What I believe Part II

This is the continuation of my credo process – defining and clarifying belief system is interesting and challenging work! 

Part II of this project focuses on the role of reason, revelation and experience in the development and expansion of a belief system on the nature of God, personhood and the relationship of the two.  To recap and refine my credo as of this day:

  • I believe that there is only one Power and Presence and that that Power and Presence is life-affirming.  (actually that it is life itself)
  • I believe that I, like all things, am a hologram of that Power and Presence – one point in that Presence that contains the entirety of that Presence.
  • I believe that “all that exists and beyond all that exists” is that Presence – connected energy – simultaneous energy points and at the same time unique manifestations.
  • I believe that how I think and what I think configure the out forming of that Presence, as the energy that is consciousness moves through that point that is “me.”
  • I believe that how and what I think moves me to consciously experience “feelings” as specific “things”, for “feelings” are energy without charge or meaning until I “think” a label, name, meaning.
  • I believe that consciousness evolves – in individuals and in collectives.
  • I believe that when my thoughts, feelings and actions come from a limited consciousness, I create the perception of a less than whole life. 
  • I believe that conscious use of prayer, meditation, and thought can increase my awareness of wholeness and bring me and my “world” into alignment with that Power and Presence.
  • I believe that my purpose in this lifetime is to consciously experience the oneness in all points of energy as I come in contact with them and through every manifestation of my thoughts and feelings.

To quote the famous 1st century Rabbi Hillel, “Everything else is commentary”. 

So more commentary:

Reason, experience, revelation:  let’s define terms.

Reason: 1 a : a statement offered in explanation or justification  b : a rational ground or motive  c : a sufficient ground of explanation or of logical defense; d : the thing that makes some fact intelligible 2 a (1) : the power of comprehending, inferring, or thinking especially in orderly rational ways (2) : proper exercise of the mind b : the sum of the intellectual powers.

Experience: 1 a : direct observation of or participation in events as a basis of knowledge b : the fact or state of having been affected by or gained knowledge through direct observation or participation
2 a : practical knowledge, skill, or practice derived from direct observation of or participation in events or in a particular activity b : the length of such participation 3 a : the conscious events that make up an individual life b : the events that make up the conscious past of a community or nation or humankind generally 4 : something personally encountered, undergone, or lived through
5 : the act or process of directly perceiving events or reality

Revelation:  1 a : an act of revealing or communicating divine truth b : something that is revealed by God to humans; 2 a : an act of revealing to view or making known b : something that is revealed; especially : an enlightening or astonishing disclosure c : a pleasant often enlightening surprise;  3 capitalized : an apocalyptic writing addressed to early Christians of Asia Minor and included as a book in the New Testament.

 What an interesting, intriguing trinity!  All integrally woven and fascinatingly separate.  It is my belief that, within this ‘trinity’ is held the origins of the age-old debate of faith versus works – doing versus being – mind versus heart – creative versus rational.  What I have come to believe is that, since there is only connected, same source energy, there is no “versus,” and that this trinity is rather a projection of three facets of the whole.  It has been my experience in life that focusing on only one facet will give a distorted, limited, and incomplete picture of the life experience.  Using  only one facet, either reason or experience or revelation, will create imbalance in all aspects of our lives and we will find ourselves many times backed into a corner from which there seems to be no exit.  Without reason, we get limited blind faith; without experience, we get unsubstantiated theory; without revelation, we get an ever-repeating sameness.  It is only when we work with all three facets, staying open to what each one ‘shows’ us that we are able to understand the full message of the Universe.  When we become aware that each of these facets is a tool to be used to support the other facets, we are able to dig deeper into the consciousness that is our source.    I began my spiritual journey on a path of blind faith, faith that did not question the established dogma taught by my parents, my grandparents and my church.  If there was something in that religious belief structure that didn’t make sense to me when I compared to information found in other areas of learning or my experience of life happening around me, it was expected by family and church that I would accept it because that was the way it was – God said so!  Those other sources – public school teachers, books, newspapers, finally television – did not have the God-given truth.  To continue to question was sin.  Instinctively, this flew in the face of Reason.   Though I was unable to articulate it exactly that way at the time, I just knew it didn’t ‘feel’ right!  The information and knowledge of years and ages of study by men and women of many disciplines couldn’t all be wrong.  I knew that if I, like them, had a questing mind and that mind was given to us by God, surely we were to use it to understand and synthesize – to see behind the literal words.  Might I call that other-than-conscious feeling I had a ‘knowing’  – a revelation – from God?   My early experiences with voices of authority led me to the belief that their insistence on unquestioned faith had more to do with their fear of change and uncertainty than with their certainty and understanding of the point in question.  That belief is still strong in me – when someone, or when I, insist on unquestioned acceptance from someone else of a position that they, or I, hold, I believe that it is important to look at what they, or I, fear if that position is untrue. 

So, in my late 20’s and early 30’s, trusting my own ‘instincts’ – ability to perceive revelation from Divine Source –  and using reason – the power of comprehending, inferring, or thinking in orderly rational ways to discover a sufficient ground of explanation – I opened up to a new perspective on faith, on the Mind of God, on life.  Matthew Fox’s Original Blessing and Gary Zukov’s The Dancing Wu Li Masters were the beginning of an amazing journey.    In these two books, I found validation of my ‘instincts’.   In Original Blessing,  I found the following quotations – one written centuries ago by Hildegarde of Bingen and one written in our time by Herbert Haag, former president of the Catholic Bible Assocation:

  • “God is the good and all things that proceed from him are good”  Hildegarde
  • “No man enters the world a sinner.  As the creature and image of God he is from his first hour surrounded by God’s fatherly love.  Consequently, he is not at birth, as is often maintained, an enemy of God and a child of God’s wrath.  A man becomes a sinner only through his own individual and responsible action.”  Herbert Haag

   

From The Dancing Wu Li Masters I found this: 

  • “From the revolutionary concepts of relativity and the logic-defying paradoxes of quantum mechanics an ancient paradigm is emerging.  In vague forms, we begin to glimpse a conceptual framework in which each of us shares a paternity in the creation of physical reality.  Our old self-image as impotent bystander, one who sees but does not affect, is dissolving.” 
  • “The distinction between the ‘in here’ and the ‘out there’ upon which science was founded, is becoming blurred…scientists, using the ‘in here – out there’ distinction, have discovered that the ‘in here – out there’ distinction may not exist!  What is ‘out there’ apparently depends, in a rigorous mathematical sense as well as a philosophical one, upon what we decide ‘in here.’

These quotations give a good summary of the themes of each of these amazing books.

Today I read those words and say, “Of course.”  At the time of my first reading, these words were like dynamite blasting holes in walls that had been unconsciously built very high around my understanding.

In these two books, I found meat for both sides of my brain.  The world and all that is in it really is good, as the writers of Genesis 1 told us, and the how it happens is much more complex than ‘religion’ would have me believe.  The bigness of my God was confirmed. 

I began a conscious search with my logical mind to fill in the gaps of my education.  It is interesting that, looking back, I can see that I was “led” by my other-than-conscious mind so often to people, places and books that added to my understanding and experience.  And, the euphoric high of this new view of goodness and connectivity found through what I perceived as logic did cause me to temporarily dismiss or mislabel this ‘being led’ – this channel of revelation that had been part of my early years.  Yes, I still “knew” when I found a new idea or viewpoint that it was on target and I still found myself “listening” to the voice within when major life decisions needed to be made –  that act of revealing or communicating the divine truth    And yet I did not consciously honor that part of my being.  There had to be a rational argument to support the “knowing.”  Interestingly, my experiences – that practical knowledge, skill, or practice derived from direct observation of or participation in life events – continued to reinforce and affirm this facet of revelation and over time I reclaimed it as an equal tool to be used in guiding my life. 

The search led me to Unity – to the writings of Charles and Myrtle.  To this day, Charles and I often have amazing dialogues about the new discoveries of our ‘sciences’ and their roles in explaining our religion and spirituality.  I believe, as I believe Charles also did, that the separation of religion and science is limiting and that clearer definition of terms would go along way to bringing about a common understanding.

In Unity, I found explanations of prayer and meditation that aligned the two as elements of the same practice of the Presence.  I believe that this practice is the foundation for keeping clear the facets of my God search.   My experience has shown me that when I meditate on a regular basis – preferably daily – my ability to ‘see’ the good and the connectedness of life is powerful.  I can feel the flow of the Universe in and around me.  It also allows me to comprehend and integrate new ideas that are presented to me – to see the relevance and reason behind what appears to be ‘wrong,’ ‘evil,’ and ‘useless.’ 

And I believe that is the way it works – that’s the way we, as individuals and groups evolve.  We open our rational, reasoning faculties to new possibilities, perspectives and ask how might that apply or how that was active in the moment.  We review our experiences in light of that ‘new’ information and reach clearer understanding.  In that process, we also open to what Charles calls ‘pure reason’ – First Cause – the Mind of God – for ‘truth’ – for an ‘original, divine’ concept or understanding.  That ‘new’ understanding is then the basis for our rational analysis of a evolved world view that requires awareness of our experiences and openness to ‘pure reason.’  What an amazing chicken and egg process!

 As one member of Unity in Frederick says, “We have a God moment!”  And our belief system changes, evolves, expands.  How we see ourselves and all of those other unique points of manifested energy change, evolve and expand! 

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