I opened up one of my favorite books last week and stumbled upon a mystic. The writing had always attracted me with its immediacy. The plot and the description drew me in erasing the separation between story and experience. Fiction and non-fiction blurred as the writing nudged me toward the truth.
“…Afterwards we will be as one animal of the forest and be so close that neither one can tell that one of us is one and not the other. Can you not feel my heart be your heart?”
“Yes. There is no difference.”
“Now, feel. I am thee and thou art me and all of one is the other. And I love thee, oh, I love thee so. Are you not truly one? Canst thou not feel it?”
“Yes,” he said. “It is true.”
“And feel now. Thou hast no heart but mine.”
“Nor any other legs, nor feet, nor of the body.”
“But we are different,” she said. “I would have us exactly the same.”
“You do not mean that.”
“Yes I do. I do. That is a thing I had to tell thee.”
“You do not mean that.”
“Perhaps I do not,” she said speaking softly with her lips against his shoulder. “But I wished to say it. Since we are different I am glad that thou art Roberto and I Maria. But if thou should ever sigh to change I would be glad to change. I would be thee because I love thee so.”
“I do not wish to change. It is better to be one and each one to be the one he is.”
“But we will be one now and there will never be a separate one.” Then she said, “I will be thee when thou are not here. Oh, I love thee so and I must care well for thee.”
The matter of fact-ness of the dissolution of personal boundaries had slipped by me in previous readings. I had dismissed it as “just love.” But there was more here. Martin Buber’s I- thou distinction appears here, but is muddied in the mystical haze we are each called to enter. The subject-subject relationship here takes on a meaning familiar to lovers and mystics alike. There are no longer ideas or philosophies between the two. The relationship takes on an ontological immediacy. Being joins being. It is more than emotional intimacy. It is more than physical closeness or union. It pushes further than words. It moves into eternity and spirit that offers a glimmer of the resurrection and the symbolic key for the meaning of the book and the events that unfold.
Further on in the book the main character shows a similar dynamic in a dialogue with himself. It demonstrates insight into self-awareness and the perduring nature of the I-thou relationship. He has become aware of himself in a new way while the relationship with his beloved continues within him.
“And you, he said to himself, I am glad to see you getting a little something back that was badly missing for a time. But you were pretty bad back there. I was ashamed enough of you, there for a while. Only I was you. There wasn’t any me to judge now. We were all in bad shape. You and me and both of us. Come on now. Stop thinking like a schizophrenic. One at a time, now. You’re all right again now…”
A relationship is a mystery and an adventure. A real relationship with God is an adventure which most people are unwilling to undertake. To relate to the divine you must be willing to encounter what philosophers would predict. It is omnipotence. It is omniscience and omnipresence. For the Christian, encountering our God takes us into a darkness beyond even the philosophical power of the omni-ness of God. He takes us to a place where we are called to relate to God. To open ourselves to one that seeks us. We are called to love one that suffers and dare to seek union even there.
When is the last time that you followed God’s whisper to come along on a divine adventure? All I did was open a book, and I found myself dropping inside the Universe and falling in love all over again.
Who do you think the author is? Have you bumped into a mystic lately?