Divinity is found in the depth of things, the foundation of things, the profundity of things. We all have a depth, a ground, a presence and there, says Eckhart, lies divinity, for “God’s ground is my ground and my ground is God’s ground.”
Thich Nhat Hanh agrees:
All notions applied to the phenomenal worlds…are transcended. The greatest relief we can obtain is available when we touch the ultimate, ‘Tillich’s ‘ground of being.’…Life is no longer confined to time and space.
Thich Nhat Hanh equates “nirvana,” “God” and “ground of being” when he says:
God as the ground of being cannot be conceived of. Nirvana also cannot be conceived of. If we are aware when we use the word ‘nirvana’ or the word ‘God’ that we are talking about the ground of being there is no danger in using these words.
To talk about the “ground of being” and connecting to the ground of being implies connecting with the below, with what is down, the lower chakras. We do this in dance and drumming, in walking and running and sitting on the earth, in swimming, playing and planting things in the earth.
Hildegard paints pictures of Christ emerging from below, from the depths of the earth. The shaman is said to be in touch with the underworld as well as the heavens but to dwell in the middle world, the everyday world of our existence.
To talk about “ground of being” is to talk about being. Being is a big mystery—why is there being and not non-being? Why is there being at all? When Eckhart defines creation as “the giving of being” and that “Isness is God,” he is saying that all being is a representation of Divinity.
This echoes Aquinas’ teaching:
…to exist is the most perfect thing of all, for compared to existence, everything else is potential.
Eckhart says “God is being” and a “fountain of being” and Aquinas says:
God is pure existence….God is essential existence and all other things are beings by participation.
Deepak Chopra insists that “God is not a mythical person—he is Being itself.” He elaborates:
The vast physical mechanism we call the universe behaves more like a mind than like a machine. How did mind ever find a way to manifest as the physical world?…The very fact that anything exists is supernatural—literally beyond the rules of the natural world.
The true miracle is existence itself.
Theologian David Hart underscores the necessity of God as being when he observes that
…all physical reality is contingent upon some cause of being as such, since existence is not an intrinsic physical property, and since no physical reality is logically necessary. [Thus] the ultimate source of existence cannot be some item or event that has long since passed away or concluded, like a venerable ancestor or even the Big Bang itself—either of which is just another contingent physical entity or occurrence—but must be a constant wellspring of being, at work even now.
Adapted from Matthew Fox, Naming the Unnameable: 89 Wonderful and Useful Names for God…Including the Unnameable God, pp. 5-8.
Banner Image: Mist from Falls, Yellowstone. Photo by Quynn Elizabeth for Earth Web Media on Flickr.
How do you connect to the ground of being? What practices take you there? Do you envision a “constant wellspring of being?”
Naming the Unnameable: 89 Wonderful and Useful Names for God …Including the Unnameable God
Too often, notions of God have been used as a means to control and to promote a narrow worldview. In Naming the Unnameable, renowned theologian and author Matthew Fox ignites our imaginations by offering a colorful range of Divine Names gathered from scientists and poets and mystics past and present, inviting us to always begin where true spirituality begins: from experience.
“This book is timely, important and admirably brief; it is also open ended—there are always more names to come, and none can exhaust God’s nature.” -Rupert Sheldrake, PhD, author of Science Set Free and The Presence of the Past