Like Sunlight On Water
God dwells within you, as you.”
I have always loved this quote from Elizabeth Gilbert found in her book “Eat, Pray, Love”. It has provided me a new way to express my understanding of the Divine and my place in the universe. And this understanding of the Divine explains many things, the least of which is why I have spent so much of my time studying the Enneagram.
God dwells in you as you. And science proves it.
Fetal microchimerism, first discovered in the late 19th century, is the phenomenon whereby a baby’s DNA travels into the mother from the baby in utero. This DNA can land in the mother’s bloodstream, organs or anywhere in her body. A century after this concept was first discovered in the late 19th Century, interest in the phenomenon re-emerged, when scientists realized that fetal microchimerism could explain how Y chromosomes — only passed down from father to son — sometimes ended up in women's cells.
Now, let’s be clear. If one has no belief in a higher power or larger design of the Universe, this probably sounds like a bunch of hooey (not the science, but the God part). But if you, like me, believe that we are born of something bigger - call that something God, Creation, the Universe or whatever works for you (and I’ll use these labels interchangeably) - then this idea might raise an eyebrow or two… and offer the opportunity for a worldview adjustment.
If both Elizabeth Gilbert and science are correct, as I believe they are, this has some important things for us to consider. What might it say about us and our relationship to each other, the Creator and creation?
These truths would suggest most obviously, that we are made in the image and reflection of the Creator AND that this Creator is not somewhere “out there” but right here, inside our hearts, our bodies, our whole lives.
If we are to believe these truths then we must also begin to believe that everything we seek is here. Right here. That our lives have meaning now; that the quality of our life matters not because of where we might end up after we die, but because of how we express our unique reflection of that Divine presence in the world while we’re in it. Our unique reflection. The fullness of our Creator is only available to us when all of creation, including us, allows that reflection to surface. And when we are able to live into the fullness of our authentic, unique, amazing humanness, we become a little closer to divine ourselves.
But that’s only half the story.
What if like all mothers, our Creator holds within itself a piece of each of us? What if by the very act of creating us, the Creator is changed - even if just a little? What if by nature of our very birth, we have imprinted our very selves on the Creator? How might our lives be different if we understood our connection with the Divine to be this close, this powerful, this easy? What if we truly believed, that like our DNA implanted in our own mother, we are a part of God? What if this creates a spiritual umbilical cord that cannot be cut? Ever. What if my neighbors really are my brother and my sister because we literally share God’s DNA? What if God really is literally coursing through us? What if, like Gilbert also suggests, God plays in our bloodstream the way sunlight amuses itself on water?
Trust me when I say that while I believe these truths in my heart, there are days my head would beg to differ. Not only do I not feel God in my bloodstream, I don’t feel God anywhere. There are days I feel disconnected from anything greater than myself and I seem to totally forget who I am at all. I don’t know why this happens to us but even the world’s greatest spiritual teachers and mystics have trouble keeping this in front of them all the time. Maybe this is why the Enneagram has been such an amazing tool for me these past 20+ years. It offers a way to keep this truth in front of me. It reminds me who the God is that dwells within me and it reminds me who the “I” am that dwells so deeply in God.