"Late last night after writing, I went out to the rock. I didn't really want to but something urged me on. Soft mystic moonlight fell on a calm sea and snowy Staines cliffs. I sat for a while — thoughts drifting in and out — calling my mind back over and over to my breath and to the sounds around me. Then one of those wandering thoughts snagged my attention.

"I've been trying to feel part of the community of Life, but in that moment I remembered that I, myself, am already a community comprised of bacteria, viruses, fungi, mites, and who knows what else. And according to the biologist Lynn Margulis, even each eukaryote cell in my body is a symbiotic community, made up of organelles that at one time were independent prokaryote cells.

"In the past, the thought of having all these critters living on, in, and with me — who are me — has been kind of creepy, but last night I was carried softly and gently into the flow of the world. Sacred indeed is everything. And me, sacred, too. Slowly I'm relaxing and healing. Not the earthshaking transformation I'd expected, but the ebb and flow of solitude carrying me along.

"I remembered sitting in the Peruvian desert years ago beside a mummy dug up by grave robbers. I'd read about the Buddhist practice of going to the charnel house to meditate on impermanence, and through my Christian goggles had interpreted that practice as a penance to face the hard fact of death. But with the mummy I felt a quiet sense of brotherhood and spaciousness; I, too, would go where he had gone, and my immediate concerns were not as all-consuming as I usually experience them to be.

"There was the same unexpected freedom last night when I realized that this is not really just me. A sense of being woven into the world. In the past I've sensed the world as a unified field of sorts. Last night I sensed Life as myriad individual organisms, each maintaining its own inner coherence and all of us organized into a hierarchical web. I sensed myself as belonging to a world of individual beings, but there was no feeling of fragmentation; we were all still one flowing whole, too.

"Lately I'm less concerned with trying to figure out how other people can easily find their way to a shift of consciousness. No theory or system can make it happen faster or easier. Like a child growing up, our spiritual lives need to be lived one day at a time."