CONVERSATION PART 6
(For Part 1 – 5, Scroll down or type CONVERSATION WITH AN ATHEIST in the Search Box.)
REASON, HOPE AND GRATITUDE
©Edward R. Close 2018
When we met at Starbuck’s this time, my friend seemed like a different person. He came in with a smiling face, not the frowning scowl I was used to. I knew that something had changed.
“Hello Ed! How are you doing today?” His greeting was friendly, almost cheerful.
I’m great. You’re sounding happy. What’s new?
“I’ve come today just to enjoy a cup of coffee with you. - And to thank you!”
“Well, thanks to your persistence, and sometimes aggravating confidence in your math and logic, I have, for the first time, a reason to think there might be something more than matter and energy interacting in spacetime!”
Really? Are you saying you’ve become a believer?
“Oh, no. Not that … I’m still a scientist, still skeptical, an agnostic. But, I will no longer make fun of people who go to church, mosque, synagogue, temple, or whatever. Maybe they, or at least some of them, really do know something that I don’t. I’m no longer the arrogant SOB I was!”
I never called you that!
“No, I probably would have walked out to never come back if you had. No, you were patient, and I have to thank you for that. You didn’t try to save my soul, get me to pray to Jesus, Krishna, or recognize some ancient prophet, you just talked about mathematics, geometry, physics, symmetry, and logic. The proof of the necessary existence of gimmel, neither matter nor energy, is what made sense to me. It opened a door that I never even believed existed. It opened my eyes to the possibility that there may be something more … “
I closed my eyes, turned toward that light that illuminates my inner world and expressed my gratitude. This was a rare event, but one worth waiting for.
I opened my eyes, smiled at my friend and we finished our coffee.
What is enlightenment? Here's something I wrote 40 years ago:
“Enlightenment! Enigma of all enigmas. An infinity of infinities. Opposites merge, extremes become middles. Nothing is said or done, yet the whole universe sparkles in the corner of an eye. A full statement of all truth resounds in the sound of my breathing. I walk, I sit, …I simply am. And that is absolutely and profoundly enough!
The eye observed;
And stretching forth,
The senses would rebound:
For in the room
No breath stirred
And stolid glances stood around.
Then Seven reached
Time’s grasping hand
And empty visions fled away
Then Nothing was,
And No Thing did,
And even Death was dead.”
The Book of Atma, E.R. Close, published October 1977