An Expression of the Universe

by John Philip Newell
 
As we bring to our spirituality a posture of listening, listening to the essential oneness of the universe, placing our ear close to the heart of the earth and the heart of the human soul, what is it we will hear? Julian of Norwich, the fourteenth-century mystic, says that we are not simply made by God. We are made “of God.” This simple but radical statement holds enormous implications. It means that we are not fashioned by a distant Creator, made out of nothing from afar, as it were. Rather we are born from the womb of the One, made of the substance of oneness. This is why Julian likes to refer to God as Mother, as well as Father, because she sees us and all things as coming forth from the heart of the One, as carrying within ourselves the essence of our Source.

"We are not an exception to the universe. 
We are an expression of the universe."

What does it mean to say that we are made of God rather than simply by God? In part it is to say that holy wisdom is deep within us, deeper than the ignorance of what we have done. Sacred creativity is at the core of our being, deeper than any barrenness in our lives or relationships. The divine passion for what is just and right is our true heart’s desire, deeper than the apathies and falsenesses that have disabled us. And above all else it is to say, as Julian does, that the “love-longing” of God is at the core of our being, deeper than any fear or hatred that holds us in separation.
 
We are made of the One. Deep within us, amid our differentiations as individuals and nations and species, is the desire for oneness. This holy longing is found not only in the human soul but in the soul of the universe, at the heart of everything that has being. We are not an exception to the universe. We are an expression of the universe. Our longings are a unique manifestation of the universe’s longings. In listening to the depths of life, within our lives and within every life, we will hear the longings of the One that are deeper than the fears that divide us. 
 
A New Harmony: The Spirit, the Earth, and the Human Soul, 2011