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Experiencing Gravity

August 10, 2018

Looking back over the years, I have memories of special moments that I can only call “spiritual” – such as hearing the glorious choral voices of a Christmas Vespers when I was 15, or being in a choir singing Mendelssohn’s Elijah when I was in my 60s, or joining with Jean in the liturgy of our wedding ceremony 23 years ago when I was 70. All of these happened in a church. But there were other special moments of wonder and awe or just joy of being alive that I now recognize were also spiritual. Walking in the woods with other boys kicking up leaves in the fall,  or seeing the silent splendor of a sunset, or trudging through the snow of a New England blizzard, or biking with Jean along the Moldau River in the Czech Republic.  At these times, I was probably not thinking specifically of God. These were just wonderful experiences of living.

But there was one experience at Mount Hermon School in Massachusetts in the summer of 1941 when I was 16. I didn’t think of it as spiritual. It was a direct personal experience with the Earth itself. I had a summer job in the Registrar’s office, and one evening several of us were lying on the grass of the rolling lawns of that beautiful 1,300-acre campus along the Connecticut River, looking up at a sky full of stars. I was lying on my back with my arms and legs all stretched out – just lying there. And slowly I became aware of the force of gravity holding all of me against the Earth. The sense of lying “down” had disappeared.  I was against this great big sphere slowly turning, and I was glued against it looking out at the stars. For the first time, I really felt gravity as a force on my entire body. I was an actual part of Nature. I literally belonged.

I have now come to understand the creativity that we see in the entire Universe as an expression of the divine, for which I still use the word God – but more as a verb than a noun. Within this divine creativity all the galaxies and stars and even the planet Earth, including all its life, is sacred. That means that God is even a part of you and me. Mystics have recognized this for many years. Meister Eckert, 14th century Christian mystic, wrote, “My ME is God,” God is in me! There is a oneness with all of life, with all other living things, with all of Nature and with the Earth itself.

So I was experiencing that oneness with God’s Universe that starry evening so long ago. I can say that it was gravity that was pressing me against the grass.  Or I can describe it as feeling God holding me against the Earth.

Loren Bullock
August 10, 2018

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