This morning, I was riding my motorcycle to work when I realized, again, how perfect everything is: the glint of the sun on the edge of my visor, the bumpiness of the road, and the cracks in the tarmac; every single thing, every single detail. I found my attention wandering, looking for something that was not perfect. I discovered internal parts of myself that I would not usually consider perfect, such as anxiety, fear, and frustration, and perceived those also as perfect. It discovered and enjoyed the parts of myself that fight with reality.
There is a sacredness in reality which can be experienced in every moment and in every place. People argue that God does not exist, yet it is clearly apparent right in front of us, everywhere we look, and in everything we perceive. It is the substrate of everything that exists. Calling this God “reality” would make it no less sacred. Scientists worship it by observing it closely while artists catalogue it by capturing its essence.
The feeling of reality, when it is deeply perceived, when the perceiver is perceived in itself, is profound and sacred. It is deeply compelling; much more so than dry cognitive concepts, which are attempts to divide reality up into categorized pieces, which are attempts to understand the whole by understanding each of its pieces in isolation, which are attempts to model reality inside a limited mind. In contrast, the at-once perception of unity woven throughout reality can move us to tears whenever and wherever it is experienced.
Even the most horrifyingly traumatic moments are imbued with this exquisite beauty and wholeness. It cannot be excluded from anywhere as it is the stuff that reality is made of. And it’s hidden in plain sight. We miss it only because we choose to pretend it’s not there all the time. It’s perceivable simply by paying close attention. It’s here with us right now.
Now and then, the clouds of my mental impurities (the struggling) clear and, as happened this morning, the perfection of reality is able to shine through. In these moments, I am able to perceive this perfection. I work daily to clear my lens with the cloth of Vipassana meditation, purifying my unconscious mind with awareness and equanimity.
I don’t believe in God any more that I believe in my own hands. I can both see my hands with my eyes, and I can feel them from the inside. I can touch my face with my hands, and I can use their sense of touch to experience other things. I don’t see God as a separate entity to be worshiped as special only because it is everywhere, including here. I am no more a theist than a pedestrian is a footist or a car driver is a carist. I am atheist only in the sense that I worship the pedestal upon which the deity rests as much as the deity itself.