Rise to Grace
In the beginning, God created Man and Woman, who like every other creature, in their naked state roamed about the Garden of Eden, oblivious to their own good or bad.
One evening God came to Man and Woman and said, "I want to offer you an opportunity. I have devised a way to give you two a chance to rise from your present unconscious state, and become my helpers and companions in creation.
"You see this tree here? This is the tree of Choice and Consciousness. If you choose to partake of its fruit, you will be given the opportunity to create with me, and eventually reach the state of Eternal Life.
"But I must warn you, that first of all, you have to come to this choice of your own free will. And second, you will become aware of the nothingness out of which you must create. That state of emptiness which may appear hostile and adversarial. The Void from whence all creation flows.
"And your path to the state of Eternal Life shall be a path that can only be trodden by yourselves, of your own free will. Many times that path will offer you choices that shall lead you astray. Many times you will make the choices that move you further from the eternal state of life, and you shall be tempted by the physical and temporal. But know that at any and every point on your path, you can choose to correct your choices and approach your Godhood.
"When you are fully creative and faithful to the eternal, you shall join me again. Not in Eden, but in a Paradise of your own creation. Because at that point, your Paradise and Eden are merely projections of the same state of Consciousness, and you and I are not only co-creators, but one and the same.
"Now, go and rest this evening and meditate upon the opportunity that is given to you, as well as the commitment and the toil and the trial that it encompasses. Tomorrow morning, if you choose to eat these fruits, you shall be graced with the rise to the state of consciousness, and you shall advance along the temporal and physical path of experimentation at creation.
"And if you choose to not partake of the fruits of the tree of Choice and Consciousness, you shall continue to remain here, in your state of blissful unawareness, without the opportunity to experience union with me."
That evening, Man and Woman discussed the offer and the opportunity at length. It was quite late in the evening when snake came to them and told them his own story.
"Look at me," said the snake. "God offered me the same choice, but I declined, and I have been living here, happily ever after. Just think about it, we have everything we need. Everything is right here available to us. This is, after all, the Garden of Eden. Who in their right minds will choose to leave this place and go to a nothingness? Who would want to choose toil and trials of the Void over the abundance and ease of the Garden of Eden? Why would you want to create a Paradise, when you already live in one?"
"You are right!" said Woman. "We have plenty of security here, and we don't need to be faced with choices, and tempted by fate."
"But the adventure!" said Man. "The heroic effort of making something from nothing... it all sounds so exciting."
"Excitement?!" exclaimed the serpent. "Excitement is not good for the nerves. Excitement is what destroys bliss. Can you imagine Eden with excitement? It will run a riot."
"But why would God offer us such an opportunity?" Asked Woman. "What is God's motive in giving us a chance at Godhood? Why would God offer the serpent the same opportunity? If it is not because of his love for all his creatures, and his deepest desire to experience union of equals with them, why else would God create the tree of Choice and Consciousness?"
"You are right," said Man. "It must be that God has such deep love for us that he graces us with the chance to become one with him. Why, a lover's deepest desire is union with the beloved. And as unconscious creatures, we can never be united with God, because we can never be God's equals."
"What twisted logic..." muttered the snake. "These two are hopeless cases", and he slithered away.
In the morning, Man and Woman rose, and picked the fruit of the Tree of Choice and Consciousness, took a bite each, and found themselves disoriented, because for the first time, they experienced total awareness of their beings.
In the meantime, in the Garden of Eden, God was watching their rise to consciousness, and quietly whispered, "Go forth and multiply, and in your multitude find awareness, and in your awareness become creative and build the Garden of Paradise on this barren Earth. And when in your diversity you experience your love for one another, you shall be united with me, and I with thee."
© Shahriar Shahriari
Los Angeles, CA
April 2, 2001
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