God and Engineering

I am off on a seemingly different topic; at least different from running and A Course in Miracles, sort of.

11 years ago, I was working as an engineer completing highly technical calculations for sizing relief valves on chemical reactors. I was doing this work for the company I currently work for. 11 years ago, I had begun to practice silent contemplation. I was filling my head with the works of John of the Cross, Theresa of Avila, Thomas Merton and some Buddhist monks. I was convinced that to carry out my mission to know God, I had to go live in a monastery. So, I engineered a project and quickly found myself confirmed Roman Catholic and installed as a Postulant in a contemplative Benedictine religious order.

4 years later (on the day I was supposed to take vows), I found myself suddenly on the streets. Next, I found myself in a parish and working as a cashier at a bakery.

1 year later, I returned to my engineering profession as I had obtained a job at an ethanol plant located in a small town in Kansas. So I lived there for 5 years, practicing contemplation, solitudeĀ and running alot. I worked my way through leaving the Catholic Church, divorcing myself from most of society and adopting A Course in Miracles as my spiritual text.

Last June, I got laid off the ethanol plant job, but obtained a job at my former employer. I have been there for over a year as a Process Safety Engineer. And now, I find myself slowly returning to involvement with pressure safety. Today, I am at a DIERS workshop in San Diego, learning more about the complicated calculations needed to design relief valves for chemical reactors.

I am also reading a book called \”The Hermitage Within.\” Last night I had these thoughts: When I am alone, I have the opportunity to block out the world. And then, simply wait for God; sitting quietly, completely available, listening. I recognize The Presence here and now.

I find it must be my task to integrate a life in the world with contemplation. I must integrate the intricate design of relief valves with the massive silence of God. This idea takes my breath away. People think only monks can be intensely spiritual or that monks have some special place in God consciousness. Read Vatican documents on the place of religious in the world and they clearly state that contemplative nuns are closer into the heart of God than the rest of us.

It simply can\’t be true if God is love. It must be true that God comes to whoever wants Him and is willing to give up everything else. So, as I sit in class for the next few days, I\’ll be making prayers of equations for bubbly two phase flow.

I find myself in the heart of God whenever I consciously recognize the fact. Everyone is there with me; but many don\’t know it. If God is love, so are we. There is nothing else. And so I sit before the massive silence and feel awe; even as some teacher drones on and on about two phase flow.


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