THE MAN WHO FOUND GOD
THERE seems to be no way in which I can
better teach you about this life, so strange to you, than by telling my
experiences and conversations with men and women here.
I said one night not long ago that I had met more saints than
philosophers, and I want to tell you now about a man who seems to be a genuine
saint. Yes, there are little saints and great saints, as there are little and
One day I was walking on a mountain top. I say "walking," for
it seemed about the same, though it takes but little energy to walk here.
On the mountain top I saw a man standing alone. He was
looking out and far away, but I could not see what he was looking at. He was
abstracted and communing with himself, or with some presence of which I was
I waited for some time. At last, drawing a long breath—for we
breathe here—he turned his eyes to me and said, with a kind smile:
"Can I do anything for you, brother?"
I was embarrassed for a moment, feeling that I might have
intruded upon some sweet communion.
"If I am not too bold in asking," I said, "would you tell me
what you were thinking as you stood there looking into space?"
I was conscious of my presumption; but being so determined to
learn what can be known, if sometimes I am too bold in making inquiries, I feel
that my very earnestness may win for me the forgiveness of those I question.
This man had a beautiful beardless face and young-looking
eyes; but his garments were the ordinary garments of one who thinks little or
nothing of his appearance. That very unconsciousness of the outer form may
sometimes give it a peculiar majesty.
He looked at me in silence for a moment; then he said:
"I was trying to draw near to God."
"And what is God?" I asked; "and where is God?"
He smiled. I never saw a smile like his, as he answered.
"God is everywhere. God is."
"What is He?" I persisted; and again he repeated, but with
a different emphasis:
"What do you mean?" I asked.
"God is, God is," he said.
I do not know how his meaning was conveyed to me, perhaps by sympathy; but it
suddenly flashed into my mind that when he said, "God is," he expressed
the completest realisation of God which is possible to the spirit; and when he
said, "God is," he meant me to understand that there was no being,
nothing that is, except God.
There must have been in my face a reflection of what I felt,
for the saint then said to me:
"Do you not also know that He is, and that all that
is, is He?"
"I am beginning to feel what you mean," I answered, "though I
doubtless feel but a little of it."
He smiled, and made no reply; but my mind was full of
"When you were on earth," I said, "did you think much about
"Always. I thought of little else. I sought Him everywhere, but
seemed only at times to get flashes of consciousness as to what He really was.
Sometimes when praying, for I prayed much, there would come to me suddenly the
question, 'To what are you praying?' And I would answer aloud, 'To God, to God!'
But though I prayed to Him every day for years, only occasionally did I get a
flash of that true consciousness of God. Finally, one day when I was alone in
the woods, there came the great revelation. It came not in any form of words,
but rather in a wordless and formless wonder, too vast for the limitation of
thought. I fell upon the ground and must have lost consciousness, for after a
while—how long a time I do not know—I awoke, and got up and looked about me.
Then gradually I remembered the experience which had been too big for me while I
was feeling it.
"I could put into the form of words the realisation which had
been too much for my mortality to bear, and the words I used to myself were,
'All that is, is God.' It seemed very simple, yet is was far from simple. 'All
that is, is God.' That must include me and all my fellow beings, human and
animal; even the trees and the birds and the rivers must be a part of God, if
God were all that is.
"From that moment life assumed a new meaning for me. I
could not see a human face without remembering the revelation—that that human
being I saw was a part of God. When my dog looked at me, I said to him aloud,
'You are a part of God.' When I stood beside a river and listened to the sound
of its waters, I said to myself, 'I am listening to the voice of God.' When a
fellow being was angry with me, I asked myself, 'In what way have I offended
God?' When one spoke lovingly to me, I said, 'God is loving me now,' and the realisation nearly took my breath away. Life became unbelievably beautiful.
"Therefore I had been so absorbed in God, in trying to find
God, that I had not given much thought to my fellow beings, and had even
neglected those nearest me; but from that day I began to mingle with my human
brethren. I found that as more and more I sought God in them, more and more God
responded to me through them. And life became still more wonderful.
"Sometimes I tried to tell others what I felt, but they
did not always understand me. It was thus I began to realise that God had
purposely, for some reason of His own, covered Himself with veils. Was it that
He might have the pleasure of tearing them away? If so, I would help Him all I
could. So I tried to make other men grasp the knowledge of God which I myself
had attained. For years I taught men. At first I wanted to teach everybody; but
I soon came to see that that was impossible, and so I selected a few who called
themselves my disciples. They did not always tell the world that they were my
disciples, because I asked them not to do so. But I urged each of them to give
to someone as much as possible of the knowledge that I had given to him. And so
I think that many have come to feel a little of the wonder which was revealed to
me that day alone in the woods, when I awoke to the knowledge that God is,
Then the saint turned and left me, with all my questions
unanswered. I wanted to ask him when and how he had left the earth, and what
work he was doing out here—but he was gone!
Perhaps I shall see him again some day. But whether I do or
not, he has given me something which I in turn give to you, as he himself
desired to give it to the world.
That is all for to-night.