To be human is a divine experience.
Let’s say I’m in the Garden of Eden. Paradise. I know nothing of Good and Evil. I don’t know of pain or pleasure. I don’t know of hunger or satiation. A state of contentment. Peace. I don’t even know of these concepts, there is no contrast in my world.
There are trees that bear fruit in this garden, but I don’t know hunger. I don’t even know what a tree is or what fruit is. I’m just having an experience. No language, no concepts, no thinking. I’m exploring this paradise with my senses only.
One day, as part of my exploration I discover the sense of taste. An apple falls from a tree. I hear it hit the grassy floor, I see it shiny and red. I pick it up and feel the smooth, glossy skin, the firm flesh in my grasp. I smell the sweet fragrance of the ripe fruit. I lick the skin, graze it with my teeth and get the first taste of the sweet juice within.
And now I know the sense of pleasure. I know what it is to desire, to hunger. I have eaten from the tree of knowledge and my paradise will never look the same again.
I want to explore all the pleasures of the senses. I share my new found knowledge with my fellow Humans of Paradise.
We know now of desire, pleasure and hunger. And when we have eaten all there is to eat we know the pain of starvation. And when we desire those things that we cannot have we know suffering. And when we see that others still have access to that which we do not we know envy, anger, injustice, greed.
We have become blinded by our knowledge, lost in our senses. Our paradise no longer feels like a paradise. It is still immensely beautiful and abundant but what does that matter when we know suffering?
This suffering feels unnatural to us. We vaguely remember a time when we did not feel this. We use our knowledge to create ways to avoid our suffering. We now know at a visceral, physical, sensual level what it is to be human.
It is so overwhelming that we forget that we began as Divine Humans. We feel closer to animals now, ruled by our senses. We remember that peacefulness of our previous divinity as something separate to what we are now. We think we are lost and must find our way back to our divine paradise.
One day, wrapped in a shroud of misery and suffering, I wander to the farthest stretches of the Garden. There is nothing but what appears to be barren land for as far as the eye can see. I meander aimlessly over the land for eternity. For so long that I begin to forget that I know anything.
Eventually I come across a tree. Standing alone and flourishing in the barren land. It bears a golden fruit and as I step beneath it’s sprawling canopy, a bright, shiny, golden piece of fruit falls from the tree and I catch it in my outstretched hands.
I sit beneath the tree with the fruit in my hand. The shine of it hurts my eyes. The sweet aroma is overwhelming. I raise the fruit to my mouth, feel it’s skin warm from the sun, against my lips.
This time when I take a bite of the fruit, everything I know falls away. I remember my divinity. That I never left the Garden. That as a human I’m not separate from the Divine, I am Divine of course. I am life itself. There is nothing to be done, nowhere to get to, nothing lost and nothing to fix.
The Garden of Eden is a mental state that can’t ever be taken away from us, though it is well hidden in plain sight. We cast ourselves from Eden when we place our energy and attention outside of ourselves, when we look to others and objects to fulfill us. When we identify with our suffering and stories we banish ourselves from the paradise we were born into.
We think we have fallen from grace and that there is something we must work our way back to. It is this perspective in itself that casts us from Eden. We never fell from grace, we are Grace, we are here in the Garden. We are Divine because we are Human. Who does it benefit for us to not know our own divinity?
To eat from the Tree of Life is to turn away from the world of knowledge which makes it nearly impossible to talk about the experience. Can you sit with a tree until you forget everything you have ever been told about trees, until you are experiencing the tree itself rather than what you know about the tree? Can you sit with yourself until you forget everything you have been told about yourself, until you are experiencing your Self rather than what you know about yourself? This is where your Paradise is.
I’m not religious and have never read the story of the Garden of Eden from the Bible. This is just a story or analogy that came during a meditation and became a part of my meditation practice when out in nature. Interpret it however you please.