by Hammond Guthrie
Six months ago I was downtown at the square waiting for the city transport - The Max Train. The plaza is a red brick surfaced area with lots of steps, some sculpture and a fountain - with Max trains on either side comin' and goin'. Lots of people goin' and comin' from work to lunch along with a dozen or so regular homeless folks and tourists et al.
Anyway, on this particular day six months ago I noticed a young woman (mid-to-late 20s?), dressed plainly in a well worn and traveled early Christian-style smock-sack sitting cross-legged on one of the large stone steps next to the fountain. I went closer to see what was all glowing about her and as I neared I could easily "see" (vs. notice) that her aura was wide and gleaming. Although she really was just sitting there sort of idly starring into space, it was apparent to me that she was practicing immediate street yoga - sitting satsang - sitting shiva - sitting in bliss - sitting, sitting, sitting and so in the moment as I have rarely "seen," while at the same time she was nearly invisible as street people can be and in fact sitting rather casually. My train came and I went home - telling my wife about the woman.
Four days later - at the square - waiting for the train and there she was exactly as I had originally seen her doing the very same casual thing and smiling radiantly. My train came and I went home.
For the next six weeks every time (regardless of the time) I went to the plaza there she was in exactly the same spot - nothing different - same smile etc. One day I ventured closer and when I got about eight feet away she locked eyes with me, smiled, placed her hand over her heart and said "Namasté." I smiled and returned the gesture as I sat down beside her on the step. I told her that I admired her (yogic) one-pointed perseverance and introduced myself. She said she was pleased to be with me, and I asked her name. She turned to face me and with a soft humility and a knowing smile she said "God" and returned to silence.
Somewhat taken aback, I said "God eh?" yet knowing that this was not meant to be a put-on. "Yes - that's right," she said, and I asked why she was here in Portland. "I am healing the universe," she replied. To which I replied "Well, this is a great purpose," and fell silent beside her. After some time sitting in silence I got up and said "Namasté God - I will see you again." "Blessings" she said and off I went to the train and home again.
That was now six months ago and I have spoken with God many times since first seeing her. In all this time she has not missed a day - rain or shine - dusk to dawn - sitting in meditation and speaking with the few people that come to her. She is true and pure bodhisattva and I sit with her for a moment or more every time I go to the square. Sometimes I go there just to sit with her for a spell as it is very comforting to sit with God - usually in silence after greeting each another. One day I told her "I think about you every day" and she cracked up - laughing out loud for the first time in our meetings - usually she doesn't like to chat and prefers to work on healing the universe. But with this comment she really laughed and said "That's really funny!" I just smiled.
One night around 9 pm I was downtown waiting for the train and it was pouring pounding cold rain. I looked into the center of the square and there she stood (first time I had seen her standing up!), square in the middle of the square with a small sheet of plastic covering her head and torso like an umbrella. I went to her and she welcomed me under her plastic shelter, putting her arm around me so as to shield me from the rain while getting wet herself. I put my arm around her and told her that I was quite humbled by her devotion. She smiled and said "But I am you and you are me and time is only now." I could not disagree. We stood there in silence for ten minutes or so - rain pounding down on us when a man in his 40s came up to us and looked into our eyes like we were exhibits at the zoo and asked her/me what we were doing standing out in the pouring rain. God replied that we were staying dry and would he like to join us under the plastic. He moved closer and she covered the three of us all nearly nose to nose now under the little plastic tent held over our heads by God - who is only about 5'3' - I am 6' and the other guy was of equal height. Anyway, the man asked God why she called herself "God," and she replied "Because this is who I am. And it is who you are - I am a reflection of you and you are a reflection of me - everything happens at the same time and time is now." The guy left shaking his head and God and I returned to silence.
I have never seen God eating - even when people give her food from the vendors around the square, she lets it sit there until someone comes up to her and she offers them the food - or whatever she has at hand, even the blanket she sits on. In essence she is just as one should be when one realizes that the only thing to do is just sit down and wait (in meditation) for something else to happen around you vs. "doing" something of your own design. Pure religion at its best.
Anyway, as I was sayng, six months without a miss. Now God wears a funny little blue dress that some one gave her instead of the smock-sack and when I go to the square she stands to greet me and gives me a hug - "Blessings," she always says. "And to you as well" I always say in return - then we go to our silence. The other day she said "Someone donated this guest book, do you want to add something?" I said sure and wrote "We must live in the Hear and Know or we are nothing" and signed it. God read my note and said to herself "The Hear and Know - ha! that's perfect - I like that," and smiled at me. "Yes," I said, "this Hear and Know is all we have to go on." "Blessings," she said, gave me a hug and off I went to meet my wife after work. I was a few minutes early so I picked up a copy of the local paper from the free box and when I opened to the front page there was a picture of God with the caption "Supremely being... 'God' moves in mysterious ways, but she's at home downtown." It is a lovely article with some (though very few and hardly telling) details about God, whose main reply to questions about her life is "I am that I am," and "All time is now."
When I see God later today, I will give her your best regards.
One Hour Ago
I got home from being downtown and visiting with God. These days she stands under the huge Christmas tree with lights. She saw me coming from across the square and I could see her smile. After a hug I noticed that her face was a little swollen - perhaps from a small eye infection or sty, yet she seemed unconcerned, as if her body was simply a vehicle prone to various ups and downs. I mentioned the article and she sighed... "Hummm," she murmured... "Yes they did this without my permission." I was shocked as the article seemed so up front and with numerous photos. God said they asked her but that she hadn't given them explicit permission to run it - much less front page. "But," she said (sighing again), "that's all done now." I told her I didn't like the paper's invasion of her privacy and she agreed, but then God doesn't seem to make judgments, you know.
Ten Minutes Ago
I got off the phone with the Managing Editor of the Portland Tribune regarding what God had said to me about not getting permission to run the article. The Ed. (a very pleasant sounding woman), said "Humm... yes, well the writer saw this differently - and well, she is in the public domain." "Oh yes," I said, and went on to mention how I thought the writer had gone overboard when he tried to follow God 'home' one night. Again she replied "Yes," in retrospect she wished that she had left this segment out of the article. Nonetheless, I told her how much I had enjoyed the article, how beautiful it was, and that the photo of God was great.
This led to us just chatting for a minute or three, and before ringing off, she said, "I'm on deadline, you know" and asked me to send my resumé along to the new Entertainment Editor for some possible free-lance work.
Funny - God really does work in mysterious ways.
Next Day - Addendum(s)
After running some errands downtown, I went to the square to tell God about my conversation with the Tribune Editor, and for the first time in just over six months God wasn't there. I looked everywhere around the square to no avail. Then I asked the 'square-cop' on duty if he had seen God today. No he hadn't and commented that I was the third person to ask about her. "She'll probably be here later," said the rent-a-cop. To which I rather sternly replied "God is never late." I walked away thinking that perhaps the swelling I had noticed on her face was due to a tsunami of unshed tears over the newspaper article and most importantly the diversion from her purpose for being there - TO HEAL THE UNIVERSE
I became sad and missed being with God.
At that very moment of thought a young man came up to me and handed me a slip of yellow paper. On it were the words: "If you were to go back in time to when Jesus Christ lived, what would HE be like?"
I pined a moment and wondered if I would ever see God again. The train pulled up and, still holding the little scrap of yellow paper, I was internally reminded that I must endeavor to see God in everyone I encounter. I will return to the square tomorrow and again on Monday, praying all the while that I will be able to be with God once more.
I will advise.
48 Hour Reprise
With a lingering sense of trepidation, I made my way to the plaza, asever, hoping to find God. My apprehension was erased upon arrival as I found her sitting alone, meditating in the center of the square. "Blessings," she said as I sat down beside her. I told God how relieved I was by her return. I recounted my experiences since last being with her, and told her just how much I have appreciated our moments together. But at the end, when I told her how incredibly filled with spirit I had become by her absence, she burst forth with one of the loveliest smiles I have ever witnessed and said, "You've got it."
I sat with God for twenty minutes, reinvigorating my batteries so to speak, and when I rose to leave she hugged me and said, "It's always a pleasure to be with you. Blessings." And so 'It' is, with this moment in Time, which will always be Now, I know in my heart that I will never be without God again.
© 2005 - Hammond Guthrie