You are God in Drag:
Notes from and after Retreat
Jay Michaelson


The relaxation response critique says: when you're relaxed, your brain thinks all is one. But really that's just a feature of brain chemistry.

In that state now, I can hold the critique. However, the critique cannot hold the state I am in now.

If I were seeing pixies, the critique might be stronger. But I am just seeing a light, a bed, a computer, etc. It's true that my body and mind are relaxed. But that is neither adding to nor subtracting from theological speculation. What it is doing is letting me absorb the magnitude of the truth.

This truth -- that this, just this, where and what and who you are right now, is the One and nothing else -- this underlies Western and Eastern metaphysics. Impermanence is true.

Every time you eat, you are eating the sun. All sources of energy on this planet, stored up in plants, long-dead plants, animals all comes from the sun. This is true even of plastic soda bottles. And every atom in every thing you see was once in a star.

In busy, ordinary, "small" mind, these truths are just facts. We can evaluate whether they are artfully expressed or cliches, or whether we think they are mere diversions. We may have other things which we think are more important.

All relaxation does is allow the truth to be felt. The mind is cleared, like a dirty window wiped clean, and the magnitude of what we might ordinarily take for granted inspires tears. Moreover the mind is quieted so much that all that's left is its true nature: God. Awareness, radiating love. I have said this before, but what a miracle, that all we have to do to be beautifully loving creatures is just relax and allow.

You don't have to put anything in.


How do we know anything is true? Certain things are logically provable, but many other kinds of truths are not. Even "hard" truths, not just emotional ones. We know something is true because it fully accords inside our minds. There is a sense of knowing. That sense is present now.

Is this knowing related to how a plant "knows" to grow, so beautifully, intricately?

As Hafiz says, you are God in drag.


I know too that I become more compassionate and open this way, which makes the world a better place, albeit in a small way. At this moment, as I write this, I can hear that someone is crying, or at least, something is making a noise that sounds like it. I really want to know, because I want to not be insensitively typing theology in the presence of pain. I would respect the suffering. Actually I'm pretty sure it's just a noise.

And I become happier. I've noticed that because of the way I'm built, or trained, I am almost unable to simply say "even if it's not true, it makes me so happy to believe it." I might be better off if I could do that if I could set aside truth and just be happy with a comfortable illusion. But I might be better off with the body of a model and the bank account of a millionaire too some things are just not my lot. I want to know that what brings me happiness is true.

Sometimes that need manifests as doubt which closes me off from happiness. But other times, I see it as very valuable, because it has led me to become a mystic.

Of course, words like "mystic" and "enlightened" are problematic, because they have associations and connotations of boasting. By the same token, it is not inaccurate for you or me to say "I am God," as long as we remember that everyone else is too. But not necessarily skillful.

I love that, as realized as I have been fortunate to become, I am still early on in a long, always-present path of greater and greater realization of true nature. And it will always be Now along the way.

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Image: Jay Michaelson

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You are God in Drag
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From previous issues:

Niles Goldstein

Run Like the Wind
Jay Michaelson & Dan Friedman

The Warm, Impossible, Wall-less Summer World
Jay Michaelson