“It would take centuries and he must grow and grow and grow, but he was in no hurry—he grokked that Eternity and the ever-beautifully-changing Now were identical.” Robert A. Heinlein, Stranger in a Strange Land
One of my forever-now-eternal books is in the genre of sci-fi, but in my mind stands as a spiritual love story with the Universe. Stranger in a Strange Land got birthed into the world in 1961b y Robert Heinlein. I was introduced to it while in college and what appealed to me was the ways in which it explored the nature of relationships with humans and the Divine.
The main character is Valentine Michael Smith (a.k.a. The Man From Mars) who was born of human parents whose exploratory mission to Mars, cost them their lives. He is then raised by Martians, which questions the concept of nature vs. nurture. His biological parents were scientific geniuses and his caretakers had the ability to utilize and teach him beyond-human abilities, including those we would consider psychic. The earthly adventure begins as Mike comes to this planet when another mission’s crew finds him.
He is sequestered away in a military hospital until the powers that be can figure out what to do with this “Martian Named Smith” which was one of the working titles for the book. Enter Gillian Boardman- a feisty nurse who is curious about this mystery patient and once she finds out who he is and the government’s intentions toward him, with the help of her friend and erstwhile suitor; savvy reporter, Ben Caxton, she secrets him out of the hospital. Thus begins a emotional/spiritual/sexual relationship between the two of them. Jubal Harshaw, a cantankerous lawyer-author-doctor becomes surrogate father and mentor to Mike.As the book progresses, it is clear that Mike is a Christ-like figure and those he draws into his life are willing disciples.
The book was revolutionary for its time, since it challenged the prevailing religious and political institutions, explored polyamory and encouraged out of the box thinking. Some of my favorite concepts in the story are those that are part of my life to this day; including the saying “Thou Art God”-meaning that we are all aspects of the Divine, seeing those closest to me as ‘water brothers’, and the word ‘grok’ which Heinlein translates as ‘to drink’ as in to drink in and understand fully. It is becoming ONE with whatever it is you are experiencing that deeply. The quote that begins this article keeps me mindful that all that truly exists is this moment.