Today I’ve started a new fireside tradition. Each month I will tell you a story from a different spiritual tradition that supports the topic. The attached voice clip is my voice reading the Hindu story that I’ve attached at the end of this essay. ( I just don’t know how to move it down there yet. ha.)
++QUESTION for you -would you like me to include a weekly audio clip of me reading these weekly posts to make your lives a bit easier so you can ingest these on the go? Let me know in the comments below if it would be helpful.
Now that we have a better understanding of our human take on God, let’s focus on the meaning of the word directly from the horse’s mouth.
What does God have to say about God?
And how is this even relevant for us today?
In the simplest terms, God first identifies himself to Moses in the book of Exodus as “I AM” from the Hebrew root “Being”. Truckloads of books are filled with as many interpretations of this line as there are stars, but since I promised my Mom I would tighten these up, let’s skim over the important bits.
We’ve been given Biblical hints that are both egoically unsatisfying and genius to decipher. Whether we interpret it as “I am who I am”, “I am that I am”, “ I was who I was” or “I will be who I will be”, these translations seem to point to a name that many agree is best something we don’t even say out loud in vain, but rather that we silently revere in the meaningful experience of life itself.
No matter how we slice it, it all seems to come back to the Hebrew verb and noun “TO BE” or “Being”. As in our depth dimension, and that vertical axis that I keep rambling on about. The name for God in the Old Testament “YHWH” is derived from the Arabic term for “Love” and you could spend your entire lifetime researching the beauty and meaning of each symbolic letter and the meaning of Divine love. I hope someday you do, it’s mind-blowing and points to our essence as divine thinkers, the creators of our own reality.
It seems to me that the best we will ever really be able to nail down can best be described in another biblical passage where God is basically saying you can’t see me, but you can see where I just was. What?
I’m sorry. This is all we’re getting. Mostly our ideas and concepts about God are made up by us. We perceive what we perceive and it does become our experience and this is what we’ll look at today.
I guess the downside to this is that we are free with our interpretations to make a God in our image that punishes us. What kind of God would make us and then punish us? Ask us to forgive our enemies but then holds a grudge and tell us we’ll burn in hell?
A man-made one.
From the Psalms to Isaiah and Jeremiah…the biblical passages describe God as peaceful, righteous, a shepherd, a lawgiver, and a King just to name a few. Endless names and descriptors, but in essence, what God has told us is that none of us can see or experience or grasp His essence, and somehow God keeps somehow pointing BACK to us as instrumental in what God is.
Is anyone else confused? I mean you didn’t really think that I could pull off helping you understand God in 3,000 words, did you? So why even try? It feels a bit like it’s just beyond our level of clearance to see the bigger picture or all of the pieces on the chessboard.
What does it mean that “In the beginning, was the Word, and the word was with God, and the Word was God”? It seems to be one of the main keys to unlocking something so incredible that many of us have missed it in our church liturgies.
God is the word?
WORD is the vibration of God in action.
Word is action. It IS creation. When we see that “I and my Father are one” and in that oneness, the perfection of God is our perfection. Our perfection is not what we think of. It doesn’t mean we don’t have acne and cellulite. But when we say “I am Word” we are decreeing ourselves as the creator in ACTION. We summon our own anchoring as the Christed Self and begin to make this manifest in form.
God’s understanding is infinite and we are one with that unless we deny it. When we separate ourselves we are finite, we feel separate from our source and creator and we suffer. We feel like victims. It’s how we experience ourselves. We judge others and compare ourselves and we think that’s what being Human is. We’re just being human, aren’t we? A legitimate excuse for our fallibility.
God seems to be pointing to something else entirely. To himself as WORD. An uttered sound. An articulated vibration. The expression first as an idea that becomes manifest.
First in the mind as an ethereal imagining or thought… then like energy moving in waves. Colliding particles become matter when being observed by an intelligent observer or consciousness.
The poet Mary Oliver was heavily influenced by the Roman philosopher Lucretius. In his book “The Nature of Things” he points out that everything that happens - the experience of pleasure, the winds blowing, the flowers blooming has the SAME essential cause: “ Every action, all creation, and destruction are alike the product of the push and pull of these elementary particles colliding, cohering or flying apart”.
In A Course In Miracles, it says that “we are ideas in the mind of God”.
Ideas that are made manifest.
It’s important to note that God’s loving relationship with creation began more than 13.8 billion years ago, and has been an expanding consciousness with the Universe ever since. Not only 2,000 years ago when the historical baby Jesus was placed in a manger that only became widely known to us after we invented the printing press and bibles became mass produced.
The “nature” of God is ineffable and metaphysical. Not something we can access only through any of our well-meaning humanly constructed belief systems. And yet our metaphors, parables, stories, and symbolism are helpful too, and looking at modern physics is equally essential to understanding God.
Nikola Tesla’s declaration that “if you want to find the secrets of the universe think in terms of energy, frequency, and vibration”.
“Word” is articulated vibration or sound. Science may not have the technology yet to help us fully relate to these God concepts, but if we allow ourselves to go further down this road with an open mind the physics we’ll collectively imagine may only be a generation away from a deeper non-material understanding of this mystery of creation.
Or maybe it will always be above our clearance level, and I’m okay with that. You get to choose, this is your life. Your perception. Your virtual reality.
Another way to look at this is that the spirit of Christ is not the same as the person of Jesus. “Christ” as I’ve heard Richard Rohr say in his books “wasn’t Jesus’ last name”. God’s love for the world—has existed since the beginning of time, it suffuses everything in creation, and has been present in all cultures and civilizations. Jesus is an incarnation of that spirit, and following him can be one of our “best shortcuts” to accessing it. But this spirit can also be found through the practices of other religions, like Buddhist meditation, the Yoga Sutras, or through communing with nature.
Jesus demonstrated what is potential in all of us. He deflected attention and did not want to be worshipped or to be seen as a miracle worker he wanted us to “hear” him and embody his teachings. Not to praise him, but rather to live them and share this truth with others.
As comforting as it is for some of us to see Jesus as our own “personal savior”, and to be clear, it’s not a bad thing to feel that deep inner fellowship and I definitely don’t want to submit that the Fundamentalist or Evangelical Christian is wrong. It’s one take on scripture. But is it possible that it wasn’t what Jesus had in mind when he said “Follow me”? We have unfortunately turned him into an idol or the only doorway because that’s just what we seem to do.
I feel sometimes like the mystics and the poets found something and then we lost it with our scientific materialism and our religiosity.
Whitman boldly declared that “not all of him is included between his hat and his boots”, and Wordsworth pointed to it with his beautiful passage from his “Masterpieces of Religious Verse” in a kind of panentheistic description:
A sense sublime, Of something far more deeply interfused, Whose dwelling is the light of setting suns, And the round ocean and the living air, And the blue sky, and in the mind of man; A motion and a spirit, That impels all thinking things, All objects of all thought, And rolls through all things.
I can’t help but suspect that even the Disciples never clearly understood all of Jesus’ teachings at the time he was teaching them because most of us still don’t. He was presenting an entirely different perspective. He WAS that projectile we touched on last week. He was making things new with his worldview and he was an inconvenience to Empire as we all know he was killed for his efforts.
And yet, even though he was saying something opposite to the collective world view it rang so true to so many of us that he still has billions of followers thousands of years after the fact, we all sense on some level that his way of being was right or better than our own. He was one of many prophets that have walked the earth. I once heard Eckhart Tolle estimate that only about 10% of our current human population actually understands Jesus’ teachings they’ve been so twisted by our fear and egoic agendas.
Eric Butterworth put it brilliantly:
“God was not an object of worship but a presence dwelling in us, a force surrounding us, and a Principle by which we live. It is not too much to say that anyone who catches the idea of Jesus’ concept will find himself caught up in a new consciousness that will change his whole life. He will never be the same again.”
Now we know from last week that while we all seem to have our own intellectual concepts of God, which is even healthy in its diversity, that’s where it ends. If we’re just going through the motions with our worship and spiritual practices we’re missing out on the BEST part that’s been right under our noses, in our own backyards as the saying goes.
The wonderful experience of it.
In the same way, we can talk about bees and honey and write and read books about it, but until we see a hive, hear the buzzing, hold a comb, and taste the honey on our tongue…only then can it fully reveal the elemental essence to us experientially.
In our search for the “holy grail”, man has looked everywhere in vain, but he has failed to look for God within himself. Prophets keep incarnating to tell us this, but instead of following that prophet into the deeper experience, we invariably make a god of the prophet, worship him so that he or she is a threat to a status quo and the threatened powers that be destroy them.
From above the tree line, we can look back down and see that there seem to be 3 stages we go through as Humans when we’re confronted with any kind of challenging new Truth that threatens our worldview:
First, we seem surprised at the audacity of others and we laugh it off as crazy talk or I think the preferred cultural term is “woo-woo”.
Two is that we don’t just deny it, we attempt to personally annihilate, disparage or even destroy whoever is presenting the prophecy.
Finally, my favorite.. step three is when we put our tail between our legs and slink away when it eventually becomes accepted or acknowledged as a collective truth. Too late for the bold “deliverers” of that truth. We create “gestures of atonement” like holidays, monuments, and postage stamps that I’m not entirely convinced the prophets would feel flattered about if they could come back and tell us in person.
For instance, I wonder what the poor young Hungarian physician who first had the audacity to suggest that we should wash our hands and surgical instruments because invisible germs or bacteria were causing life-threatening infections would have to say about what it was like to be a truth-teller. Instead of listening to his personal experience, we ridiculed him publicly and professionally. He was beaten repeatedly, locked up, and forgotten because we probably got super busy catching more leeches for our next patient that we didn’t think twice while he sadly perished in an insane asylum before his 47th birthday. Retrospectively we put him on a postage stamp.
We did something similar with Jesus at the young age of 33 who quickly became a threat to the establishment of the day. As beautiful and reverent as it is, I’m not entirely convinced that this newly built 143-foot statue of Jesus called “Christ the Redeemer” in a small town in Brazil is really what Jesus wants us to do with our time and the earth’s resources in his name. Although, it DOES look pretty amazing!
Gandhi at least made it to 78 before we assassinated him and there are countless tributes to him.
Does anyone else find it absurd that we keep annihilating our Divine truth-tellers that have incredible and insightfully wise ideas that could possibly save us from ourselves? That those among us spreading messages of faith, new scientific theories, hope, and love were literally killed by us?
Martin Luther King Jr.’s death has always struck me as devastatingly sad, but beyond the tragedy of his short-lived 39 years on this earth, the polls show that only about 30% of us supported him when he was bringing something radical and uncomfortably true to light in the 1960s. Retrospective polls show that upwards of 85% of us support him today.
So what if we decided to be a bit less know-it-all and a LOT more humble and open-minded moving forward?
And how are we STILL doing this today? Who is being dismissed that may have something valid to contribute to Humanity?
Maybe people that have seen UFOs? Or had life-changing NDEs like neurosurgeon Dr. Eben Alexander? The possibility of spontaneous miraculous healing? Psychic and parapsychic abilities? What are we so afraid of? Can we put our bullsh*t detectors down for good?
Who are we to say? We all know much less than we think we do.
That especially includes me, I’m not saying I have all the answers either, but what if it IS all Divine?
Instead of being judgemental, maybe we can be a bit more discerning and meek-minded. Jesus said that “the meek shall inherit the earth”. At the time the word meek didn’t mean weak in the sense as it does today, it meant open-minded. What if we kept our own traditional ideas, and beliefs about all of life in all its manifestations, but held them a bit more loosely and even cracked open a tiny window of space for fresh new possibilities?
Maybe our greatest accomplishments and new scientific discoveries will not be only the outward ones, but the hope for mankind lies in the great undiscovered depths within us and in one continuous, unified, intelligent, and inexhaustible potential and bioluminescence IN matter.
We’re being shown via both scriptures AND science that if we’re open to it, all the grievous problems facing mankind today can be solved but the solution is an energetic one that we find hard to swallow from our existing Newtonian or materialistic worldview.
This seems less about cause and effect, and more about us causing effects.
Jesus dropped his ego and discovered His own divinity and how to access the “Mind of God” with renewed creativity. When Jesus said “Follow me,” or you “can only get to the father through me” according to Charles Fillmore he meant:
“he had dropped that personal consciousness by which we separate ourselves from our true God self…He became consciously one with the absolute principle of Being. Yet he attained no more than what is expected of every one of us”.
Jesus’ declaration in John corroborates this when he says “you will also do the works that I do, and greater things than these shall you do”.
The whole point of all of this “God talk” is that it truly is “good news” for all of us.
Is it possible that it’s a game-changing decision we each make for ourselves? I remember once reading Einstein say that he wanted to learn to think like God. What if we do too? IS it a friendly and loving universe or not?
Like a golden thread, God seems to be pointing us to something beyond our chosen religions that also aligns with all our laws of quantum physics and pretty much is in every sacred teaching on earth when we dig down deep enough below the surface. This cosmic, loving, creative life force that animates all of life seems to be trying to show us that it’s another name for everything.
This may be inconvenient to our personal belief systems, but it is pointing us to something I never learned in Church.
God is Reality.
God is the consciousness, the life force, AND the frequency of creation. The source and cause OF the big bang and evolution. The best news of all is that we are each a small slice of that. We’re not God, but we’re told that we have been made in the image and likeness of God. We live and move and have our being with this essential energetic force animating all of life.
We’re divine energy and we have an individual soul experience as well as being a part of shared consciousness experiencing itself.
It’s why when we say “I am…__________” (fill in the blank) with belief and conviction, the seed is planted and we inevitably become that something because we contain in our minds all the powers of this universal or Christ consciousness. Jesus says “let the weak man say I AM STRONG”.
If we’re fortunate for about 4000 weeks we each get to incarnate and tap into our full Divine power and have the ride of our lives.
Or we can also just stay as we are. With our beliefs intact that we are separate and at the effect of the world and that will be our perceptual experience for our own 4,000 weeks. That is a pretty solid plan B and many of us choose this path. Just being here seems to be a gift regardless of what is happening in our psychology.
And yet, the most common form of our despair is not being who we are. We are creators. Interbeings, inter-thinkers with variety and unity. The whole of knowable reality is a process we all share.
Kierkegaard said that this is not an exam we have to pass.
Regardless of what you believe, what if Jesus WAS right we are each other’s keepers. And what if we are far greater and more powerful than we’ve been taught? What if we can do what he did and more?
Is it just me, or is this exciting stuff!!!??
Next week in Part III, I’ll share some personal stories and spread a bit of hope for our future. My life has been taken up by the phenomenon of who we truly are beneath the surface of things.
This emerging whole is unfolding naturally and we are a part of that whole. Our true nature does not need to be liberated, it’s the realization or recognition that it IS.
Peace is our nature but we get to choose. We are divine creators. Aspects of God being brought forth into light. A piece of God in action when we are in full realization.
Powerful beyond measure and what we choose to do in life echoes in eternity.
No biggie. Ha.
This is my experience of God, what’s yours?
ps. Two more little treats for you…
First, have you seen the movie “I AM”? It’s from 2011 but still a fave if you’re looking for something to watch that will expand your ideas about who you are. Even if you just watch the trailer you’ll get the just of it and it’s pretty entertaining for a documentary.
Plus a fireside bonus chat for a little story to help bring this all home…
Today’s story is a Hindu legend about a time when all humans were gods, but they abused that divinity. They so abused it that Brahma, the chief god, decided to take it away from them and hide it where they would never find it again.
Where to hide it became the big question. The lesser gods were called into council to consider this question: “Where shall we hide humanity’s divinity?” The council said, “We will bury humanity’s divinity deep in the earth, but Brahma said, “No that will not do; one day they will dig down deep into the earth and will find it.”
Then they said, “We will sink their divinity into the deepest ocean.” Again Brahma replied, “No, not there, for they will learn to dive into the deepest waters, and search the ocean bed and find it.”
Then the lesser gods said, “We will take it to the top of the highest mountain and hide it there.” But again Brahma replied, “No, for eventually humans will climb every high mountain on earth; they will be sure someday to find it and take it up again.”
Then the lesser gods gave up and concluded, “We do not know where to hide it, for it seems there is no place on the earth or in the sea that humans will not eventually reach.” Then Brahma said, “Here is what we will do with humanity’s divinity. “We will hide it deep down in humans themselves; they will never think to look for it there.”
Ever since then, the legend concludes, humans have been going to and fro throughout the earth, climbing, digging, diving, exploring, and searching for something already within themselves. The divinity within humanity is still the best-kept secret of the ages.
i loved your little story... with your voice reading it.