creation story
creation story

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deeper thinks:


the cosmic play

by martin boroson ©2000

we humans seem hard-wired to wonder about the really big questions, such as who we are, and what--if anything--god is. c. g. jung once said that although he could not prove the existence of god, as a psychiatrist he knew that the human mind was built to have an experience of god. in other words, just as our minds have “programs” that enable us to feel sadness, anger, and ecstasy, and to think creatively and learn a language, so too have we a program that can help us “read” life in a spiritual way. even if we have not experienced this program personally, it is reasonable to assume that it exists, simply because so many sane and wise people, throughout time, have reported its benefits. providing that we can locate, download, and learn how to operate this program, it can give us a pretty amazing experience, an experience that many people call, among other names, god.

the greatest spiritual masters are those people who have accessed and mastered the most powerful applications of this program. when asked about the really big questions of life and death, creation and evolution, they give us a remarkably consistent set of answers, sometimes called the “cosmic game” or the “divine play”. this view provides some fascinating, moving, and colorful answers to our most profound questions about why we are here, and what is the nature of reality. my creation story, becoming me, tells one version of this timeless spiritual viewpoint.

recently, these same basic conclusions have been rediscovered in a most surprising, and altogether modern context, confirming that the greatest spiritual truths exist in all of us, waiting only to be accessed. these findings have been presented by dr. stanislav grof, who, during the 1950s and 1960s, was one of the leading researchers in the clinical use of lsd, both in his native prague, and at johns hopkins university in maryland.

his patients came from many different backgrounds, and were not generally on a spiritual search. in a clinical setting with no religious indoctrination, they were given high doses of lsd, and encouraged to experience fully whatever emotions and realizations the drug activated. having supervised over 4000 of these sessions, grof concluded that the drug was a “non-specific psychic amplifier”--a catalyst for the emergence of the deepest levels of the client’s own psyche.

typically, grof’s clients first worked through personal experiences from their past. but as their sessions deepened, they reported spiritual experiences that were similar to those of the mystics and visionaries of many of the world’s spiritual traditions, without necessarily having had any prior knowledge of those traditions. grof’s clients discovered these dimensions for themselves, in their own mind, and without looking for them.

despite differences in style, these reports told a pretty consistent story. they provided a coherent and consistent set of answers to the really big questions of life. his clients seemed to have “opened a door” to a spiritual perspective that transcends time, language, and culture. this perspective radically transformed their lives, and often brought them powerful healing.

grof has summarized his clients’ experiences, compared them to the perennial spiritual teachings, and presented them in a remarkable book called the cosmic game. (he has also confirmed his findings using non-drug techniques, with large numbers of people.) we can summarize the conclusions here, bearing in mind that these ideas are difficult to describe, and that this is only a brief summary.

at the summit of a spiritual search awaits a direct experience of the ultimate, a kind of final destination. this experience gives you a feeling of immense satisfaction, as if you had discovered a clearing in the center of your soul, in which all things are embraced, and everything is profoundly at peace. from this perspective, beyond time and space, there are no limits or boundaries in the universe. sometimes this is experienced as pure light, or pure mind, or pure possibility. you are resting at the source, the creative potential behind all things. from the perspective of this source, everything else seems relative. the universe is a reduction of infinity, a sub-division of the whole. creation (and ourselves as parts of creation) are temporary rearrangements of this seamless whole, and so we are not really independent, separate things. in fact, we are not really real.

this isn’t how we normally think of ourselves. in our normal state of consciousness, the world looks like it is composed of individual, finite, and separate things. we know ourselves as a collection of things that define us. we are a body, some feelings, some ideas, our past, and our imagined future. these things define our boundaries, the difference between what is “me” and what is “not-me”. almost everything we do is geared to preserving (and enhancing) those things that define us. but if you want to experience the divine source, you can’t do this as “you”, because you are just one bundle of boundaries, and the source itself is limitless, eternal, and boundless. and this is why, if you are seeking the source, you must ultimately empty yourself. you must relax your boundaries. your sense of self must die, which is just another way of saying that you must discover that you are really an illusion. what you thought was you is really just a set of limitations. you are, in fact, the source, pretending to be you.

but why then are we trapped in this apparent world of time and space? why do we believe our boundaries? why does the divine source bother to create such an elaborate fantasy? the answers to these questions are best summarized by the beautiful statement from the kabbala: “people need god and god needs people”. it seems that being eternal and infinite can be a bit boring. or that even god can get lonely, and crave a playmate. or that god is like a great artist or inventor, with so much creative talent that it simply must make things. creation begins when, once upon a time, on the still surface of perfection, an urge or desire for something else bubbles up, like a wrinkle in timelessness. and from this wrinkle, the created world, a sub-division of infinity, begins.

from within itself, the source gives birth to an imaginary world, like an enormous film or play. we are characters in this film, unaware of the drama we’re in, unaware of the source who creates and projects us. god is playing with us, and is playing through us, like a big hand with so many finger puppets. this is done with delight and curiosity, the way a loving parent sees the world afresh through her child’s innocent eyes.

the goal of the cosmic game is for you to discover, in a way that satisfies your own particular tests, that you are an aspect of the divine. this is the moment when you discover the god-program buried in your hard-drive. you learn its language, and start to surf the web-of-life from its custom browser.

in the search for this program, you have been challenged to let go of what you thought you were. but even then, there will still be enough of you left to enjoy the illusion of your life. what happens really is that you are no longer just-you anymore. you are also god, having a once-in-eternity experience of being you. it’s like having the best of both worlds.

and so, although the game is over, the playing is about to begin. because with this new awareness (that life is not quite so real) and with your new, relaxed identity as both god and you, you can watch and play and live your life with less fear and judgment. you can live more lightly. you can watch the birth of new life and new love. you can witness new technologies and new cultures and new disasters and new heroic responses to disasters.

you can feel deeper compassion for all things in creation, who are also you, and also god. you can love and cherish this planet, a world that you co-create every time you open your eyes. and with the power of your awareness, you can help nudge the game, or tilt the odds, just that little bit closer to their final goal ... which is simply that all beings realize who they are. you can lose yourself and find yourself and lose yourself again. and you can fall madly in love with this beautiful illusion, just as it is, over and over and over again.

© martin boroson, 2000



martin boroson is the author of the interfaith creation story, becoming me, and the one-moment master. he can be reached at

this essay owes a great debt to the cosmic game by stanislav grof. more information about grof's techniques can be found at and


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text © 2003-2004 martin boroson (unless otherwise noted);
illustrations © 2003-2004 christopher gilvan-cartwright
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