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Drops in the Ocean

Look at it this way: Since any thing must necessarily be bounded by other things, then only something that is a no-thing could encompass every thing. Only the bound-less-ness of no-thing-ness can comprehend all being. In this way God is, as the Kabbalists said, the Ayn Sof, the Infinite One, the One without End, the Holy Nothingness. And the ultimate fulfillment of consciousness, the discovery of the design, occurs when you realize your presence within the divine, when you realize that it also includes you - the one hearing these words right now. But in order to do that, you must be willing to surrender your autonomy, your independence, your name and your boundaries. You must, in the words of the ancient metaphor, become as a drop of water fallen into the ocean. What did the mystic say to the hot dog vendor? Make me one with everything.

The contemporary theologian, Richard Rubenstein describes this radical, monism: “God is the ocean” he says, “and we are the waves. In some sense each wave has its moment in which it is distinguishable as a somewhat separate entity. Nevertheless, no wave is entirely distinct from the ocean... The waves are surface manifestations of the ocean. [Even as] our knowledge of the ocean is largely dependent on the way it manifests itself in the waves.”Morality and Eros, New York: McGraw Hill, 1970, 186-7.

That reminds me of something I read in a sailing magazine: “Waves are not lumps of water moving along the sea but rather pure energy moving through and exciting the water.”John Mellor, "Piloting Dangerous Waters," Cruising World, August 1992, 18.

So, if you mean by the question, “Is the Universe designed?” “Is there a God somehow outside, beyond or other than the universe?” then I think the answer is, no. If the twentieth century has taught us anything it is that God does not work like that. But, if you mean by the question, “Is the Universe designed?” “Is everyone and every thing joined to one another through invisible lines of connection into one great luminous organism and human consciousness is itself a dimension of that great unity?” then the answer is yes.

The Hasidic master, Rabbi Yehiel Michal of Zlotchov, offers a teaching he learned from his teacher, Dov Baer of Mezritch: “It’s just the opposite of what everyone thinks. They assume that when they do not merge with their Creator but instead cleave to the things and matters of this world, that they amount to something... They imagine that they are important. But how could anyone who might not wake up the next morning be important?...

In this way, if you think you are something, then alas, you are nothing. [Don’t try this at home!] On the other hand, if, because of your fusion with God... you think of yourself as nothing, then you are very great indeed... [You are] like a single drop of water fallen into the sea. It has returned to its source. It is one with the ocean. Now it’s no longer identifiable as an independent thing in any way whatsoever.”Yosher Divrei Emet, Jerusalem, 1974 #14.

Contributed by: Rabbi Lawrence Kushner

Cosmic Questions

Was the Universe Designed? Topic Index
Nothing by Design: A Neo-Kabbalistic Perspective

Drops in the Ocean

Hidden Signature
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Lawrence Kushner

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