The man across from me - a distinguished author and world traveler, well-known on the inspirational speaker circuit - had confident, twinkling blue eyes, the kind that meet you without evasion and draw you in. His head was shaved, his chin was strong, and at 64, he had the physique of a professional athlete. Even more impressive was that he had a kind of internal density; a gravity - as if he were fully settled into himself. I thought, if he were a house, his timbers would be oak, not pine.
We met for tea on something of a whim, having met briefly at a fundraiser the week before. He was British, and so I asked him how he had come to this country.
He said, "I woke up one morning and I knew I was moving to the United States. And this is the thing: it wasn't a decision. It's not like I thought, well, shall I move or not? If I move, when would be the best time? Where will I go? It was nothing like that. I just knew I was moving. It was a knowing that I came into; it was not a decision."
I told him I knew exactly what he meant. On the morning of January 8, 2012, I came down the stairs to say goodbye to my wife as she headed off to work. I watched as the door closed behind her, and as the door went "klunk", I knew our marriage of 30 years was over. It just died, right then.
I spent the rest of the day weeping, and writing, and trying to talk myself out of what I knew was already true. It wasn't as if I had "decided" to leave the marriage - it was that I knew the marriage was over. I watched it drop into the ocean: it hit the water, and it was gone.
It took me eight months to accept it - eight months of marriage counseling, therapy, spiritual direction, prayer, journaling. I kept hoping that a miracle would happen: Lazarus would rise from the tomb; a flash of lightning would resuscitate it. But in my bones I knew: it had died.
When I told him this, he said, "You see? We know. We already know. We have inside us this One - this knowing One. The challenge is in being the One we already are; entering into this knowing that is alive within us."
Yes. Who is this One? Beneath our thoughts, personalities, preferences, desires, attachments, this One lives. It is directing our lives in ways we rarely see; it is connected to the Vast; it brings us the wisdom of what is. Might Christians call this the Mind of Christ?
"...It is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me." Galatians 2:20