God and Your Big Toe


You’ve seen that bumper sticker, “Wise men still seek him.” It’s true, just not in the way the driver of the car imagines. If Epiphany is to lead you to the Light, you must know that the global story of foreign kings traversing “field and fountain, moor and mountain” in search of the Light is really a story about you. Like every story in the Bible, it all happens inside the chambers of your heart.

We don’t seek him by going somewhere else. In the latest New Yorker magazine a cartoon shows a man and woman sitting in beach chairs under palm trees, umbrellaed drinks in hand. The woman says, “Oh, no. We’re still us.”

The whole narrative of the good life is going somewhere else. Seeking God is in fact a great journey, but the crazy reality is–the journey is not out there somewhere but in here! We don’t find God by going on retreats or reading more books about spirituality or trying to be a better person. We don’t find God by going to church (it pains me to say). All of those things are good and may be a starting point, but unless we come alive to the divine in this particular moment of our very ordinary life, we will never find God. B.K.S. Iyenar, who helped introduce the practice of yoga to the Western world said, “How can you know God if you don’t know your big toe?”

Look at your life. Listen to your thoughts. Sit with your emotions. Ask yourself, “What am I hoping for today, and what am I worried about?” Deeply spiritual people always astound us because they are mostly unconcerned with “big” issues. They are simply attending to the plainest realities that are right in front of their noses. The little door of the particular swings open to reveal the universal. Who’da thunk it.

James Finley, a monk who learned to pray from Thomas Merton, says, “The greatest teacher of God’s presence in our life is our life.”

4 Responses to God and Your Big Toe
  1. Matt
    January 11, 2018 | 9:57 am

    One day at a time, one deep breath at a time – I’m rarely in “the zone” but when I am it feel likes life. It mainly happens when I walk in the woods with my dogs. Or if I drop a hammer on my big toe.

  2. Michael
    January 11, 2018 | 11:50 am

    Thank you David. You just keep singing the same theme. Different quotes, and today a cartoon, but we’re alwaus directed to keep our feet on the ground. I’m sitting here having breakfast and i’m going to take a moment, breathe, and notice what i’m eating God is at the table, this table, right here on Oracle Road.

  3. Jim Moore
    January 12, 2018 | 1:28 pm

    Just finished “Breakfast Epiphanies” and this piece echos the same thesis. Understanding the presence of God in our lives requires attention to now and here. Thanks for another provocative reflection. Now to address my “big toe.”

  4. Cathy H.
    January 12, 2018 | 4:48 pm

    I love the “not out there somewhere, but in here” revelation.It’s not far to go, but you end up beyond yourself…catching glimpses of God. That feels hopeful to me. And “the little door of the particular swings open to reveal the universal” – love that, too.

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