness, or fear, I would have been terrified. My first shock came when as a 4-year-old I found my little puppy that had strangled himself overnight, trying to free himself from a leash. That day I discovered that life ended, that beings you love pass away. And for some time, I was scared to go to bed at night and wake up to find my parents dead.

It was somehow the birth of curiosity, about why you live to then die, what was being all about. I guess we all have that thought. Some pursue the question with more intensity than others, some make it a personal journey, others delegate it to intermediaries, or just keep on moving, without paying much attention to the why. After all, there is so much distraction in this life.

I grew up with keen interest, in life and death and what is the purpose of this passing show. First, I looked at the answers provided by the elder’s beliefs, in my case Catholicism (with which I was at first very engaged and shortly thereafter disappointed), then I explored philosophers, religious teachings from other cultures, the writings of mystics on spirituality, scientists on the materialistic worldview, and lastly the poets. I browsed writings that pondered about the question: “What I am doing here?”.

As intense as I was about this search, I was passionate about life. Still today at the end of the road, all these mixed feelings, the flights of spirit and sensuality, laughter, flashes of understanding, ignorance so cold, moments of felt wholeness, and the so many equivocations and resulting pains, sometimes crowd my bed. They tempt me, uplift me, tickle me, and depress me, and we all end up laughing, for we have been together for a long time. We have become old friends.

One day, in my late twenties, when I was so sure of myself, happy to have found a good working hypothesis of why being, while at the same time feeling the height of fascination with the world around me, I met this older man, a Chilean mining engineer. We became coffee friends at work, and one day he said to me, let me look at your hands. I still remember the intensity on his face, with its pronounced Mapuche features, as he read the lines in my hands, and said: “Boy you have a dog fight going on within you.”

After many dead ends, trying to find answers to the whence and wither question, I experienced for an instant, unexpectedly, an inner window, a sort of revelation, a subtle embrace from an essential being within me, that was associated with my awareness and awe, rather than with my personality ID and its experiences. And through that fleeting experience, my mind accepted the working hypothesis, that life was the result of Existence imagining itself. Why? To manifest love.

Just an instant,
an iota of space.
A blinking of an eye,
a flash inside.
A grace unplanned,
revealing things,
never to understand.
Intimacy sublime.
A furrow, a seed perhaps,
a slow-motion unfoldment,
that takes no time.
Eyes of soul unto soul,
birthing a song,
announcing the sun.
Everything is alright,
in an instant sublime.

I have tried to verbalize that instant, but I can’t really describe what lies beyond thought. Let’s say perception changed. That suddenly the senses made no sense. My vision was looking without focus. Instead of discerning discrete forms, I was “seeing” a continuum of fuzzy clouds, that were containers of unknown agglomerations and processes. As if I had been, gifted and cursed at the same time, with having a powerful telescope and an ultramicroscope in front of my eyes.

I was just another cloud, having the awareness that all was a magical simultaneous dream. Streams of thought and reasoning were volatile, intermingling currents of time, space, memories, relationships, preferences, dislikes, fears, and all assorted feelings combined into a strange and blurred identification, with a particular sense of individuality, cast by a faux ID resulting from interaction with surrounding clouds.

It is hard to explain that non-moment with the language used to communicate perceptions which are “normal” when senses are precise. Symbols, congregated in linear formations to create conversations, self-definitions, and descriptions, cannot grasp a state of being, where consciousness is comprehensive and free. This consciousness goes well beyond, association with a female or male form, being born here or there, trained to function around cultural and social parameters and beliefs. Images, associated with traditions, allegiances, or revulsions, that are used, arbitrarily, to classify, compare and categorize, were not present in that instantaneous mode, of resplendence continuum. It cannot be appreciated by the mind and physical senses.

Thoughts, words, and concepts of all kinds try to bring some light but leave the mysteries of to be or not to be, unsolved. So, we go around interacting, mostly in a reactive way, following patterns and codes that define each cloud, without really understanding their nature and much less the common threads, that link the continuum and give meaning to being, Being, here, and now.

At that instant, when the awareness of being was experienced, all shapes dispersed into nothing, like dream scenes upon waking up. Just being aware of Being was all, and it was whole, timeless, joyful, like a perpetual embrace of love.

The awe of that moment revealed a wholeness -a unified field of love. And feeling it was not an abstract imagination, based on theology and philosophy, a wishful thought, a palliative from the ups and down contrasts of duality. It was an unexplainable manifestation of a love profound, warm, and personal, that transcended boundaries and communicated simultaneously, at all levels, an innocent fragility, and the most powerful energy in the very same embrace. A mischievous, friendly, creative, spontaneous, humorous, and compassionate existence that flows unto itself to be, but that always is.

The memory of that instant has accompanied me through many decades, as I oscillated, pondered, and learned through many ups and downs, those persistent companions that still today, getting close to the end of the journey, sometimes jump on my bed to frolic. I never could sort out with mental efforts what life is all about, yet that fleeting moment that allowed a peek inside, was always there with me, beyond my conceptual thinking to understand. I carried it in my heart.

The sparrow was still alive. I opened the glass door and moved my shoe gently under his panting chest, to see if I would break the shock. Instead, the bird sort of bent forward and crawled on the front of my right shoe, holding to the shoelaces with the beak.

Once there, the bird became motionless again. I slowly sort of walked in one foot without making any motions in my right foot, where he was taking a ride, and walked to a wooden bench nearby. Using my leg as an elevator, raised the bird to bench level and gently made him slide out. He was still puffed and motionless.

I softly caressed his wings and head, with one finger, he was so small, and as I did, he lost his puffiness and looked like a streamlined sparrow, although still paralyzed in shock. I spoke to him briefly in human, about well, you will make it, life is beautiful, I love you and so on, as I caressed his wings and head. He turned his head sideway looking upwards and I swear he looked at me straight in my eyes, with that little black pinhead point of an eye, that sparkled with life. Somehow, he communicated to me, that feeling of being, that fragility, and power of being, the marvel of life. And it was like saying: “Thanks, I will be alright.”

It touched my heart. For an instant, the glance of the sparrow brought back the personal, mischievous, creative, spontaneous, humorous, and compassionate Existence that flowed into itself to be, but that always is.

After an hour, the little sparrow opened its wings and flew away.

Everyone has moments of happiness, glimpses of truth, fleeting experiences of union with God; what they want is to make them permanent. They want to establish an abiding reality amid constant change.

(Meher Baba)