As far as I know, the brain cannot register a deity outside the seven responses. Why not? Because God is woven into reality, and the brain knows reality in these limited ways. It may sound as though we’re reducing the Almighty Father, the Primeval Goddess, and the Mystery of Mysteries to a firestorm of electrical activity in the cerebral cortex—but we aren’t doing that. We are trying to find the basic facts that will make God possible, real, and useful.
Many people will be sympathetic to this because they long for a God who fits into their lives. No one can make God enter the everyday world, however. The real question is whether he might be here already and going unnoticed. I keep coming back to the transition zone in our “reality sandwich.”
Unless you are willing to take your vision there, the presence of God is too ghostly to be relied upon. Is the brain prepared for such a journey? Absolutely.
A friend of mine once knew John Lennon very well and continued over the years to grieve his passing. She is a gifted singer, and one night recently she had a dream in which he came to her and showed her an image from the past when they were together. Waking up, she decided to write a new, very intimate song based on her dream, yet in the cold light of day she began to have doubts.
I came to London for a visit, and she told me about her indecision. “After all, it’s only a dream, isn’t it?” she said. “Maybe I’m foolish to make too much of it.” At that moment her three-year-old ran into the room and plopped himself onto a chair in the corner. He happened to land on the remote control for the television, which came on suddenly.
On the screen, amazingly, we saw a nostalgia program showing John Lennon and my friend smiling at the camera, caught in the exact moment she had witnessed in her dream. She burst into tears and got her answer: She would write the song for him.
I believe that this interaction took place in the transition zone. A message arrived from a deeper place than we usually go. To say that it came from spirit or God is totally justified, but the brain also played its part, for this incident began with everyday brain processes— thoughts, emotions, dreams, doubts—that finally crystallized into inspiration.
We see a perfect example here of our fifth response, the creative response. Can we truly satisfy the demands of objectivity when it comes to God? A physicist would recognize our reality sandwich with no difficulty. The material world has long since dissolved for the great quantum thinkers.
Both visions contain the material world, which is a given. There has to be an unseen source of creation, because the cosmos can be traced back only so far before time and space dissolve. And there has to be a place where these two opposites meet.
I said before that I don’t think mystics are set apart from ordinary people. They are just better quantum navigators. They journey into the transition zone closer to God, and while we might visit there for a few moments of joy, at most a few days, saints and mystics have found the secret of remaining there far longer.
Instead of wondering about the mystery of life, a saint lives it.
Excerpted from ‘How to Know God’. The 76th birth anniversary of Deepak Chopra was observed on October 22.