On Finding God
December 2, 2009
“One of the main functions of formalized religion is to protect people against a direct experience of God.”
I have always, until recently, avoided following a given religion or believing in God. I was raised Jewish, was Bar Mitzvahed, and certainly enjoy the traditions, stories, and foods of the Jewish Holidays.
Judaism, however, based on what might be my limited study has never given me a feeling of peace or an understanding of why life unfolds as it does. It has not given me a “personal GOD” or a “direct experience with GOD.” It certainly has provided me with “questions” but certainly not the “answers” I am looking for.
I have some knowledge of the great religions of the world and not one feels any closer to meeting my needs, although I do appreciate the traditions, stories, and foods of many of those holidays as well.
I have always said that I have Faith, but am not sure of Faith in what. I have always admired and envied people who could feel a personal GOD (recently I have been searching,) who could Believe (but in what,) who could find solace in Prayers (I don’t.) I have always described myself as a Spiritual Person not a Religious Person and while this has given me a way of explaining myself and my moral behavior, it hasn’t given me much Peace of Mind.
Being Gay doesn’t help. How can one believe in a religion which professes that we “Love Thy Neighbor” and then denies my love. How can any religion say they are all accepting and then not accept my life as I have inherited it and/or chosen it? How can any religion say I am OK as I am, as long as I do not practice who I am? But that is a topic for future discussion!
Recently I have been studying this GOD conundrum. With my current, difficult life situation acting as a catalyst in my “Search for God,” I have sought a way to find peace, contentment, guidance, and quite honestly just a way to get outside of myself, my fears, my sadness, and my pain. I cannot imagine seeking drugs or alcohol to do so and have never been a person who buries his head in the sand or enjoys denial. So where do I go? Where do I turn?
In my recent studies, I have read the “Bible” (Old and New Testament,) “How to Practice The Way to a Meaningful Life” by the Dalai Lama, “The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz, “There is a Spiritual Solution to Every Problem” by Wayne Dyer, “The Evolution of God” by Robert Wright, among others. I have had deep conversations with my Jungian therapist/psychologist Dr. Peter Demuth. I have drifted off to sleep thinking about my dilemma, my search. I have talked with friends. I have become more aware of similar “searches” in the fiction reading I have done and in the movies I have watched.
While my studies have not yet given me the Peace I am looking for, I believe I am getting closer. I think I have been able to condense what I have gained from all of these studies combined with my life experiences and have begun to see a common thread. I suspect that all of them have assisted me in being closer to obtaining Peace and eventually I will be able to say:
“I HAVE FOUND GOD!”
A breakthrough came when I entertained the possibility that there could be a SPIRITUAL GOD. Until now I have thought only of GOD in terms of the various formal religions and couldn’t find a fit for myself with this RELIGIOUS GOD. I therefore dismissed any GOD. But perhaps there is, instead, a SPIRITUAL GOD. And perhaps I have found him, or her, or that greater entity!
Even with this new awareness of the possibility of a SPIRITUAL GOD, but based on past history, I must work on not visualizing a white bearded old man who is benevolent or judging or punishing. I try not to visualize a young, good looking teacher with golden flowing hair. Or a Buddha? Or Allah? I must still work at not assuming the word GOD belongs to any particular formal religion. I continue to work at not accepting the Bible as GOD’s law, cannot accept words like Sin or Evil or Ten Commandments (in principal yes but not having been handed down on clay tablets,) and certainly cannot understand killing others in the name of GOD.
On the RELIGIOUS GOD’s side, formal religions vary. Catholicism has the Trinity: Father, Son, Holy Spirit (formerly The Holy Ghost.) Hinduism has the Brahman and his many representations in the form of deities. Islam and Judiasm have One God. Buddhism does not deny the existence of god but rejects subservience to any kind to a supreme God.
Prayer to the RELIGIOUS GOD, for most people, seems to consist of begging or bargaining or pleading and reciting rote materials which look for, praise, or give thanks for an external existence and/or intervention. While praying at home is acceptable, going to a house of worship where one can “talk” with GOD, seems to get greater results and in some religions, the only place to get results.
NOW FOR THE EPIPHANY. “I’ll take curtain number 3 please”
noun ( pl. -nies) (also Epiphany)
the manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles as represented by the Magi (Matthew 2:1–12).
1) the festival commemorating this on January 6.
2) a manifestation of a divine or supernatural being.
3) a moment of sudden revelation or insight.
On the SPIRITUAL GOD’s side, I have found GOD to be a personal ... STATE OF MIND ... not an external entity. With a SPIRITUAL GOD, I have discovered that instead of a Trinity, or a “One God,” and closer to Buddhism’s lack of a Supreme God, for me a Quinternity exists. The QUINTERNITY of GOD as a STATE OF MIND includes: 1) Truth 2) Love, 3) Forgiveness, 4) Peace, and 5) Faith.
The five parts of the QUINTERNITY are related to and build on each other. This QUINTERNITY exists internally, has to do with how I think, and is part of my moral behavior. It does not exist externally, outside of me in a god, a heaven (and certainly not in Hell.)
Also I have found SPIRITUAL PRAYER to be a STATE OF MIND that exists internally and reflects my understanding of the five parts of the Quinternity which are the basic principals which guide my life, my thoughts, my actions. Spiritual Prayer consists of meditating on these principals, drawing on them when needed, and in making them part of my daily life. I call this mediation THE GOD TEST of a situation.
The QUINTERNITY of the SPIRITUAL GOD as a STATE OF MIND
TRUTH: Behind every situation (action, event, thought, feeling, illness, response, etc) there is a Truth as to why it is happening or why it has happened. I believe that when one looks for, is aware of, and understands the “Truth in It,” one is better able to accept and deal positively with any situation. I also believe that merely by being aware that a Truth exists, even thought one may not understand the Truth itself (or that a particular Truth has been lost forever but at one time did exist,) one is better able to accept and deal positively with the situation. To me, GOD is the STATE OF MIND behind looking for the Truth in each situation.
LOVE: When you deal with each situation and approach every aspect of your life with Love for others and Love for yourself, you are acknowledging that we all come from and are part of the same Source. We all share similar experiences with differing levels of understanding of the Truth behind those experiences but in one way or another, we all share being alive. To me, GOD is the STATE OF MIND behind Love of self and others.
FORGIVENESS: When you acknowledge that everyone is somewhere along the continuum of awareness and understanding of Truth and Love; you realize that differences, conflicts, and negativity will arise. Forgiveness of others is the ability to realize that these differences, conflicts, and negativity are not personally directed at you and are not indicative of a failure on the part of others. Forgiveness of self is the ability to realize that these differences, conflicts, and negativity should not be blamed on others and are not indicative of a failure on your part. Forgiveness is the ability to move on. Forgiveness allows you to hold on to Truth and Love. To me, GOD is the STATE OF MIND behind Forgiveness of self and others.
PEACE: By always looking for the Truth behind the seemingly uncomfortable and difficult day to day occurrences in your life, by affirming with gratitude the Truth behind the seemingly pleasant and easy day to day occurrences in your life, and by doing so with Love and Forgiveness, conflict and negativity will be minimal or nonexistent. The feeling that comes with this state of being I call Peace. To me, GOD is the STATE OF MIND behind being at Peace.
FAITH: Having Faith allows you to hold on to the understanding that as life unfolds, through its joys and sorrows: (1) Truth exits even if it is not visible, (2) Love allows you to show respect and understanding for yourself and others, (3) Forgiveness allows each of us to be at our unique place on the continuum of Truth, Love, and Forgiveness, (4) Peace will be yours with these realizations, and (5) Faith will help you hold on to these understandings and help you live your life in a way that will allow you to find a Spiritual GOD, your personal GOD, the GOD within you, the GOD who is you, and to have a direct experience with GOD.