Monday, December 14, 2009

No Matter Where You Go...

"No matter where you go, there you are."
    --Buckaroo Banzai

That simple, even simplistic, phrase has been a favorite of mine for the twenty-five years since Buckaroo Banzai first hit the movie screen. While there was only the one movie about Buckaroo and his Hong Kong Cavaliers made, this bit of philosophy has stuck with me.

It's so simple, as I said, and yet so profound.

No matter where you go, there you are. What does that say about "you"? To me, the "you" that's at the heart of the sentence is that node of consciousness that co-exists in the same space as your physical presence. If you move a light bulb, you move the source of light that comes from it. The same here--your body moves from the kitchen to the bedroom, and your experience of the reality around you changes to reflect that move.

To speak of one's consciousness and one's body, as though they're two independent and separate things, may be getting things wrong. What if our consciousness is another dimension or aspect of our humanity, just as the particular shape of our body is? We name ourselves as human beings. We have a consciousness aspect, and a body-shape aspect. One human being, with consciousness and body simultaneous and inseparable.

What I'm looking at here is the difference between a dualism that separates our minds from our bodies, as though that were possible, and a view of humanity that sees the human being as a single entity, with aspects that manifest themselves in different ways. This is in some ways like my light bulb--if it has power, it will emit light, but the source of that emission will move as the bulb is moved.

Let's turn this phrase on its head, shall we?

Let's re-write it like this:  "No matter where I go, there you are."

What we have now is a statement that could reflect the traditional view of followers of Jesus to the presence of God. It's said in various ways several times in the Bible, after all; in the Psalms certainly, in various prophetic books, in epistles. Probably the most direct version of this occurs in Psalm 139, where David calls out to God:

"Where can I go to escape your spirit? Where can I flee to escape your presence?"

So what does this mean? Is God's consciousness everywhere, in the same sense that our consciousness is located co-existent with our bodies? Is God dispersed throughout all Creation, present at every point in all space-time? Or is it something a little different? Maybe it's like this--if the spirit of God lives in us, we're aware--made conscious of ourselves--God's presence in every place where we find ourselves to be. It might be sort of like a radio receiver that is tuned to the God-channel, and can pick it up everywhere it's placed. The entirety of Creation is filled with God's broadcast, as it were, emanating from the very being of God, waiting to be received by a properly tuned spirit.

I don't know what the truth is, in this instance. I can speculate about this sort of thing all day. All I know is that if I'm not looking for God, I'm less likely to see him about me. That doesn't mean I can't be surprised by his presence, but it's more rare. I do know, with great conviction, that since I was surprised by God and his interest in me those thirteen years ago, I've been constantly on the lookout for his presence about me. No matter where I go, there he is.

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