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Comes over one an absolute necessity to move. And what is more, to move in some particular direction.  A double necessity then: to get on the move, and to know whither.
-- D.H. Lawrence

"God is only a direction given to love, not its object," wrote the poet Ranier Maria Rilke. It is no more correct to say we move toward God than to say a fish moves toward water.  As the pretense of self begins to fade, we discover that God is the element in which "we live and move and have our being," to steal a phrase from St. Paul.  God is therefore as much our starting point as our destination.  Nonetheless, as awareness grows of something beyond ourselves, we may have a sense of moving in a certain direction.

Does it matter which way we go?  There are many well-worn paths, and most will get you somewhere.  Sooner or later, however, you come to a place where there are no trail markers.  You can usually tell when you have reached the frontier, because sentries have been posted.  Rest assured they are not there to keep you out; they are there to keep you in.

More than 40 years ago, the physicist David Bohm began a series of dialogues with the Eastern spiritual master J. Krishnamurti.  Bohm later said that the most important advice Krishnamurti gave him was this: “Begin with the unknown.”  This might seem like an odd thing to say to a theoretical physicist who made a number of pioneering contributions to the field of quantum mechanics.  However, the Western scientific model is based on moving from the known to the unknown, whereas Krishnamurti had something altogether different in mind.

In the quest for spiritual truth, if we begin with the known, we will most likely never get beyond that point.  We are in the realm of mere belief.  Instead, we must begin with the unknown and work backwards.  We can jump in anywhere, but why not with the fundamental question that Martin Heidegger posed: Why is there anything rather than nothing at all?   Once we have marinated in that one for a while, it starts to sink in that we don’t know the first thing about anything.  Far from advancing the frontiers of knowledge, we find ourselves rolling them back.  We wind up more or less where we began, as virtual newborns in a world that is strange, wonderful and utterly unfathomable.  Maybe now we’ll pay attention. 


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