Tuesday, January 8, 2013

God Beyond Religion

I started writing this blog a few days ago and it got completely erased. I guess it was time to get a fresh perspective on the subject...

I find myself using the word "Universe" a lot when I'm talking about God. I suppose I am sensitive to the fact that some people feel uncomfortable with the word "God," and others might assume I am talking about "my" God and not theirs.

The God I'd like to talk about is not a personal or religious one, however. The God I speak of cannot exist for some and not others. If this were the case, it would not be God.

And here I go making you uncomfortable...

:: OH MY GOD ::

Can you really talk about God out of the context of religion? I think so.

For so many years, it seems, people have felt that God belonged to those who appeared religious or pious.

In order to speak with authority on your creator, you had to dress a certain way, pray a certain way, eat a certain way...

And even then, you had to go through an intermediary person to communicate with the One Power that so intimately made YOU.



And of course you can't talk about God without discussing the myriad ways you can talk about God in vain.

This is a really interesting concept though, isn't it?

What would be a vain reason to call on God?

It seems to me that humans might be poor judges of what would be a good conversation starter with the fabric of existence. Who can say God is more interested in a prayer for your grandmother than a stubbed toe?

Probably people who want to make you feel guilty for doing spirituality the wrong way.

Truthfully, no one can qualify your relationship with God but you. And if you believed that, God might not be such a sore topic.

And when I say "you", I mean "me" just a few short years ago...


The thing I had to figure out about the whole God thing was this: it really doesn't matter what God is. It matters what my relationship to God is.

My spiritual path of choice is very careful about not trying to describe God so much as forging a relationship to that entity.

After all, wouldn't we all be better people if we spent less time trying to convince other people of what God is and wants, and more time establishing a relationship to God?

Religions seem to serve a very important purpose in that they can give us a framework for how we might relate to God—through various disciplines like prayer, reading scriptures, meditation, etc...

Other ways to related to God that do not involve an organized discipline exist too though. Gardening, golf, swimming, cartwheels on the beach, and knitting could be some pretty awesome and expansive activities if done with an awareness of what makes them all possible.

:: WHY? ::

The question is, why would you want (or even need) to develop a relationship with God?

Well, have you tried going through life thinking that there is absolutely nothing going beyond what you can see/taste/touch and smell? That's a pretty sure path to depression. Even scientists wonder at the mystery of the space between matter, and so many more of the various unknown components of our Universe.

A teacher once told our yoga class: "If you believe in an unknown, that's your God."

I find it hard to believe when people say "I don't believe in God." Basically, because I used to be one of them. And when I found out that there were other ways to picture God besides man-who-sits-on-throne-in-outer-space-and-grants-wishes-to-lucky-few, I realized I actually did believe in an integral lifeforce that ran through all creation.

It follows that the reason you'd want a relationship with God is actually pretty simple—you're living in it!  If you were living in New York City without knowing it, knowing how to get around, or knowing anyone else who lived there, you'd feel pretty disoriented, right?

And that's why it doesn't matter what you call "God." We need to connect to that which makes us US. If we don't we will inevitably feel alienated and alone.

:: HOW TO DO IT ::

I can in no way claim that I have the answer for you... how will you feel connected to your light inside, to God, to the Universe.

Things that have worked for me include: meditation, kundalini yoga, affirmative prayer, Sikh Gurdwara services, walking along the beach, talking to the growing child in my womb, chanting, singing, writing music, making music...

Things that have not worked for include: complaining, drinking, hanging out with mean people, living for other people's approval, eating cake, moving houses, getting angry with people who push my buttons...

I leave it to you to make your own list.


I'd like to conclude by coming back to my original point.

God exists beyond religion.

God is Universal.

I think that last statement is redundant. Hopefully the idea that God is bigger than any religion, thought, or dictate, will become glaringly obvious to all who walk this planet very soon.

While God is Universal, your relationship with God is personal.

And I think it goes without saying (but I will anyway), that just because you think you've found God, doesn't mean someone else wants to hear about it.

If you are reading this blog though, I will consider that you asked, and, therefore, I have full license to tell you all my thoughts on the topic.

Ok. That's all for now.


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