In the wake of a senseless shooting like the one that happened recently at a holiday party in California, we all ask: "Why?" Each of us has our own attempted answer, and that is certainly OK. But it is important as well to allow such questions to become absorbed in a LARGER question that does not originate with us. In a situation like this, those of us who experience life from a generally theistic perspective will find ourselves asking GOD: "Where ARE you in times like this?" But from a mystical point of view, this question is simply the echo of a PRIOR question that constitutes the very Source of our being. This question is NOT asked by us. Rather, it is asked BY GOD of US:
"Where are YOU?"
In the final analysis, the only reason why any of us believes in God - or in whatever alternate name or non-name we might give the Ultimate Reality - is because GOD first believes IN US. God - not we - is always the first questioner in the field. This silent question, in fact, is what creates us. It is therefore God's question of us that echoes within our question of God. For at least a few moments, then, let us strip ourselves of our own question and enter into the dry, barren and answerless desert of the heart. For in that inner desert we will discover an austere beauty that is rooted in GOD'S question of us. This question can only be "heard" from a place of silence, peace and tranquility - all qualities that are needed to build a more peaceful and just world. As the famous quote says: "We must BE the change we wish to see in the world." GOD, after all, is depending upon it! Rather than seeking answers to our own question of God, let us for a moment allow that very question to GRASP and ABSORB us, as though from Behind or Beyond us. For what we believe is our own question is actually NOT ours at all. And it is THIS realization that will empower us to begin the transformation of our crazy, chaotic world.
Photo: View west from the Green River Overlook in Canyonlands National Park, UT, November 30, 2015
Stephen Hatch, M.A. is a spiritual teacher and photographer from Fort Collins, Colorado. His approach is contemplative, inter-spiritual, and Earth-based.