Knowing God

Doves by audreyjm529

There is a dove cooing on the railing outside my window and a squirrel running down the hickory tree.  I saw a hawk in the tall oak out back feeding babies.   I see the pansies I planted yesterday, swaying in the chilly air.  The forsythia and the dew drops are out along with the crocus and vinca flowers.  Yesterday we saw a Bradford pear tree in full white bloom in the city, along with smaller pink and white flowering trees as well.  The miracle of spring never ceases to amaze me.

For the longest time, when I was unsettled, I would take a walk in nature.  I found the beauty calming and reassuring.  I still do.  At that time, it was one of the few activities I could count on that would connect me to the Greater Whole.  I still find that the coming of the dawn and the passing of seasons is the Earth’s way of speaking to me about the Great Oneness.  It is something that I know I don’t control, and it is  something that comes repeatedly, every day and and every year without fail.  It is something I can count on, completely.

Who does this?  What is the origin of the cycles of the seasons, of the moon and of the passages from night to day? Is there any among us capable of creating such a canvas?  I think not.  This experience in life is perhaps the most important communication to us about the Presence of a Greater Whole.  It is clearly larger than me, definitely more organized and ordered than me and yet it is still fully accessible to me just beyond my walls.  I have to pass beyond my walls of emotion, separateness and busyness to access all that is around me.

photo by schmidjon

I credit nature with kindling my faith in God before I knew anything at all about God, myself. I have blessedly always been surrounded by nature.  I had parents who would take us walking in the winter when the rattlers were hibernating just for Sunday afternoon romps in the woods.  We also spent hot summer nights camping out and vacations soaking in the beach’s sun, sand and sea.  When I was thirteen we hiked part of the Matterhorn with my five year old brother and Dad had to carry him half way back to the village where we were staying.  Being in nature equated with relaxing, being off and having an adventure.

These cues, all around,  helped me have faith that there was a God.  Even when my mind was trying out positions, rebuttals and researched evidence as to the non-existent God, nature was working it’s magic on me.  The coming of spring year after year, the birth of dogs, birds, deer, and horses, not to mention the breathtaking beauty of tulips, snapdragons, pansies and gladiolas,  all continued to hold the place for a God in my heart.  My mind essentially lost out in the overwhelming evidence of miraculous change, ordered by an unknown Source.  I came to know about this miracle of Source more powerfully than I could ever imagine when I  gave birth to two wee sons.  These experiences are hard to ignore.  They call to our inner knowing even if we are not listening yet with our hearts.  They keep calling to us, until we are ready to take another look at the Presence of the Greater Whole.

When I think of faith, I think of something that is hard to describe.  Faith seems to be a feeling that something will be further revealed if I can simply wait, keep learning, keep listening and roll with the ambiguity.  Faith is something that I feel each person defines differently.  For me, faith has been a place holder. Faith has held the place in my life for the possibility of God until I could have my own knowing experiences of God, myself.

I did not find a well defined pathway to a personal knowing of God.  Although, I tried a number of those supposedly “God-inspired” pathways,  such as church camp, Sunday school, catechism, youth group, volunteering with Mayas in Mexico, singing in a church choir, working in a hospital,  and holding office in a church.  My faith  still seemed undeveloped, wobbly, unclear, and certainly nothing to count on in tough times.  I used to wonder how people developed such powerful faith in Divine Energy.  How did that actually happen for someone?  I personally did not see a connection between organized religion and knowing God.  Primarily, I kept seeing all kinds of anger, judgment, prejudice, racism, sexism, injustice and war as the actions of those identifying themselves as religious or “God-fearing” persons.  This did not seem promising fodder for growing faith or for knowing God.

Immersed by premasagar

If I had not had 18 years of chronic back pain, I might have missed knowing God.  I had so much physical pain in my twenties and thirties that I simply was forced to look for something beyond the doctors and the body workers.  I began to devour everything I could find on spiritual healing, metaphysical experiences and new age spiritual journeys.   One day when studying with Rev. Ron Roth,  he said, ” you will never know God unless you meditate.  Go into Silence and begin.  There is no other way.” This made a huge impression on me.  I began by trying to sit by a tree everyday, in all weather to see if I could feel the power of God through that tree.  In time, I began to feel something moving in me.  I transferred this to my infinitely more comfortable bed and began a two year odyssey of spiritual healing and meditation which eventually resulted in both my coming to know God and the healing of my physical body.

There is no other way to know God except through the Silence.  We can know about God, we can love other people’s images and teachings about God, we can even speak and teach about God.  However, regardless of how much we may  speak with God or teach about God, that is not the same as knowing God ourselves.  God is formless and it is impossible to have a personal relationship with formless energy except in the Silence where all is formless. All else is an approximation of that knowing, it cannot be knowing unless we enter into Silence.   The still small voice is always there, accessible to all and magnificent.  Then faith becomes a knowing and knowing becomes the fuel of our lives.

The God You Don’t Believe In

Bearded Man, 1981 by Seattle Municipal Archives

Tell me about the God you don’t believe in. Perhaps it is a God, who resembles a wise old man in the sky, with a beard who knows everything you do and is going to make you pay for most of  it. Perhaps the God you don’t believe in seems a lot like the Big Kahuna who has everything as he likes it, is none too available unless maybe when there is serious bad stuff going down.  Even then, contacting him, is an iffy proposition.  Or even better, your non-existent  God perhaps never did exist because  look at all these truly horrific things happening here on Earth.  “How can there be a God?  That God is a real myth.”  Maybe the  God you left was that one the nun spoke of  when you were seven, saying, “you better sit there and don’t even think of going to the bathroom unless you want to see this ruler imprinted on your hand.  God is watching you and you are already in serious trouble”

Perhaps your discarded God wasn’t there when you were abused or felt abandoned.  Or perhaps that  God wasn’t around when your mother suffered and died too young with cancer.  Then there are lots of folks who talk about a God found in large buildings where you dress up in your best clothes, pledge money to belong, serve on at least one committee and usher once a month. Perhaps that works for some folks.

Devon Church by
Devon Church by etrusia uk

I really tried to find God there for a long, long time.  I loved the music and the stained glass windows and loved all the sense of connectedness with other people.  I would have so loved to have found God in such a place.

I finally though, admitted to myself that I did not believe in any of those kinds of Gods either.  I was hoping God would show up somewhere along the line but honestly, I was truly adrift for a long time over this.  However, we all go through our own process of coming to a knowing of God Energy and Presence, or not.

Actually,  I prefer any of these terms, Divine Presence, Spirit, Great Oneness, All That Is, the Great I AM to” God”, because I seem to be always stepping on other people’s views of the God they don’t believe in.  The images connected with the word “God” are so loaded that it is a challenge to even use the word “God” when I am speaking about energy which is not in form, invisible, all knowing,  powerful in untold ways, eternal,  and present everywhere.

Is it just possible, that there is some type of Divine Presence which does not fit neatly into our present views and beliefs about God? Might we have our version of the God we don’t believe in, because we have never had a personal relationship with the Energy of the Great I AM?  Perhaps we have only heard about this energy from age old stories which simply can’t be true.  Or perhaps we have only experienced other people’s views of what God energy is and what it is supposed to do for us.  Perhaps what we have heard of God, we don’t like and don’t believe.  Other people’s stories seem too impossible to believe,  so God has got to be a figment of people’s imagination.

I was raised in a religious practicing family.  When I was a teenager, I became an internal skeptic.  Then I became a benevolent humanist and agnostic.  I felt better trying to be a nice, good person but I did not know if there was a God or not.  Then I ran into a few brick walls, chronic debilitating back pain, a serious family illness,  humongous fear and I became a seeker.

Meditation Begins At Birth by Premarian
Meditation Begins At Birth - in Croatia by Premasagar

One day through the “grace of God”, it seems to me looking back,   I entered into intentional Silence and something amazing happened.   I ran into God right in the middle of the Silence.  I guessed it was God.  I had not really expected to find that clarity, peace or knowing in that Silence.  But there IT was, staring me in the face.the lotus within yourself by Chris Spera

Then I began to share what I was learning with others and lots of other people also began to have similar experiences to mine and began to share them.  They also moved from seekers to knowers.  We had a movement happening.  We had moved into the space of people who know there is a God force because we spend time with that force repeatedly.  After a few months of entering Silence, we knew that Energy Force was always inside of us.

Then we began to see that after we had had that time of Silence and connecting in,  we were more loving in all ways.  We were more centered.  We were more balanced and content.  This became my own definition of God Energy then.   All the questions I had, seemed to melt away.  The experience of Divine connection which I found in the Silence was all knowing and I found that totally fascinating.  It was as if through osmosis from somewhere in the Silence,  I was learning about the real God, at least the one that was real for me.  (stay tuned)

Meditation Joys – The Still Small Voice

Many folks think that meditation is being quiet and breathing in an specified manner. That  could be a good place to begin.   However, if that is all that happens, the point of meditation is lost, not to mention that focused breathing and being quiet gets old rather quickly.  Meditation is setting aside time to be still and listen to that still small voice. That still small voice can come as a voice, as a knowing, as an image, as a vibrational presence, as insight and in other ways as well. In the beginning,  one may well have to mentally move through the “to do list”  for the week, the worry list about kids and money and the memory bites of an argument before arriving at a place of stillness.

Om by rrrrrrrrrrrrrrr
Om taken in Mauritius by Adrasteia 9

Meditation is more than being quiet. It is being quiet with the intention of connecting with the I AM energy of All That Is.  It is listening to the Silence for what is revealed.  It is sitting until there is a change in breathing,  energy flow and a sense of wholeness returns to our being.  This may take several months before one is consistently able to enter Silent space with ease and confidence.  It begins with taking that step to try it once and see what happens.

How can I know that what I am doing in meditation is working? If we are getting up from meditation and return to our old ways of operating, we are not getting it.  If we still have the same arguments, get angry over the same issues or feel repeated irritation with ourselves or others, we have not actually meditated.  We have perhaps sat in meditation but we have not actually arrived at a space of newness and balance.  We have not let enough go, consciously connected with Inner Peace or opened to the God energy within.  The God-energy within is there,  for all of us.  God-presence is not outside of ourselves.  It is in the void of seeming nothingness from which all is created.

It is in the Silence that we can most reliably connect with God-energy. We are that energy.  However, if our focus is mostly on what we are doing, how we are doing it, why we are doing it and if anyone will recognize our efforts, we will miss the still small voice.  That voice is where the wisdom is.  That is where our own best knowing is found.  That still small voice is pure love but we must make a space for this in our lives.  As is true for all sorts of practices, the more we do it, the easier it is to enter into the flow of meditation.

What is the real point of meditation?  Why would we step out of our daily routine for something that is seemingly so unproductive?  We have so many things that do require our time, what can meditation actually do for us?

Sky-Diving Over the Ocean 2 by C Ronaldo 7

Meditation is like stepping off the edge of a cliff and free-floating.  That can be scary to some, even overwhelming to others.  ” What if we fall, or find that we can’t get back to “real life” or what if who or what we find inside is not a pretty sight?  What then?  We should probably just let well enough alone. ”  Many people leave the exploration of meditation at exactly this place.  This way we can feel we are still in control of every aspect of our lives.  This way there is nothing unconventional that we inadvertently set in motion.  If we stay in control, we will at least know what is happening.

Besides the fact that these perceptions are myths, created by our ego and are therefore untrue, they are also common reactions of the mind when beginning meditation.  That is because fundamentally the mind wants to be in control of our thoughts, feelings and actions.  That is what we call the ego.  We can choose to stay here but the costs mount as we have more and more challenges in our lives.  In order to move beyond anger, judgment, anxiety, depression, grief, jealousy and pride, we have to enter into the Stillness and call forth the power of our God-energy.  That energy  is within us, all powerful, all knowing and always present.  When we enter into Silence we have a chance to get to know that power, the Presence that is inside of us. That is the main reason for meditation.  We open up the pathways to inner knowing, peace and balance.

Final Light Pacific Beach, San Diego, California by moonjazz
Final Light Pacific Beach, San Diego, California by moonjazz

To really understand why meditation is advantageous, we need to completely embrace that there  is ONLY one God, one Source, one Power. That Source is constant, true and reliable and it is the ONLY power that is.  All other illusions of power are just that, illusions.  Any other masquerading power we give our energy to may appear powerful and desirable at first, but that lasts only a short while.  The lasting All Power  is within each of us.  Meditation can open our knowing of this power at very deep levels.  However, this inner-knowing, God-power must usually vie for our attention and allegiance.  We are constantly seeking out other possible  sources of power in the form of money, influence, real estate, board shares, work, jewelry, club memberships, cars and education at the “best” schools, to name a few.

Frequently people say to me,  “I just don’t have time for meditation“.  I have to believe that this view comes out of ignorance of what meditation really does for us.  Of all the choices in the world open to us, meditation is the most powerful step we can take to peace, balance, success and wholeness. There is no better way to know the God-presence within each of us.  There are lots of ways to learn about that God-presence but no other way to truly know it.  It must be experienced, not just talked about, mused over, theorized about or debated.  There is no other way to really know the God-presence with which we have been gifted.  All other forms of seeking power, influence, success and control are in the end, fruitless.  “Except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it.” (Psalm 127)

Meditation or a meditative state is the only way to hear the still small voice.  Most of the time the voice we hear is our ego voice. “Don’t do that, who do you think you are?   If you try this, you will just end up a loser.  Why do you think you can make a good decision here, most of the things that have happened in your life have been simply random occurrences.   He is really out to get you, watch out. ”

The still small voice is just that, still, small and a voice that is not our usual jabber of the mind.  Wouldn’t you move heaven and earth if you knew there was an all knowing, all powerful, every where present Presence which was inside of you waiting to become more fully actualized? There is.  Why then don’t we seek this with all our heart, all our mind and all our soul as we have been commanded to do for eons and eons ?

I think this is because we really, really don’t think there is just One power, just One Source, just One God.  We may think we are a power unto ourselves.  Look at all we can do, create, get, be, say, build, paint, write, etc.  We may think that God is outside of ourselves, we are here and God is elsewhere.  We may have bought into teachings which  have placed humans and God as co-existing at the same time, sharing power.

These all miss the Truth point.  Everything comes from God-power, the good and the bad as translated through our thoughts, feelings and perceptions of our connectedness to God. All That Is is the only Power, the only God, the only Source of God energy.  All else parades as power and falls short of the mark.  If we enter into meditation with the purpose of listening to the still, small voice we can’t help but be successful, for every step we take we are met with 99 others being illuminated by the God-Presence, within.  When we listen to the still small voice, we can get all the guidance available to us. Take a risk.  Sit in Silence.  Any time there with intention to connect with God-presence will be worth your while.  It is more loving, more powerful and more illuminating that any other experience in the entire world for spiritual living.  As many of you know, spiritual living leads to tangible, specific manifestations in our daily lives.  Or if you don’t know this, try meditating with the goal to develop a personal relationship with Divine Knowing, right within you own being.

  • You will learn that you are a deeply wondrous and significant being.
  • You will learn that if you want a conscious connection with God, you can have it.
  • You will learn that  all the help you need is as close to you as the breath in your nostrils.
  • You will learn that aligning with the One True Power in the Universe means you clear out the rubbish and debris keeping you from manifesting a life of peace , balance, wholeness and joy.

Go ahead, dare to risk time in Silence and see what wondrous things are revealed about who you truly are.  The greatest Counselor of all time is available 24-7.