Sinking Into God
I have heard it said that there are 5,000 gods being worshiped on the earth today. Most often, this is from someone defending their non-belief. I find it is more likely that there are 7.5 billion gods roaming the earth. One god for each person living. All of those gods designed and defined by those who believe and those who determine a god to disbelieve.
Some common beliefs are those that ascribe fatherhood to a god, while other beliefs include the imagery of a king. Most ideas of a god include that of a scorekeeper, a lawmaker, a rich uncle, or a judge. Whether we like to admit it or not, whether we want to share our idea of god or not, there is very little commonality in our definitions of a god. This is why we have preachers, teachers, theologians, missionaries, monks and nuns.
The real vocation of these religious thinkers and leaders is often not to share a god, but to correct the opinions others have of “their” god. So many times, the right belief becomes most important. The correct method of worship overwhelms the spirit of which it was intended to invoke. Our images of a god become a way to replicate ourselves and leave our imprint on the minds of others.
Just as you might look at a forest and describe it as an oak tree, religious leaders see life and attribute it to Buddha, Jesus, Mohammed, Zoroaster, Lao Tzu, or any number of what they call founders of their religion. Countless texts, sermons, wars, charities, crimes, and construction projects have all been created in, and consecrated to, the name of a god. You may ask what is the harm if it helps. This is a fair question.
All of the air we breath has been recycled through the trees in the forest. It is what give us life. In the same sense that we cannot say just the oak tree makes the forest, we cannot attribute all of life to one tree, or god. What I have noticed about most of the people religions have been founded upon, is that most always, they were pointing to something other than themselves. They recognized this otherness inside themselves, but they also recognized it in others around them as well.
What is wrong with humanity is not that we cannot pick a god, it is that we cannot comprehend that a god might be in us. We have to venerate another as a seeker of truth which takes the place of our having to become seekers of truth. We stand, metaphorically, outside of the forest, and wish and want for the tree of our choosing to come to us. All the while, only needing to step into the forest we crave.
Now that I have worn out the forest analogy, I will attempt to describe God in another way. It is as if God is the ocean. We also, in a very real way, are a part of that ocean. Even if only a drop of the ocean is removed, it is still, in essence, the ocean. If we are to join God, we need only to join again with the ocean that is God. This does not mean that we will know every part of the ocean, or every creature living there, but we will be in God, of God, and one with God. Period.
The truth of the matter is, a drop in the ocean cannot distinguish another drop in the ocean. There is no Buddhist drop, Christian drop, Muslim drop, Zoroastrian drop, or Taoist drop. Only drops outside of the ocean of God could notice a difference in any of the other drops. The ocean only knows itself as ocean, whether it is good or bad, believing or infidel, religious or without religious ideals.
This is written with full knowledge that some will be offended by this notion. Rather than know that we are one in God, they will pick out differences and feel justified in their belief that they have the only right view of God. It is not surprising that the overwhelming majority of people in the world are dismiss religion. Also not surprising is that religions are ramping up efforts to gain converts.
They attach their god to patriotism, entrance into a heaven that sounds a lot like a 24/7 church service, or the salvation from a dreadful eternity. All of these are not the biggest problem. The biggest problem is that they feel justified only in making others unjustified. They feel redeemed only if they are trying to redeem those that need redemption. Religion seeks to replicate itself, not unlike a cancer cell.
Believe it or not, this is article is not written as an indictment against religion, but as an offering of an alternate (yes one more) take on God. Better still, it is written as a permission for us to quit trying so hard, to quit judging who needs what in the world, and to breathe in a breath of peace. What I do know is that no drop in the ocean ever tried to convert another drop in the ocean to their way of being ocean. We are one people. Insert another dramatic, “period”.
We may find that as we give up trying to worry for others beliefs and actions, and focus on our own, that the world seems a little brighter. When we smile at those we disagree with, or better yet, find some common ground, we might sleep a little deeper. If we ask ourselves less about what we can get, and more about how all of us can get, we might end the day with a bit of gratitude and a bit less of worry.
And as for the notion of sinking into God, we cannot do this with any conception of God. Not even the analogies of a forest or an ocean. We must simply be. If we ask God what we should do, we are not doing anything. If we are converting others to our religion, we are not practicing our religion. If we feel we have to explain ourselves to others, we are not entirely comfortable with what we have become.
Here is the ultimate test for knowing if you are in God. Ask yourself if you recognize anything. If the answer is yes, you have not made it. If the answer is no, then quit asking questions and just bathe in what you have found. I cannot tell you what you might find. I also cannot tell you what I have found. If I suppose to say anything about your nature and the nature of God, it is this. There is a place in you where only God can exist. No words, thoughts, ideas, lessons, emotions, not even a part of you, but only God. We can get near that place in ourselves, but not in that place in ourselves.
Enjoy the mystery. Take comfort in the being here and now. Give yourself and others the grace that this honor should receive.
If you have a thought that is different, please comment below. If you have found comfort in these words, please share them. It all seems like such serious business, this God thing. While our opinions of God shape the way we interact with the world, there is also peace in letting our interactions with the world shape our opinions of God. There is a beauty that can be found inside and outside of ourselves. That is a great place to start.