Living In the Mystery, part 3
Can you fathom the mysteries of God?
Can you probe the limits of the Almighty?
I spend a lot of time in theological discussions, partially because that’s what happens in seminary, partially because reading the Bible on a regular basis forces you to ask tough theological questions (or should, anyway). I’ve come to the conclusion that ultimately, any discussion about God must end with the phrase, “who knows?” As Job’s friend Zophar points out, humans don’t have the capacity to “fathom the mysteries of God.” This is not a copout; it’s just the way it is.
Think about it this way: When we discuss God, we’re talking about what we believe to be the nature of the ultimate power in the universe. For all of us, that power is a being that is both present in our reality (immanent) and beyond our reality (transcendent). What that looks like to each of us is different, though. Some view God as a conscious energy that pervades all creation, intrinsically part of creation, yet also more than the sum of its parts. Some view God as an embodied being of some sort, an alien creator whose relationship to us isn’t as part of our being, but rather as our puppet master. We all lean more one way than the other, and many people come down somewhere in the middle. In truth, it doesn’t really matter as long as whatever we believe about God is making us loving, compassionate, concerned, caring human beings. It is impossible to truly believe in God and do evil. We can make mistakes because we’re human, but if we are truly having a Christ-like, Buddha-like, out-of-body experience with God, The Universe, The Infinite one—whatever you want to call it, then we simply cannot harm another, and we become more concerned for the overall good of humanity than for our own welfare.
I believe in God because I have felt an unexplainable presence in the world that has given me a glimpse into a more connected and layered reality than our physical senses are capable of experiencing. I have personally been lifted beyond the limits of my body to what I can only describe as “oneness” with all being, beyond time and space yet in all time and space. It’s a thrilling experience, and it changes your outlook on the world forever, because in those transcendent moments, you realize there is no “you” and no “I”, no “us” nor “them,” there is only “all.” So the idea that I should scratch my way to the top, take advantage of another human being, harm another human being through war, or pollute the planet for financial gain becomes absolutely abhorrent.
I pray and meditate and ponder theology in order to have discussions with others in the hope that one thing will occur: that they too will have a God experience and be changed forever. I have realized that this kin-dom of God that was so important to Jesus is being brought to fulfillment one person at a time, as each of us becomes connected to each other through God that connects us all. It changes our outlook. It changes everything.
The world is full of fear. ISIS is destroying world heritage sites and would like women to be reduced to a role of subservience that, even during the most misogynistic of times, they have never before been relegated to. In America racism is so rampant that a white man can literally get away with killing a black man, and both black and white men treat women of color with such a lack of respect it shakes me to my core. Corporations are pushing trade agreements that will once and for all firmly place them outside the bounds of international law, so that the murder they already get away with in sweatshops from Indonesia to Thailand will become physical and spiritual prisons for millions of children and impoverished families, who will have no legal recourse against their slave masters like Nike and GAP and Apple.
This is not the way it has to be. When we have a God experience, we literally become lifted outside ourselves and our own tiny way of thinking. Enslaving another human being is reprehensible, but when we have a God experience it becomes unthinkable. It’s no longer even part of our consciousness.
This is shown very clearly through beings like Jesus, Buddha, Mohammed, Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., Lao-Tze… the list is long. There have always been and will always be enlightened beings walking among us, working to help us attain a much, much higher level of conscious awareness of God’s presence in the world, God as the fundamental of all reality. As more and more of us achieve this awareness, it becomes much more difficult for people to kill each other, to hoard resources, and to destroy the planet.
God is indeed a mystery. We can never understand exactly what God is or how God works. But becoming spiritually one with God is not that mysterious, nor is it as difficult as many would have us believe. It only takes desire and focus, which all humans have in abundance. It’s unfortunate that what we typically desire is money, and what we focus on is power. It can be different. It must be different. All it takes is a change of mind, the simple decision to wake up tomorrow and start thinking about and looking at the world differently. Just say, “Show me the truth, God.” Say it until it happens—and it always happens, every time we ask.
Change our minds, change our hearts, change our souls, change the world.
Meditation: Show me the truth, God; show us all the truth.