PONDERING INFINITY AND ETERNITY PART 2

Greetings from the mountain top…

(we continue with a lesson from yesterday)

“You say God isn’t the first, you say He isn’t eternal, and you say He is eternal,” Candy blurted out.

“Correct.” The Guru smiled.

“You’re toying with me, aren’t you?”

“Only to make you contemplate. Parts. Whole. Think about it.”

She did. She thought harder than she had ever thought in her short life. I smelled brain cells smoldering and heard neurons exploding, yet, nothing. Nada. Zilch. Zero. “Is it wrong”, Candy wondered aloud, “to dislike The Guru?”

I laughed quietly.

I told Candy about a trip long ago in another lifetime when The Guru was standing on a beach. I have never been crazy about beaches—too much sand. I love the sun, I enjoy swimming, I adore beer, I worship Jimmy Buffett tunes, and I live for tiny bikinis parading past. But, I really, really hate sand.

Imagine the scene, I told her. The Guru and she, sans Buffett, beer, and bikinis, standing at the edge of the water.

“Tell me where the ocean is,” I requested.

She hesitated, wondering if this was some great cosmic guru version of ‘Punked.’

“Where does the ocean begin, Candy?” I repeated.

She said at the edge of the water.

“No, that’s the waves. Where does the ocean begin?”

She said elsewhere, farther out.

“No…those are breakers and the horizon. Tell me ocean.”

She stomped her bare foot in frustration and said, “I don’t understand the question.”

“Yes you do.”

Is it not the ultimate in frustration when a teacher, especially an enlightened teacher, claims you understand something you are positive you do not?

“No,” Candy replied firmly, “I do not.”

“Yes,” I argued in a feisty, yet mocking tone, “You do.”

Before placing a foot in her mouth, The Guru came to the rescue by continuing, “You understand the question perfectly. It’s the answer you don’t understand.”

‘Great,’ Candy said. ‘Not only are there stupid questions, but I don’t understand the answers.’

“There is no one thing called ‘ocean’,” I explained. “There is no line marking the end of the Atlantic and beginning of the Pacific. There are no definite boundaries where an inlet or river stops and an ocean starts; there are only parts, created by your mind to comprehend a whole too large to grasp. What’s more,” I continued, “the whole is beyond the reach of you to see, much less to get a handle on. Three-quarters of this planet is made of the ‘whole’ you call ‘ocean.’ You’ll never see it all. Few will. None of you can even get to the bottom and see what’s underneath, although someday you might.

“Yet,” I continued, “you’re frustrated by concepts called ‘eternity’ and ‘infinity’. Concepts, mere words actually, to try and put a label on something beyond your readiness to understand.”

I would like to write instant clarity occurred that moment. It would be a great story to say everything made sense, transforming Candy into an enlightened being ready to teach the world a better way of life. Instead, as she admitted later, she felt more like a child in church who, after hearing the preacher give the sermon of a lifetime thinks, ‘I wonder if they’ll have snacks after?’

We paused our walk to lay on our backs in a meadow watching clouds. “You do get it, don’t you?” I asked Candy. I desperately needed her to ‘get it’ in order for her education to continue.

“Parts. And whole,” she answered.

“Parts. And whole,” I confirmed.

“So the fact we’re staring up at the clouds and the sky…it’s part of what you’re trying to teach me.”

“Yes.”

“But you’re not going to just tell me.”

“I already have,” was my response.

“Then why don’t I ‘get it’?”

“To each his own.”

“A biblical quote?”

“I read it in a fortune cookie,” I beamed.

“Parts. Whole.” she began.

“Yes.”

There are very advanced guru techniques, which I could share but then I’d have to kill you, that won’t be discussed but in the interest of speeding up this story suffice to say that a non-verbal method is utilized.

For a while, as we lay on our backs staring at the clouds, we communicated without any verbal conversation and it felt as if our minds were one. The spoken word is cumbersome, clumsy and inefficient for an enlightened teacher. Although free flowing, instantaneous exchange may be ideal for an Infinite Entity such as The Guru, to Candy it sometimes felt like a fire hose of knowledge blasting directly into her brain. She drank in a lot, but nearly drowned a few times also.

She did manage to finally figure out parts and whole: Existing in a multitude of places while occupying only one; many different people living in only one man; being more than any part could understand, yet being far simpler than the parts could imagine. Infinitely complex. Infinitely simple.

“So,” she finally had to resort to words. “Is there infinity? Is God eternal?”

I grimaced as if she had stepped on my toe. “Yes. And no.”

This time, it was Candy who grinned. “It’s like a circle, isn’t it?”

“Go on.”

She knew she had surprised me, which surprised her. ‘Didn’t The Guru know all before it happened?’, she wondered.

“No, I don’t,” I answered. “But I do hear thoughts as they happen.”

“Huh?”

“Later. Go on.”

So she explained her theory about infinity and eternity. “When one first draws a circle–making a ring–there is a beginning…a start.”

“Correct,” I confirmed.

“As the circle, the ring, is being created there is a now.”

“Yup.”

She elaborated, “When the circle meets up with the beginning, there is an end.”

“Bingo,” was my only reply.

“That’s when infinity and eternity are created. A never beginning, never ending thing originally comprised of a beginning, middle, and end.”

“Precisely!” I actually clapped my hands.

“So will God die?!?” she shouted.

I shook my head much as Candy’s third grade teacher did when she couldn’t comprehend 3×6 = 6×3.

“As you understand it,” I began patiently, “No, He will not die. As eternity understands it, yes, He will. The circle is now complete. But nothing…not Me, not you, not a rock or a tree or a book…nothing ever goes away in the eyes of Life. Only in the eyes of the perceiver do things disappear.”

“And God is part of the whole?” she asked.

“Of course.”

“A whole larger than I can realize?”

“A whole larger than you’re ready to realize. But, yes.”

“What about when you said He wasn’t the first?”

“You tell me.”

Candy realized there were snacks after church if she got this one right. “You mean as the circle was being created…there were other parts?”

“Uh huh,” was my enlightened response.

“Other entities?”

“As you choose to comprehend, sure.”

“Ok,” she tried to clarify, “other parts creating the whole I choose to call God.”

“You got it.”

“This stuff is easy for you, isn’t it?”

“All I know is that I know nothing,” I rejoined and walked back to my boulder for dinner and a much-needed game of naked Twister.

Peace out ya eternal freaks.

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