I’ve been to Key West, Florida a few times. To really enjoy Key West you need to get in the water. Whether it is on a boat or wading in the surf or swimming, Key West isn’t Key West until you get wet.
One year I went there for business and we had a day off to enjoy the crystal clear emerald paradise up close and personal. We went snorkeling. I had no clue what I was doing. I got a quick instruction on how not to breath in the entire ocean. The lesson wasn’t quite enough. I had to experience the negative to enjoy the positive. Once I got the hang of breathing with my head under water, I really enjoyed that experience.
When you are in the water with your head under the surface, it is so quite and peaceful. We had taken a boat out to a reef where we swam over and among the coral of the reef. There were so much life in that coral. I came face to face with a barracuda, scary dude. I saw sharks swimming below near the ocean floor. There were so many colorful fish everywhere. Some were in schools swimming together as one. If I was very still they would move and change course with a unity that is quite astonishing. Then if I moved and startled the pack, they would become erratic and sometimes the school would scatter in many directions.
I really loved those undersea adventure moments. I felt at times I was part of that world. In my imagination I could see myself as a fish, part of this submerged reality enjoying that reality as my own. I wondered what it would be like if I could join the schools or swim alongside the sharks and observe how the are when they don’t know I’m there. What would I see? What would I experience?
When I stepped back on the boat that afternoon, that surreal experience was a part of me. Even today I feel the currents and swells against my body. I can see the sun on the coral diffused and magnified in bright beams that dazzle and move with the ripples overhead. The sun underwater is a very different experience. I can feel the symbiotic nature of these aquatic creatures. They move and flow together as a great symphony with individual instruments but a harmony that transcends the individual.
That is a good picture of who we are. When I say we are the divine manifestation of God in this reality still divine and still one with the infinite as a projection of love into this physical world…you scratch your head and think “this guy is a little loony.” Maybe so. That’s why I want to share this picture and see if you can see who you really are.
We are eternal beings that have no identity apart from the whole but give the whole its identity. We are extensions of God, like fingers on a hand but, like fingers, pinkies are not the same as ring fingers. They are on the same hand and are the same stuff with a uniqueness that makes them an integral part of the whole. That said, let me backtrack a bit for the purposes of this ocean adventure metaphor.
As our eternal self we chose to take a vacation and experience something new. We chose the grand adventure of experiencing this created world as one of the created. We donned our wet suit, grabbed our scuba gear and plunged right into this physical reality. We wanted to swim with the undersea creatures and share in the beauty of the creation.
But we knew the other creatures would react to something they didn’t understand. So instead of a wet suit, we grew some gills and some fins and some scales and jumped in as a fish. Now as a fish we can experience the undersea kingdom appearing as one of its subjects. Still we aren’t one of its subjects.
The problem is we forgot where we came from. We got so comfortable as a fish, we forgot we were more than a fish. The ocean world became our world. All the beauty started to fade as we embraced the mundane fish life. We are so certain that we are a fish, we make up an entire reality in our fish brains to convince ourselves of our fishiness. Really, we work hard at making systems and forms and paradigms that are fish-centric and none of it is real. We made it up because we forgot we were more than a fish.
OK, that metaphor only goes so far because it suggests that we are separate, so I will now stretch your brain to go the extra fathom.
Before we entered the ocean we were a finger on the hand of God. So God chose to poke His finger into the ocean. In doing so, the finger thought it was a fish and looked like a fish to all the other ocean dwellers. So even though we are a finger, we really think we are a fish. Of course, when we transformed into our little swimming selves, we are still a finger so our fish self looks like a finger would look if it were a fish. Thumbs, grouper. Pinkies, sardines. Maybe that is going to far, but I think you can identify with the story.
So in this reality we are on vacation to swim with the fishes. Is that a stretch? As our eternal self, our finger self if you will, we are immortal. We are invincible. We lack nothing. We are the finger of God. Seriously we are awesome. So as our fish self we are still all of that and we just forgot that truth. We are the divine eternal love experiencing a physical reality that God (we) made to experience. The journey is to discover who we are while we are swimming with the fishes. We get to see the other fishes are just like us and we are just like them.
If God is spirit and we are made in His image then we are spirit. Our spirit wanted to experience this world as one of its inhabitants so it manifests as one of its inhabitants. Our spirit self is experiencing the physical world with the five senses of a physical creature. We are remembering where we came from. We are listening to the Holy Spirit reveal to our spirit our origins in the spirit and our oneness in the divine.
Yeah, we are swimming with the fishes and we need to wake up to the reality that we are more than what we see. When we can embrace our eternal nature and or divine union, then we can ENJOY THE VACATION. Really, we should be taking a huge bite out of this life as eternal life creatures. Every situation and every circumstance is just another stop on the cruise liner schedule. If we can see this temporal “life” as the experience of a lifetime, we can live in joy. We can love each other. We can let go of our fish systems and cherish our divine oneness.
Swimming with the fishes is awesome when you know you are not as limited as a fish. We get to enjoy every moment of this limited existence to experience something we thought was important enough to don the wetsuit and take the plunge!