We are not human beings searching for a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings immersed in human experience. —Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
As I type in the above quote by the famous Jesuit philosopher, my first response is to ask myself if the statement is true. More accurately, I ask myself, “Does this statement point me to the experience of Truth?” The intuition of my heart tells me that it does, although I have no empirical evidence to prove it otherwise. However, since trusting my heart over my intellect has always led me to profound life experiences, I follow it once more. Suddenly this insight leads me to look at my wife and recognize her as more than a physical entity or familiar personality, and a wonderful sense of recognition comes over me. The words appear: “I know you.”
I can’t describe the experience except to say that I shift from looking at her to seeing her. Of course, this seeing doesn’t happen within the physical sense of sight (although she does appear somewhat differently to me than when I am merely looking at her), but nonetheless I become more aware of what exists beyond physical appearance, and I am filled with a sense of awe.
It’s as if I’m standing outside of the realm of habits and patterns, where we tend to take each other for granted, and surprises are not a commonplace occurrence. Now, I am even standing outside of time itself. I see my wife as an ageless non-physical being, and recognize in that timelessness that the sense of “me and you” begins to melt away.
Then the phone rings or a kettle whistles, and my attention is drawn away to the demands of the world. Sometimes it seems that I pull myself away from the experience for fear that I will disappear. An hour goes by and I am occupied by the reading and sending of e-mails, and suddenly I stop, aware of my wife sitting at her desk behind me. The experience returns and there is awareness of the disappearance of the conceptual self.
And yet, I still am. The wonderful sense of presence permeates awareness. There is the observation of two individual human beings performing their daily functions—and awareness of one spiritual being immersed in two distinctly unique human experiences.