by Toni Gardner
So, I have this theory. You know what a mirror ball is, right? I’m talking about the giant, shiny disco balls you see in dance halls, night clubs and old Travolta flicks. You know the ones – the spheres covered with all those little square mirrors that bounce back all that funky red, blue, orange and yellow disco light to pump up the vibe. All the better to shake your groove thing, right? While one of these balls may reflect a collective but fragmented image, I have to also think that each of these individual tiny mirrors is capable of mustering its own reflection.
So here it is: God is a mirror ball.
There is so much focus on right and wrong when it comes to god. Many of us hold tightly to the strictures and structures we were raised to believe. Others have adopted their own, often contrary to those of their roots. So many are willing to stand firm, certain that they have found The Truth and all others must be wrong. But, when it comes to faith, can there truly be a wrong?
There are supposedly something like 40 major world religions, and an infinite number of off-shoots, denominations, and so-called “minor” religions out there. Some we practice, some we acknowledge, some scare the crap out of us and some we have never heard of in our lives. But who has the authority to say that only one of these is right?
…and here I am back at what I was saying earlier. I have this theory. Try to picture God. And please know that I realize just by using the word “God” I may have ostracized countless individuals. Picture the Divine: an enormous sphere, all encompassing, all-knowing. Now fill in in the picture with humanity surrounding that spinning sphere. Look at the size of yourself, you: an ant in comparison, standing in utter darkness gazing up into the face of the Divine. What can you see from this perspective? Is it a nostril? An eyelash? A pore? I joke, but you get my drift. I don’t think many of us have the mental capacity to comprehend the entirety of God.
Now try this. Picture the Divine: an enormous sphere, all encompassing, all-knowing. Cover this sphere with 6.6 billion tiny, rectangular, ant-sized mirrors. There’s one for everyone. What do you see when you look into the mirror? Yourself. And when you look at the whole? God.
Yourself. Your self. Now, this is the key. Whether or not we can physically see them, we know our own faces. I believe that this is how each of us, individually, experiences God. We’ve all lived different lives. We’ve all been shaped by experience, by our families or lack of family, by circumstance and upbringing, and by tragedy, joy and fear. We’ve all been struck by solitude at 2:17 a.m. on a random night in October. We’ve been frightened by our limitations, enlightened by our possibility, and rendered speechless by the way the light struck just one leaf on a fall afternoon. We have built our lives on countless seconds, each one of these a moment that has shaped our existence. How, through the filter of our own existence, can 6.6 billion lives share the same perception? How can 6.6 billion answers be the same?
Really, how can I believe as a woman in my mid-thirties living in an urban area that I could have the same religious identity as a 20-year-old aboriginal male living in the Australian desert? How can someone raised in a strict Pentecostal household see the same reflection as a woman raised in the sixties on a commune? How about an altar boy and an atheist? Take a moment. Even within the same “religion,” we still filter our concepts through our life experience. How can any of us be egotistical enough to believe that only “we” are right? We can’t, but so many are. It doesn’t really matter if it’s The Lord’s Prayer, a Samhain ritual, a moment of silence, Om, amen, Tibetan prayer flags, the Koran or the scientific truth of evolution. I may see something different than your reflection, but I see it.
Picture the Divine: an enormous sphere, all encompassing, all-knowing. Cover this sphere with 6.6 billion tiny, rectangular, ant-sized mirrors. There is one for everyone.
I don’t see the same thing in my mirror that you see in yours. I can’t. It is impossible. And I can’t process the whole that is the Divine – it is just too big for my ant-sized mind. So I will do this. I will look in my mirror. I will look into that tiny rectangular piece of God that reflects my image. I will look into the mirror that shows me a god that – through my own experience, my building blocks, my circumstance, intellect and inspiration – I can wrap my head around. It doesn’t matter what I call Him, Her, or It. It matters that this is my bite-sized understanding.
Here’s the thing, though. My mirror doesn’t float alone solitarily in space. It is connected to yours. And his. And hers. It is directly or indirectly linked to every single concept of divinity that exists at this moment. Each of our mirrors allows a god of our own understanding, yes. But together whether these beliefs are similar, compatible or in direct opposition of our own – they create a whole. That whole is God, spinning boldly in the great big discotheque in the sky.
Go on. Shake your groove thing.
TJ Gardner is a poet, writer and dabbler in all things artsy and spiritual. She thoroughly enjoys the exchange of ideas, so if you have any thoughts you would like to share please email her at: firstname.lastname@example.org.