My awareness of God
A congregant of Unity In The City approached me asking how they could believe in a God who allowed the raping and death being perpetrated in Kenya and the Sudan. There was not time to explain my thoughts, nor were they succinct enough at the time. Here are excerpts from an email I sent later in response:
It troubles me to know you are struggling with your faith. Not because you are – we all do at one or more points in our lives – but because I do not have at my fingertips a ready answer considering how many times I have been in the same situation. I guess it’s just empathy. But another piece of it is an annoyance that I do not know of a foolproof solution to point someone to when you hear their heart wrestling with their desire to believe in a God that can only do good. Where is the article or the prayer or the book that recognizes what is clearly a very common scenario and deals with it?
Aside from deep thought about what I really WANT to believe, my own remedies have been found in reading over and over H. Emily Cady’s “Lessons In Truth,” or Emmet Fox’s book of course notes, “The Science of Living,” and in a secular text, Napoleon Hill’s “Think And Grow Rich.” In most cases I find I gradually return to the faith picture that recognizes there is evil in the world, but understands that evil is one manifestation of human will, a personal choice made by many to override God’s will to operate every day in unconditional love. Recently I have added a science aspect to my faith. If God is all, then God is the smallest portion of all, every electron, neutron and quark. And at that level, all is balanced. Mentally step out to the larger things made up of those miniscule parts—water, rocks, air, trees—and all is in balance there, too. Up the chain to more complex manifestations with more moving parts—insects, animals, our bodies—and there is balance there, even with the existence of survival of the fittest, starvation and brutality. Cause and effect is at work all along the chain, although much more evident in the higher orders of life. That’s key to me. It’s easy to see balance in an oasis, where all is green, the water clear, the air temperate and every squirrel and deer and bear are calm and coexist. It’s when the bear kills and eats the deer that our desire for peace is offended, but we eventually understand that the bear has to live and grass and leaves alone won’t allow that. Now for only a second, continue the zoom out to space. Dynamic balance across infinity for eternity, that alone blows me away.
So, if you’re still with me, I feel good about God so far, out of respect for the complexity of a continuum of energy changing states to form systems, each so vast and complicated our human minds can barely comprehend all the pieces, much less how the whole continuum keeps working and stays in balance. From there it becomes easier for me to believe in other states of this underlying energy. We see and move in one, but we know of a few other states of energy we cannot see yet experience the existence of every day, such as ultraviolet light, microwaves and the various broadcast spectrums. So now I am comfortable with a spirit state all around me made up of the unseen souls within us all. All of them conscious of being a part of the ocean that is God on that plane, all at peace, all part of a flow back and forth between that state and the human state. My comfort with the existence of other states of being allowed me to accept that we as humans can control our reality to the extent that Christ did, a claim made by so many for so long throughout the relatively few years humans have been around. I could begin to understand Paramahansa Yogananda’s observations made in “Autobiography of a Yogi” of his guru levitating off the floor while deep in meditation. His soul was clearly transcending (and taking his body with it) to a plane other than the physical/human and no longer heeding gravity. Yogananda states, “He who knows himself as the omnipresent Spirit is subject no longer to the rigidities of a body in time and space.” (I turned right to that. I need to add this to the top of my re-read list pronto!)
Herein lies your challenge. In this human state we see all manner of existence. From quiet lives of peace to awesome overcoming to blind rage and brutality. And while disappointed that the latter, obviously negative and unproductive behavior continues after all these years, I cannot see God doing anything different, for to stop it would be against our will. And He gave us that will that we may be responsible for our lives, and proud of ourselves when we accomplish what we set out to do or learn (hopefully) when we make bad choices. As humans, we need to start there. God waits patiently while we learn those fundamentals and begin to move to transcendance. Here it gets tougher. It would appear we could spend our lives putting bandages on the wounds, or we can focus on a cure to the disease. A few choose to live apart in communion with God. Many devote their energies to righting one or more wrongs in order to help others less fortunate. Some can do both … actually we all can, I am sure. We are God, as all things are God. All energy, all power, all wisdom, all understanding – and most important, all love. We are held back by our own fears and thoughts and poor time management and on and on. Some overcome the roadblocks early enough in a lifetime and benefit greatly their fellow humans, as well as expand their awareness to accept more of their being God. Others take too long and have to get in line and take the ride again.
Cady says (paraphrasing here), “We speak to God, that is prayer. God speaks to us, that is inspiration.” I can only hope that I understood correctly the inspiration that occurred to me this morning in response to our limited conversation Sunday.