"In a letter to a man who had lost his young son to polio, Albert Einstein writes, "A human being is part of the whole called by us 'the universe,' a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings, as something separated from the rest--a kind of optical illusion of his consciousness. The striving to free oneself from this delusion is the one issue of true religion. Not to nourish the delusion but to try to overcome it is the way to reach the attainable measure of peace of mind." Richard Rohr
I love this statement by Einstein about humanity's main striving - that it is the striving to overcome this delusion of separation. The separation was never real, but we believed or felt it was. It was real only in our minds. As Paul says, we were 'separated in our minds' but never in reality! I believe we all have a longing to feel connected, feel belonging, feel one with others, with God..it's the longing to be loved, the longing for family, for home, for security, for oneness. We can feel separated from all that and thus strive so hard to 'find' or experience/feel it. I know I have spent most of my life, and most of my Christian experience, searching for and trying to overcome that false sense of separation, trying to achieve that experience/state of oneness with God and so find relief and rest for my soul.
Richard Rohr says the universe is the body of God. People want to know they are one with something bigger than themselves. They say they want to be one with the universe or may say 'the universe showed me..thank the universe'. But what they/we really want is to be one, not with the material body of God so much (the universe) but with the spirit of God in that universe (the Person!). We want a soul connection of love, not just a feeling of connection with matter. We want a personal relationship with a real Someone who cares about us, holds us, talks to us, loves us. We want a Friend! When we see we, as creatures of the universe, are all part of God's body, we realize we already have that connection within and we rest, we relax, the searching ends. We were never separate from Life, Love, or God's Person. We are part of Him. We are God's body. And our spirits are part of His Spirit! In fact they are/it is ONE SPIRIT! We have always been just One, exhibited in many forms and facets..many branches, yet all one tree! The tree of Life is God and it is us, too, for we are part of Him..what a relief! This is true rest for the confused mind and soul!
So we are God's body and that's great to be one with the universe, all people and things in creation being God's body. When we meet a person, hug our pet, hold a beautiful flower, watch the waves of the sea, we are meeting God in His manifestation as matter. That is special and wonderful! Yet even better to me is that we are part of His Spirit deep down, having a real relationship with a real Person, connected on the spiritual level and the personal, relational level, friends with God, children of God, God's beloved!
And maybe what Richard Rohr is hinting at is that in the final analysis, matter and spirit merge and everything is really made up of the spirit of God, just manifesting in different forms, whether energy signatures (such as sounds or light) or touchable material objects. All is really part of God's being. Matter is just Spirit in another form, just like everything is made of atoms, which turn out to be described at the fundamental level as neither solely matter nor solely energy but somehow BOTH. All melding at the most basic level into the oneness that is God. Everything made of this wonderfulness, which is turning out to be God Himself!