Although this was written in 2017, it has become a key moment that continues to sustain and nurture this faith journey. I wish it for everyone. Have you had a moment like this – when the reality of God lifted you? I’d love to hear about it!
“Yesterday was the first time I was able to consciously, physically and fully awake, ‘step’ into the reality of God for an extended period of time. I’ve been there fleetingly before, with my eyes closed in worship. I’ve been able to imagine it, catch glimpses of it, sing about it, talk about it, see it in others, but mostly as if I was dreaming it, or just on the periphery of it. I’ve spoken about it. I’ve read about it. I’ve lived much of my life longing for it.
Yesterday, it was as if that True Reality opened up more fully; a Bigger Reality beyond current perception. I was kneeling beside a couch in my office, not praying, but listening to the starlings chatter in the palms, with the sunlight streaming through, and my hands resting on the shoulders of my little dog Daisy. Suddenly, it was as if I was breathing in a different atmosphere, fully awake, fully alive, fully aware; all my senses alive in the Presence of God and the Presence of God’s Peace. It was as if another dimension opened up within the first. The Kingdom of Heaven on Earth. And from what I write, it sounds as if it was a spectacular experience, like a cataclysmic event, but it was simply the settling of a quiet, warm, hushed peacefulness over the Earth, and over my Being – a breathtaking experience just before sunset.
Then I quickly realised that this new dimension was actually the Original. The First. The Intended. The Real Reality created by and for God. I realised that the other dimension in which have I lived much of my life is indeed what might be called The False Reality – one that so many others have tried to explain. This False Reality – a kind of vacuum within the First Reality – conducts its business as if God does not exist, or is just outside of it, distant and difficult to experience or understand. The False Reality screams: “This is all there is, so you’d better make the most and the best of it that you can. All that is beyond this realm is death and nothingness.” The False Reality is harsh and cruel and grey. We believe its lie, spoken to us from the moments we first doubt God, or were taught to.
For, I realised too, as I knelt beside Daisy, and heard her quiet breathing, and listened to the birds, that all of creation still exists within the Original Reality, living and moving and breathing within it, within the very real Presence of God, but suffering, suffering, suffering because of us. We have constantly sucked it into the False Reality; abused it, treated it cruelly and harshly. And I was indeed aware, as I looked into Daisy’s deep brown eyes, that all of creation indeed, as St Paul writes in Romans 8, longs for, waits, and quietly groans, for the day of liberation from our False Reality.
And I was aware that all children are born into the Original Reality and are super-sensitive to it; designed to live within it, but we draw them into the False Reality so quickly, so readily, through our doubts and our sinful behaviours. Children depend upon us to be part of manifesting the Original Reality to them, but if we are living and moving and breathing in that False Reality without the Spirit of God, we are not able to do this for ourselves, let alone our children.
I realised too that death is merely the gateway into the Original Reality where God is. It is the place where my mother already is, the place to which Daisy will go, and I will go, and all of us who love God and yearn for God, will go. The place where the False Reality can no longer affect us, touch us, confuse us, or draw us out of the Presence of God ever again. The place where everything will be gloriously and peacefully interconnected. It is a beautiful, beautiful place. We will merely move from this dimension into the next and be more fully with God – as Paul says – caught up into the Third Heaven. And, who knows? There may be many other dimensions of God, deeper and more beautiful, to which we might go. I can only speak with humble compassion (and I hope without arrogance) for those who still don’t know God, except to say that sadly the False Reality has perhaps so clouded and obscured their experience, life, judgement, and soul, that they cannot and will not, dare to conceive of a God of Love, or an Original Reality. But I know that God wants us all to be in God’s presence.
I was also keenly aware in that space that as believers we can live in the Will of God and in the Love of God. We can live within the Will of God (God’s yearning) by our righteous actions, moral living, good stewardship, and justice; and we can live in the Love of God by our kindness, generosity, forgiveness and care for others. I realised that some of us live much of our lives in the Will of God, and that this pleases God. However, sometimes such souls will not allow themselves to trust too much in the Love of God or experience it, and this saddens God. Others, like me, live much of our lives within the Love of God, but many times outside the Will of God, and we please God, but also sadden God. When we live in the False Reality, outside the Love of God, so our sinfulness can centre around, unkindness, unforgiveness, harsh words, anger, impatience, arrogance and self-righteousness. When we live in the False Reality, outside the Will of God, so our sinfulness can centre around disobedience, poor stewardship, lack of control of appetites and desires, inconsistency, and waywardness. This is the story of the two sons and the Prodigal Father. The elder son lives in the Will of God, but not in the Love; the younger lives in the Love, but not in the Will. The Father longs for both children to live with him, in the house and on the land, within his Love and within his Will.
I rested for some time in that quiet space – that immediate consciousness of the Presence of God. It was Heaven and I did not want to leave it. Eventually hunger drove me to go and get something to eat. While doing so, an item was not available for me at the shop, and I felt a sudden surge of impatience and immediately afterward, deep sadness at this impatience because it interrupted and disturbed the inner peace I had just experienced. I was dismayed at how instantly the False Reality could draw me in and frustrate me. The peace eventually returned and I was able to then continue conversing with God. Just before bed, a friend sent me a particularly pessimistic message. I became so unexpectedly angry, sad and frustrated with this person who is struggling with their own frustrations and doubts. I was attempting to reach out and comfort, but they came back at me with a regular anger about life, despair, disbelief, and demands. I realised again that I can’t cope on my own with other people’s problems. I realised that other’s negativity, neediness and anger, deeply affect my negativity, neediness and anger. This affects my emotions and my being fully alive of the Presence of God. This made me so sad. I do not blame anyone at all. I cannot. I dare not, for I must make account for my own reactions that were sinful.
I realised that the False Reality has so attuned me to a habitual response to certain things; that I am so instantly sucked back into its ways of responding that it is difficult for me to then return to the place of equilibrium in the Presence of God. In fact, it was actually a scary experience. I don’t want to be drawn into the False Reality again. I don’t want to live there.
And so I think, that to live fully in the Presence of God, I might need to attempt to live both within the Love of God and the Will of God. That these two things need to align in my life. I will need to begin to unravel and slowly desist from my habitual responses to things that the False Reality has taught me. I don’t completely know quite what this means yet, but I hope that living more awake in the Presence of God will help.
I am awake again today. Truly awake. Fully alive. And I pray that I may not too readily slip into that other world again. I want to keep breathing in this air until I am fully changed and ever more obedient.”