The Divine Enigma -
The Relationship Between Man & God
Those of you who totally reject any notion of a God will probably have already passed this article by and so I assume that, if you are reading this, you feel comfortable with some concept of a Divine Creator or of a Universal Being of Higher Consciousness.
Naturally, my own experience of God is totally subjective; I sense a consciousness great enough to have initiated and created the entire Universe and everything within it. A consciousness so great as to have developed every mechanism that sustains life as it exists in every form, both above, upon and within our planet and, also, in whatever forms it exists throughout the entire Universe, The totality of God is simply beyond my comprehension. I would even go so far as to say that God, in it's entirety, is beyond the comprehension of any human being, though in saying that, I don't seek to imply that the experience of God is beyond any human being.
If you can go along with my viewpoint, we have a God of incomprehensible magnitude, creating every galaxy, every star, every planet, every creature, every molecule, every atom in existence. Not only creating, but bringing them together in a myriad of forms and structures, all of them capable of some level of conscious existence, all of them filled with a consciousness or a life force that not only sustains and maintains, but moves them to evolve and grow and develop, for the Universe is clearly not stagnant, but evolving and developing as time goes by.
It is totally understandable that mankind has, throughout history, and almost always still does, present God as something that is comprehensible, and thus, invariably, a limited, reduced version of what God truly is.
Last night I went to a Harvest Thanksgiving and was reminded of the unfortunate way in which the Christian Church approaches God as a totally separate entity to whom we make requests for what we want. A God to whom we give thanks when those requests are met (if we remember) and who we quietly ignore when those requests are not met. We are still presented with a form of God that says "Yes" or "No"... that can be asked to be on our side in battles against other humans who are just as much creations of the Divine as we are. A form of God who can be invoked, and asked to make things better for us. An attitude towards God that results in the disempowerment of the individual and the empowerment of the priests who intercede on our behalf. To me, this concept speaks from long ago, when each tribe had its own God; when the tribe that won battles and gained land and won slaves was deemed to have a more powerful God than the God of the losers.
My understanding is that none of this arises from the teachings of Jesus, upon which this religion was founded. He was always clear that the Kingdom of Heaven is within you... within each and every individual; that God was our father, that everything he, Jesus, did was done through God (not necessarily by God) and that, ultimately, it is our own, personal relationship with the Divine that really matters. He also made it clear that every single man or woman could do whatever he, Jesus, did and that he was merely there as an example of what was possible. Taking this seriously, the question naturally arises," What is my personal relationship with this Supreme Consciousness that has created everything that exists... which must include me and everything that I am?"
We appear to have, on one hand, a Creative Consciousness of unimaginable magnitude and on the other hand, a huge number of small individual selves. Me... you... separate little individuals. Insecure. Trying to make some kind of life for ourselves in the midst of a Nature over which we have no control. A Nature that is sometimes fruitful and at other times not. Under the influence of storm and tempest, flood and famine, earthquake, volcanic eruption and even the occasional asteroid from space, it is not surprising that we have attempted the take some steps, to make some small effort, to influence or control the powers of Nature. The fundamental position of mankind is that we experience ourselves as being small and puny and separate from the mighty forces that surround us. Small wonder that our ancestors, being so dependent on Nature for their very existence, went to such lengths to predict the seasons and to stay on the right side of the gods that controlled the natural events that had such a fundamental influence on whether they ate or starved. Feeling small and insecure, it is hardly surprising that they created a version of God that they could recognise as a father figure who, if he was on your side, would make your life more safe and secure.
But what is the real relationship between this mighty, creative entity we call God and small, weak, puny mankind? If God has created everything in the Cosmos, then God has also created us. We are, necessarily, creations of the Divine. Being creations of the Divine, we are, necessarily not only of the Divine, but aspects of the Divine. For did Jesus not say, "The Father and I are one".
Looking around, I perceive a web of life... everything living having it's own consciousness and its own creative forces... all of these consciousnesses involved in this web of life... a sphere of consciousness encircling the planet that you might call the consciousness of Nature. We may not feel part of that, these days, though I'm sure that we once did, but it is certain that we are part of this web of life and, if we can allow ourselves to discard our sense of separateness, we can allow ourselves to experience ourselves as being part of this consciousness field.
If we are part of Nature and all of Nature is created by, and sustained by, the Divine, then we also must be created by, and sustained by, the Divine. It must be that we simply close ourselves to the experience of how things really are. Since we are conscious beings, with will and intention, we have the ability to turn around and contemplate the validity of our feelings of separateness and aloneness. "Is this really true? Are we really alone? Are we really separate? "...or is it an illusion?
Looking at subtle reality rationally, we must come to the conclusion that we are not separate; that we are, indeed, part of this complex, interwoven whole. And yet, we experience ourselves as being separate and apart. Closer examination of our personal subtle realities reveals that we surround ourselves with spheres of protection - energy moulded into defensive structures designed to keep us safe from the threats and challenges of the hostile outside world. To some extent, this strategy is successful, for, to some degree, it does what it is intended to do. But, at the same time it locks us inside ourselves and causes us to experience ourselves as separate and alone.
Dissolving... releasing... abandoning these layers of protection and insulation is a daunting and mighty task, for we are consciously exposing ourselves to the threats from which we initially retreated. We need to take our fear in our hands and with courageous hearts, open ourselves to whatever reveals itself. Few mortal men, or woman, I suspect would choose such a radical course of action of their own volition. Probably, it is only when our sense of isolation becomes too extreme, too uncomfortable, that our Spirit can move forward and motivate us... propel us towards our own salvation.
Scary stuff. But, indeed, as our layers of protection gradually soften and pass away, we become increasingly capable of being open to the qualities that have always surrounded us and we begin to experience, beyond the physical threats, real or otherwise, a gentler world of spiritual energies, of spiritual beings and of higher consciousness. In time we evolve into a state where we can experience, if not understand, a presence, a greater presence, that is beyond our comprehension.
This is where things start to become seriously interesting; if I am open enough, if I allow myself to simply be, and to be open and aware, I can experience more and more what is around me. I can experience the grass growing, the waves rippling, the trees flowering and there is a presence that is the same presence that is present within every part of Nature that I look at. Not only within each individual part, but also between and around, there is the presence of something for which I have no rational, conscious explanation, but which is ineffable... delightful... permeating... and I feel drawn to allow myself to become even more open, so that I can allow more of this experience within myself. I have labels from my past experience that I can apply, but being all pervading and filling all that I can perceive, I am drawn to conclude that this mystery is worthy of the name... God.
There is one centre within my physical body that seems to be growing and changing more than the others and I believe this to be the area known as the higher heart. This area, in particular, responds to this presence that I have chosen to call God. As time passes, I become more aware of, I feel more, the presence of this presence, and here is the dilemma, for I know that I am I, alone and separate, but I also know that this presence fills and surrounds everything and ,as I allow it to, it fills me. So, at one and the same time, I am me, alone and separate, and simultaneously, not, for I am part of, for I experience myself as being part of, this greater presence.
I share these words, these experiences, because I know that I am not alone... many others will be experiencing this also. Fusion is a word that comes to mind. God in man and man in God, together and separate, at one and yet, apart. As time passes by, I feel more comfortable with the mystery of this condition; the mystery has become a friend. We do not need to be able to understand everything. It is a little like being in a valley, surrounded by beautiful hills; the nature of the hills is a mystery, but, rather than a threat, they give me comfort. It's just a little bit like being a father and a son at the same time, but in a more all pervading way. I can spend time entirely involved in this presence; when my eyes are open and I am about my business, I am clearly a separate individual and experience myself as such, but if I choose, I can also experience myself as being part of this greater whole. Ultimately, I feel, this is not something that is capable of explanation, just as transmutation is not something we really understand, but certainly, it seems, we are capable of experiencing ourselves as an expression of God whilst at the same time choosing to express God in our own individual and particular way.
Thank you for reading this. I hope that my thoughts, my observations and experiences have been of some value in helping you to understand your own journey, your own evolution, into the Divine from whence, I'm sure, we came.