• eric aspen marley

The God of Life

My God didn’t create dead things. The God I've come to know creates only life.

Not dead stones. Not dead trees. Not dead rivers, forests or mountains. Certainly not a dead planet. Whatever my God creates, is alive.

Does yours create dead things? If so, I’m sorry.

Considering this, we might do well to ask, “if everything is alive, or once was before its life expired, does it have will?”

Hmm. Does a river, for instance, have will? Intention? Or am I assigning human traits to an inanimate object?

Inanimate: lifeless. Spiritless, sluggish, dull.


My God didn’t create inanimate objects, either. Did yours?

Again, I hope not.

Because anyone who thinks S/He did, it might have more to do with their own perception – or lack thereof. More on that in a minute.

Back to the intention a river might have. We could possibly say that a river’s intention is to travel its natural course; to cut through the rock, meadow and forest in a way that comes most naturally to it. Looking at the life it sustains, we might say it intends to provide life for trout and water-bugs, for the ouzel and the bear. And, oh yeah, the humans are in there somewhere.

Have you ever sat by a river and become really, really still? Have you ever heard a river tell its story? It’s said that the Buddha gained enlightenment sitting by a Bodhi tree… but that tree was by a river. And many of his early lessons (later in his life) came from the simple ferryman who forded it and knew it's "language."

I believe that. It makes complete sense for the reasons I'll illustrate below.

What if every river had a story? Would we want to hear it? I sure would. But, I’m sorry to say that there are many rivers whose story I have not heard. Why? Is it because the river doesn’t speak, or because I am unable to put myself in a position to hear?

Now we’re getting somewhere. Now we’re ready to talk about perception.

In my book, “Sand: A Conversation About the Enormity of Life,” a suffering man comes into contact with a greater Being that illustrates to him through a series of visions that even though the whole earth speaks, humanity is largely unable to hear the sacred voice.

The book illustrates a humanity too distracted to hear the voice of the “inanimate objects.” This has dire consequences. Follow along with me as we explore what those might be.

Wandering the earth unable to hear or speak the language of the inanimate, we feel alone and isolated. We feel separated from God. We feel rejected, cast out of Eden. Feeling separate, yet knowing we have a soul somewhere, we desperately search for deeper meaning. Discovering that we can use the apparently mute objects at our whim, we make up stories that allow us to do so without the pang of conscience, enslaving them in a sense. These stories are often encased in religion or justified by so-called, "economic necessity."

This is beyond the scope of my book, but these stories easily bring us to the conclusion that meaning is found in having. “I am more when I have more,” is the implication. "When I have more, it becomes apparent that I am more righteous. I am obviously more blessed. God apparently loves me more than one who lacks things."

And greed, borne of a desire for Godly or soulful approbation, is born.

As you can see, this type of greed stems from the association of money with Soul. This is dangerous ground to walk, indeed. From these philosophical bricks Babel is built. From this place, preachers demand Lear jets and $5,000 tennis shoes. Worse, the distance between humans and the rest of the natural world expands.

Eventually, it’s not enough to simply have a voice. The voice has to be loud, and the loudest one wins. The rest of the humans, let alone the natural world, only matter in a kind of false philanthropy, a showy, pseudo-spiritual charity that really isn’t charitable or spiritual at all. This is what is generally illustrated when religious people speak of "stewardship." The upshot is that the quiet ones become chattel to be used according to egoic whim, a tornado of desire that only increases with time.

If we observe history, we can see that one race eventually rose to power. This is the race of the archetypal if not literal North, and the sacred fire it misuses dominates all the other races of humans. Its fuel is the philosophy we have now come to be very familiar with. It’s the one that foments war, genocide, and rape. Her fruits are oppression, particularly of the unruly Feminine. One nation above all the “Nations of the North” has become most proficient with the use and dealing of these implements of fire, and it is the most fearsome of all.

This is where we are, today.

All this arises from our perception. Or, as I mentioned before, the lack thereof. And it all stems from false ideas about inanimate objects, the supposedly mute subjects of God.

Now instead, what if a human sat without distraction by a river? What might she find? If she sat long enough, she might find that it has a will, and a voice; that it is far from inanimate. If she’s really still, she might even find that it has a personality.

Listening, she might find that it has a message for her own life. Going away inspired, she would now know God as one of not only Life, but of a Love that courses through all things as surely as blood courses through her own body. She might find a relationship between her sacred feminine body and that of the moon and the tides. Maybe all the other planets would take on new meanings as well. She might see her place as part of, not separate from, the Universe. In short, that she is never alone, and always held.

And you can bet your life that she would want to protect that river.

More than that, she would wonder, wouldn’t she, what else speaks? Looking within, she might wonder what in the hell has been so important in her life that she wasn’t able to hear the voices of the stones? Or the trees? Or the grasses? Or the wolves?

She might then learn to become truly still, in increasing ways. When she became stuck, she would seek community and teachers. She might do some research and find that people once heard the voices of the mountains and learn their ways.

Discovering her soul, this woman might be prepared to bring these gifts to others. Or not. She might be content to continue to simply work in a cubicle – but it would be the brightest damned cubicle you ever saw because she was in it; the center of a flower in a field of soil.

All because she knows, this woman, that God doesn’t create dead things.

Her God, who she now knows from the stories of the river and the stones and the planets and the grasses and the wolves and from personal experience, creates only life.

May it be so for you, and for me, and for all humanity.

(photographer unknown -

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