“What It Means to Me… God”
God. What a beautiful, wonderful and confusing word. It has meant so many different things to me throughout my life, up to the day it came to mean everything.
As a child, grace was said sometimes at dinner and church was attended from time to time. The only real images I got were of a giant hand reaching down from the sky or some fellow in a great robe and a great beard sitting on a great throne in the heavens. Great. And when I heard the words “omnipotent” and “omnipresent” I had to ask what they meant. When I discovered that that meant some old dude in the sky was somehow capable of anything imaginable and also somehow everywhere at once, I did my best to put it out of my mind.
A great many years passed where I called myself agnostic. I didn’t know what was up, and I couldn’t really see any way to find out. Then I found out.
When I first felt great bombs of love go off inside of me, I just let myself be pleasantly overwhelmed by it. It was really just a sensation within, a subjective experience that I had no way of sharing except by description. It was a long time before I thought to call it “God”, because it was not some old dude in the sky just waiting for the day when he got sick of it all and ended it. It was just a deep knowing that I was connected to everything, to everyone. It was a huge cascade of love that let me know without words that it flowed abundantly and eternally. No robes, no beard, no booming voice.
Then I started to read a little more, and found beautiful poems written to or about God that expressed so perfectly the things I was feeling. No love for another person or from another person had ever felt anything like this; yet I had written songs and poems with more than one girl tugging at my heartstrings.
I found throughout history men and women who have expressed themselves in words and in the world in ways that were truly glorifying to God. There are those that have, in my eyes, not transcended reality but mastered it. I would think those who transcend reality don’t see the point in leaving behind a dramatic tale. But those who master reality leave tales of great deeds, words written or spoken wisely, and always lots of encouragement to those of us treading the path behind them.
These people generally spoke freely about God, by whatever name. They spoke of love and self-knowledge, kindness and forgiveness; and called it all by the same name: God.
This flat-out blew my mind. God wasn’t some dude, or some chick… God was all of it. The dude, the chick, everyone they knew and everyone they knew. Every desire, every thought, every atom you could point a finger at and the finger that is doing the pointing. And not just the atom, but the electrons, the neutrons, the photons and all the magickal “empty” space between them.
All of the sudden, omnipotent and omnipresent took on a whole new meaning for me. Well, of course… every power you will ever see, and everywhere you could ever go, within or without. Beautiful. Perfect. My kind of “God”.
Sitting in the stillness and feeling the perfect mathematic organic clockwork of the Universe ticking away all around me quickly became my favorite pastime. Being able to feel that while playing an active role became my primary goal. Reading in some science journal that the physical world exists in ever-increasingly complex yet repetitive patterns from the atom to the universe, and presumably infinitely beyond in both directions is pretty cool… Feeling the cells of your body align to your intention and sing out with joy makes it all make sense. For we are technological, magickal, spiritual, organic beings whose every component is made of the same stuff.
God stopped being a being for me when I was privileged enough to experience God. I think of the Father of all things and I think of the primary causative force of the Universe. I think of the Mother of all things and I think of the Earth and its beauty, not some buxom goddess draped in vines and leaves.
I’m not a Christian, or a big fan of the Bible. From what I’ve heard about Jesus, though, he sounds like a pretty enlightened guy. I’ve gleaned very little from the Bible, and I understand that it has been edited and translated various times. A few choice phrases supposedly uttered by Jesus at some time have always stood out for me and rung true for me. Forgive me if I misquote…
“These works I do, you will do also, and more.” Nice. I like that . “Ye are like gods.” Well, who wouldn’t like that one? “Seek ye the kingdom of Heaven within.” Beautiful.
When I look at those statements together, I think sometimes that that’s about all the information one needs from the outer world. My brain gobbles that up and translates: God is in all things. But most important, God is in you. All things that are possible in this Universe are possible to you. God is not something outside of me that I must seek. God is something within me that I must find… and that’s what it means to me.
Well, look what Dawn found. I guess I had turned in another edition of “What It Means To Me”. I thought it would be a good one to post; being careful about slinging words like God around is important. Everyone has their own definition of the word, as well as their own experience, but the folks who should have the most to say about the subject are often loathe to use the word. They have heard too many of the people who are far too fond of the word use it to spread hate or justify murder or control people. It’s nice to see the spiritual and scientific community use God describing revelatory experiences or energetic matrix patterns, and it seems to be growing more and more common. Sweet.
There was a time when what are referred to as “fringe dwellers” were estimated to make up a very small part of modern society, around one in twenty-five people. Fringe dwellers are those individuals who look at the normal pattern of living being exhibited around them and wonder why this is normal. For most people, “because God says so” or “because that’s just how it is” is some kind of satisfactory answer to life’s most important questions. For fringe dwellers, it’s not. Common beliefs about spirituality and relationship and community are not held by the fringe dweller as worth adopting just because they are common. Often, the method by which a fringe dweller identifies themselves is a feeling of being an outsider despite all outward appearances of being just another cog in the machine of their society. Like a visiting alien, many things that seem a given to most people look strange and foreign and questionable to the fringe dweller.
When I first read the term fringe dweller, I identified immediately with the definition despite having a normal job and a handful of friends and an apartment much like most normal people. Discovering that I was one in twenty-five bummed me out a little, though… which brings me to the point of all this (I get around to it):
It was recently estimated that fringe dwellers now make up about one in four Americans. (Note to my beloved international readers: we know that there is also a South America, and that we are only part of North America. We still call ourselves Americans, though. I know, we’re assholes. Sorry about that.) I don’t know if it’s the internet or the evolution of consciousness or the movements of the cosmos, and I really don’t care. What I do care about is that the likelihood of meeting someone who thinks God is a racist, homophobic sociopath with a gray beard and a lightening bolt poised eternally to strike down sinners has apparently dwindled considerably. Now that’s good news.
I don’t know why religious camps haven’t jumped all over science’s developments. Why not retire the tired old imagery that’s only in the bible once or twice and get back to the “invisible spirit that moves in all things”, the “omnipotent and omnipresent” God that most of the authors of the book actually referred to? Then it makes sense that science would think that matter is 99.999% empty space; that’s how much they can see and attempt to quantify. Let’s give them that, then… you can do a lot with 0.001% of God, even if you call it something else. Let’s take back the word, though; let’s presume that we can talk about God with the knowledge that the odds that we might have an uplifting conversation with a thoughtful person are better than ever.
Do you have a spiritually charged word or subject that you’d like Jay to write about? Send your requests to firstname.lastname@example.org, or leave a comment on the blog. We look forward to hearing your ideas. And thanks for reading!