Friday, January 21, 2011

On Our Relationship to God

I recently had a nice conversation with a dear friend of mine. We talked about the power of prayer and the experiences he'd recently had. To summarize, he'd been praying for something and within minutes after praying, what he was praying for appeared. But then he had his doubts, got distracted in what he was doing, and the thing he was praying for didn't happen after all. And then, as if to complete the circle, the opportunity appeared again for him when he focused on it and trusted in God, as he put it.

I see myself as a spiritual person. I do not go to church or follow a particular religious denomination. I embrace all religions as best as I can and accept their diversity of beliefs. But I would be lying if I said that I didn't disagree with some of the things I hear church-going people say or do. I respect the church, I respect people of the church, and I love the peace and tranquility that you find within the walls of a church or cathedral. It's a place like no other. But the practices of religion, of belief, in some but not all cases, still bring up serious questions in me.

When explaining his revelation, my friend did not believe that it was his intentions (I equate intentions with prayer) that helped to create or bring the experience he desired to him. It was God. It was his devotion to God, his faith in Jesus that allowed for these things to fall into place. He explained that things hadn't been working out because he did not trust in God. That God was demanding that he put his faith in Him. By doing so, God had then let his desire be fulfilled. It was almost as if God was playing games with him, in my interpretation and in his explanation; testing his faith, giving and then taking away to demonstrate His Power and showing my friend what he needed to do to fulfill his prayers. When things finally worked out, my friend explained that he had finally listened to God and put his faith in Him.

There's beauty in his experience. The back and forth, the internal dilemma, and his witnessing of a process going on within him. He was drawing things to him via his understanding of what God wanted for him, but in turn, clearly what he wanted for himself.

What always gets me, however, is this notion of "separation" from God. God is there. I am here. God controls and God demands things of us. God gives and God takes away. I either respond to Him or I don't, but there are always consequences. And there is the notion that if we do not adhere to Him, it is very likely that our desires will not be fulfilled, or at least, that we are in for a long journey to God because of our continued disobedience of Him. In more extreme versions, people are told that by not following God's orders, they are relegated to some burning hell in the afterlife as punishment.

I didn't say to my friend what I was feeling at that moment. But my feeling is that we are Not separate from God, we never have been, and never will be. I don't agree that we are at His Mercy. That it's Him not us who decides what's best for us. That we don't have the ability to create in our daily life. My friend's process, the internal back and forth and the presence of God as the ultimate decider for him; for me, is not about a God giving and taking away from us from some unknown external place, but instead, it is a part of an internal process occurring within one person who, like so many of us, is experiencing the power we all have to do, have, or be anything we want in life. I feel that as a society we constantly fail to associate the things that occur in our lives with our own choice for them to happen at some level. We are creators and I do believe that God is a part of this process, loves and supports us unconditionally, but not in the exact way that we have been led to believe.

I also agree that God is powerful, but I see God and I as one. That we work together, consciously and unconsciously, as a team in loving harmony, and that what's best for me is best for Him and vice versa. My decisions are His decisions. My power is His power. There's no separation here. It's not just about me working for God as many would have us believe. We work together. Don't misinterpret my comments here as believing that I am as powerful as God in some righteous way. When I say "I," I mean "we." We all have that power to create.

We create our experiences. I see us doing it every day. Human beings don't give themselves enough credit for that. They don't believe that God would want for them what they want for them, even if we sometimes make mistakes in our decisions, our actions, or our judgment. How could God support these decisions you might ask? Well, when you step back and look at the process in people's lives, you see numerous cases where poor decision-making has eventually led to growth and even individual/collective evolution.

It's still frustrating though to observe that while many of us don't believe God is like us, we have created a God that is most definitely like us at our worst: jealous, greedy, controlling, insecure, and needing of power over others to feel important or get what we want. We regularly misinterpret ourselves and God, and we've paid for it dearly in our history. We've paid for it in wars, in violence, and in crime in the name of God, and often in the name of a belief system that preaches division over union, separation from God instead of unity with God, or His word against ours.

I've heard many religious folk who I respect say that you must do God's bidding to be saved or to be accepted into the kingdom of heaven. And yet, in many cases but surely not all, you must believe what they believe and follow their way of thinking to get there. Is that true freedom? So you must pay to be part of God instead of God being part of you. So I differ on our understanding of how we interact with God.

I pray every day. I meditate and it's through this meditation that I envision how I want my day to go and I give thanks in gratitude for the things I have. I speak with the God within me, the Self that is connected with the body of God and worthy of His love. I feel Her loving support in everything I am because I love myself, respect and appreciate who I am (I'm not trying to be narcissistic here). Love of God is love of Self and vice versa. I've observed that if I ask for things and if these things are perfect for me at a given time, and are in line with where I choose to go in my life at that moment, then they will be manifested without effort.

Could this have been why my friend finally achieved what he prayed for? Asking and then receiving, aligned with Self? Finally having faith in his ability to make manifest his desires? Well, I think so, but that's only my interpretation. For him, God makes things happen. That's okay. I think I understand where he is coming from. But it's difficult for me in my experience to see a God outside of us who is the only gatekeeper to success in or after life. For me, we're gatekeepers. We are One.

We all have this profound connection to God or to Life if we don't believe in God. We can know God as we know Life. We can work together with God or Life to build a better present and future. And as we work with God or Life, we can also work with our fellow human beings to build a better, brighter present and future. And this naturally brings me to my profound feeling of oneness with God and all Life. To my profound feeling of oneness with all of you. Alas, We are One. Knowing this and applying it ever day could be one important way to creating a more peaceful planet (in my humble opinion).

2 comments:

  1. That couldn't be said better. Really. And I have read similar ideas many times. Have you read any Deepak Chopra? He writes similarly, but perhaps his strong connection to Eastern religion muddles it for me a bit at times (though I respect him and his writing). I think you explained the concept of spirit and Spirit, or "drop in the ocean" in a non-denominational way, and I enjoyed reading it a lot. This pretty well explains my religious perspective as well, although I am always contemplating different ideas and working to come to terms with what goes on in the world around us. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

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  2. That was really well put, you were able to put to words how I feel about God and our connection. I try to explain my point to my many very religious friends but I'm not as good at describing my feelings as you did here and now I have something to reference when I try to explain my point. Thank you.

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