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Transcendence and Oneness

May 9, 2009 | by Rabbi Nechemia Coopersmith

Kurt Vonnegut and encounters with the Infinite source of existence.

Close your eyes for a moment and draw a painting of a tree in your mind.

Every detail ? the fruit growing on the tree, the trunk, the branches, the children playing under it ? is an expression of you. Because you are the sole creator of that tree.

It's all united by a single common thread: You.

Open your eyes and what happens to the tree? It's gone. The tree exists only as long as you will it to be. Not only are you its creator, you're its sustainer as well. Without you, there is no tree.

The Sustainer

This helps us understand God's relationship to His creation. God is the sole Creator of the universe. But unlike a carpenter who finishes building a table, God couldn't create the world and then just walk away. God's act of creation is completely different since God is Infinite. Infinite means no boundaries. Therefore nothing can exist independently from God, since anything independent would draw a line between itself and God, rendering God finite.

God couldn't create the world and then just walk away.

By definition, God is continuously creating and sustaining the universe. Just as a shining light is in constant need of electricity, nothing can exist without His constant will generating it. Cut the current, the light immediately ceases.

Every molecule in the universe stems from one single, pervasive, infinite source. Just as every brushstroke of a Picasso has his signature on it, everything in creation is an expression of the higher, infinite dimension.

The Author of Existence

Kurt Vonnegut's novel, "Breakfast of Champions," brings home the startling power of a creator and sustainer. In one scene, the main character, Kilgor Trout, is having a drink in a bar, minding his own business. Suddenly, he feels an awesome presence is about to enter the bar. He begins to sweat.

Who walks in?

Kurt Vonnegut. When the author of the book steps into the novel to visit his character, Kilgor's perception of the world is changed forever. He realizes that he does not exist independently. Rather, every moment of life requires a new stroke of the author's pen. Without the author, he ceases to exist.

Kilgore realizes there is another dimension beyond his own. He grasps that this higher dimension ? the realm of Kurt Vonnegut ? is more real than the world of the novel.

Imagine if Kilgore could reach out of the pages of the book and touch his author? If he could move beyond his lower dimension and enter a higher dimension that is more real than his own?

It would be a mind-blowing, literally transcendental experience.

He would recognize that his entire universe is an expression of Kurt Vonnegut. For that moment, Kilgore would peel back the layer of his fictional universe ? and reveal the root of all reality.

Without a new act of creation every instant, nothing could exist.

The metaphor is clear. Our finite world is all an expression of God's oneness. Without a new act of creation every instant, nothing could exist. The only true, real existence is the Infinite.

Whenever we peel back the outer layer of this world and get a glimpse of the higher Infinite dimension, we have a moment of awe-filled transcendence. We lift beyond our finite limitations and touch eternity. Perfection itself.

Spirituality: A Glimpse of the Infinite

There are moments in everyone's life that burst with the discovery of the Infinite, where we see God's fingerprints on the universe. Even the most common spiritual experiences can be an encounter with an aspect of God's oneness as it intersects the finite world.

Every moment carries the potential to reach beyond this fleeting dimension and to connect with a reservoir of spirituality, the infinite source of existence. Just take a look at your own spiritual experiences and articulate the underlying elements that generate its power.

Within nature we are struck by the quiet harmony of a smoldering sunset. We shiver from the absolute power of Niagara Falls. We gape in awe at a mighty tornado plucking trees, or a raging thunderstorm ripping open the sky. We sense the vastness of eternity when gazing at the endless expanse of stars at night, or viewing the majestic grandeur of the Grand Canyon.

When we cradle a tiny infant in our arms, we encounter the exquisite wonder of creation, the sheer miracle of existence. We transcend time when we touch the ancient stones of the Western Wall. And we feel the unity between people when connecting deeply with others, as we let our boundaries slip away.

Aspects of God

Our moments of spirituality are encounters with:

  • Unity
  • Perfection
  • Eternity
  • Oneness
  • Absolute Power
  • Truth

These are all aspects of God, the Infinite source of creation. When we cut through our finite, transient realm and connect to a higher source, we experience our greatest moments of spiritual pleasure. These moments are powerful because we grasp aspects of the infinite dimension within this world, and transcend.

These awesome moments lift us above the pettiness of the world. For that one moment, the aches and pains of life just don't matter. We're connected to something far greater and far more pleasurable. This puts everything into perspective. And the sensation is humbling.

Children walk around in this constant state of eyes-wide-open wonder. Everything is fresh. A walk around the block with my two-year-old son can be like going on a safari. "Look! A bird!! And check out these ants!"

Have we become jaded to the pervasive wonders of God's world?

To increase the dosage of awe and joy in daily life, transform the mundane into something more spiritual. Open your eyes and see God's ever-present fingerprints.

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