Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves. Rainer Maria Rilke
In “The Road Less Travelled”, Scott Peck says the God of our youth is a second hand one. Just like family recipes, passed down and nobody questions the validity of the ingredients, we do not change them to breathe new flavor into the food. Same with God. Peck adds it is imperative we search and create an up close and personal relationship with God that evolves with us throughout our lives. If we are to grow into wise adults, it is necessary for our idea of God to grow with us.
When we accept a God, or a religion that is passed down to us we tend to accept the morals and the guilt of the family. They may be living unconsciously themselves without reflection. We tend to deny our sensuality, our pleasures and our desires. We do not risk a life of inquiry, change, risk, joy, failures and successes. There are too many oppressive rules. So how can we manifest a full passionate life with such a God?
While we tend to personify God according to our own familiar, that is our family way. God is usually thought of as a “he”, invisible, and untouchable, “up there” keeping a check on even our minor infractions in order to mete out a punishment. Is it any wonder that we fear God, if we accept this model or some vestige of this belief? Often the God of our youth has many parental aspects. For instance our belief about God may start with a harsh, angry father or mother with whom we may have to walk on eggshells in order not to arouse his or her wrath. We are too young to ask questions, we have no power, and they may not listen, so we stuff that exuberant, joyful, energetic self down to get by. Just as in the case of a cruel earthly father who is punishing, the parallel is drawn early in life that God will judge us thusly. The imprint of our God may be parental and punishing.
When we examine our relationship with God we will find that it is quite incongruent. On the one hand we have clergy telling us we are wretches and will have a difficult time getting into heaven leaving us alienated from a God who loves us, but will punish us with the “burning fires of hell”, when we sin. On the other hand we are demanding in our prayers to Him. We tell him our Father God what we want, how we want it, and by what time. We do not believe we are part Divine in God’s image. Within the rigid rules and beliefs passed down to us, we attempt to humanize God into our own rather arrogant image. How convoluted is this kind of thinking. God is confusing when we examine the reality of what we are taught to believe and our mythical illusions? Be wary of one-sided solutions. Where is the mystery? This kind of teaching finds us mucking around tentative and fearful dealing with a God who is decidedly limited in love and power. Remember it is ourselves that interpret God, limited, stingy punitive instead of compassionate loving and available to us.
What if we were courageous enough to examine our limited beliefs about God and change our relationship? What if we partnered with a God of limitless supply and abundance who wants us to have daily interaction? What if in our relationship with God, nothing is too small or large to discuss, because we are part Divine and our God wants us to have abundance in all areas of our life.
What if the sun came up each morning and only shone on those of us who are fully present and who are appreciative. Does the sun shine only on Christians and not on Muslims? We do not hide from the sun because we are not worthy do we? I see the sun as a symbol of Gods universal love and abundance for us all. We do not doubt the sun will come up do we, well neither do we need to doubt God’s love for us all. It is there for the all of us including the prodigal son, the one seeking redemption, the sinner, and those dismissed by society. Is this too simple? Such simple steps cracks open the rock strata and start a flow of questions for us to examine.
Maybe settling for a detached version of God suits us. What if we get up close and personal? Might He watch us too closely? I remember one of my sisters making a deal with God she wouldn’t smoke any more if God did so and so for her. Sometime later we noticed a frequent whiff of smoke when she came out of the bathroom. Some part of her must have thought if she hid and smoked, He wouldn’t know. Truth is stranger than fiction isn’t it? She said the God who sees all, and knows all, is the one she believes in.
So what are we going to do to shake things up? First of all I’d like you to get very still, reflect on your relationship with God and review what you really believe. If it’s light and easy, good for you. Take a deep breath and say “not my will but thy will be done”. Are there any glitches in your body? Anywhere? Are your head and heart together? Breathe again and say, “I will to will your will.” Anything happening? If not, your are off and running and I might add, an exception. If you are resistant experiencing glitches, having a lack of cohesiveness between heart and head, you are not alone. There may be faulty beliefs hindering you in having a loving up close and personal relationship with God.
If that is the case, take heart. It might help to develop a daily practice of prayer or meditation, talking to God asking for help to free up from your religious or parental conditioning in order to live the life you were created to live. If you are living with God as a withholding parent, one that is punitive and a ledger keeper ask for an inner permission to free up, so you can live your life in a naturally expansive way.
Sometimes we are so afraid of getting zapped by our image of God; we keep our own desires, wishes and dreams up in the vapors. If everything is floating around and nothing is pulled down and prioritized we don’t have to name it, take responsibility for its fruition. In such situations we may at a deep level believe that if we don’t name our desires, it won’t be taken away from us. Don’t expect it to make sense. In a convoluted way it makes sense to our unconscious and the belief was formed when we were very young. Examining such beliefs in the clear light of day frees us up from old entrenched superstitions.
Having been raised Roman Catholic myself I know the exquisite poignancy of being surrounded by the crucified Jesus and the Mother of Sorrows. It took me years of intentional, determined effort to extricate myself from that one sided view. I’m not totally over the early conditioning but with years of determination behind me I’m much further along. The Roman Catholic Church has its foibles but so do all churches.
Our encounter with God is profoundly influenced by our state of awareness. The souls journey of evolving will not be stopped. We experience our relationship with God dependent on our level of consciousness. Discontent according to Krishnamurti is a good starting point. Total disillusionment is a prerequisite for waking up from the illusion of being in the hands of a God who is a perpetrator of pain into our lives, a God with whom we plead when in crisis. We may not like this description but when you are out on the diving board and all your usual props are missing, to whom do you speak?
It all depends on your level of consciousness, the God I speak with now is very much more complex, forgiving and loving than the God of my Irish Catholic youth, and however vestiges still remain. My experience of God is evolving as I search and evolve. Manifesting a joyful, happy, abundant life is more readily available when you have a loving supportive God on board.
Laura Young is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT), a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) and a Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist (CCH) devoted to helping people become more of what is possible for them. She draws on almost thirty years of clinical experience, with the last sixteen at Life Resource Center, a Private Practice, she established in 1992.
Over time Laura has specialized in Relationships; Life Transitions: Grief Resolution, Stress Management, and the Healing of Adult and Childhood Trauma .She has lead groups with a special emphasis on Women's Creativity Groups. Laura has given numerous presentations, as well as written many articles for local newspapers and regional magazines.
Laura's most recent venture has been her book, "The Nature Of Change". This book is the beginning of a dialogue to encourage, uplift and inform the reader. In it, she reaches out to others who may never choose to seek professional help, however they may appreciate having some tools and self-understanding to make necessary life changes. http://www.liferesourcecenter.net