What I believe Part III

And the next installment in the credo process —

When I was a child, I spoke as a child and God was Father, Brother Jesus, very much arbiter of good and bad, right and wrong, always addressed as Thou and Thee, always right, perfect, sometimes angry, sometimes kind, sometimes a friend, sometimes a puppet master.  

When I grew up, God became …well, that’s still evolving!! 

In order for me to move further on this portion of the credo journey, I would like to restate my credo statements and define a couple of key terms.

Statements of Belief:

  • 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.

Definition of Key Terms:

Being:  1 a: the quality or state of having existence; b (1): something conceivable as existing (2): something that actually exists (3): the totality of existing things c: conscious existence : life  2: the qualities that constitute an existent thing : essence; especially : personality3: a living thing; especially : person

Paradox:  1: a tenet contrary to received opinion; 2 a: a statement that is seemingly contradictory or opposed to common sense and yet is perhaps true; b: a self-contradictory statement that at first seems true; c: an argument that apparently derives self-contradictory conclusions by valid deduction from acceptable premises; 3: one (as a person, situation, or action) having seemingly contradictory qualities or phases

 

These two words are at the core of my past and present views of God.

Now for more commentary –

I have often said somewhat jokingly that my God was always bigger than the God I learned about from church and family.  And now looking back, I remember asking as a young child how could an all-loving, all-knowing God send all those good people in China to hell?  I had an aunt who was Catholic and hadn’t “accepted Jesus as her personal Savior.”  I knew that my God was not going to send her to hell!  If not bigger, my God was at least more inclusive.

And – even my larger, more inclusive God was a being more in the nature of the second and third definitions shown above – an existent thing, a personality, a living thing or person.  God was usually a “He,” a perfect being, far beyond all other beings, the creator of all.  The concepts and words of traditional religion, crafted to describe this God, worked most of the time.  I must say that the one part of this traditional religious framework that I never quite accepted was the belief in an equal and opposing evil power, ever present, waging a war for my soul.  While I didn’t have a good rebuttal to the traditional argument for, I just didn’t buy it – so I ignored it!

The religious beliefs that supported this mythic God did not always mix well with the every expanding scientific knowledge of the time.  In my immediate environment, often the two worlds – religion and science –  were estranged at best and enemies at worst.  It was in fact this rift between religion and science that created one of the early cracks in my evolving chicken/egg.  I was faced with what I saw as blind faith and hard facts.  The hard facts won out.  And so, in my early 30’s the disconnect between what I felt and g-knew God to be, what science was uncovering about the way the world and humans worked, and the structures and words that my religious tradition used to speak of, and reach for, God became too wide to ignore.  I began to consciously seek out a more universal framework within which I could live and move and have my being. 

Much of this search for a new framework was intellectually driven because I knew at the time that I had locked my mind into a very narrow box and much more data and a broader perspective were needed.  Also, at that time, my heart was pretty badly encrusted.  Interestingly enough, many of my first search paths focused on very mystical traditions – Celtic paganism, Celtic Christianity, Shamanism, and Taoism.  These traditions, with their focus on meditation and spiritual journeys, reawakened my soul to the mystical spirituality of God and began the second major crack in the egg.

As I understand it now, I was moving out of a Blue Stage of consciousness evolution (Spiral Dynamics, Don Beck) with its mythic God view – a god separate and apart from humans, ethnocentric, a patriarchal god of law – into an Orange Stage consciousness with its scientific God view – a god that is universal – humanist – giant within waiting to be empowered – requiring no dogma – embracing materialism and pragmatism.  This was the first of several shifts of consciousness for me, each bringing a new “view of God.”   (I will write more about Spiral Dynamics in part IV of this project).

For me today, my God-view is more aligned with that of an Integrative Yellow Stage of consciousness evolution – a god that is universal – a god of systems, integration and paradox – manifests “godself” through evolutionary process – fosters the ‘magnificence of existence’ – god of all religions and peoples.  This God looks more like the first definition of being – the totality of existence. 

I believe this is the God Emilie Cady speaks of in Lessons in Truth (quoted here with a couple of minor changes made by me and shown in italics) – ‘God, the source of our existence every moment, is not simply omnipotent; God is omnipotence.  God is not alone omniscient; God is omniscience.  God is not only omnipresent, but more – omnipresence.  God is not a being having qualities; God is the very quality itself in existence and beyond.  Everything you can think of that affirms life, when in its absolute perfection, goes to make up that invisible Being we call God.    God is then the creative essence that is.’  Charles Fillmore also described this God in Teach Us To Pray in more traditional language, “We cannot get a right understanding of the relation that the manifest bears to the unmanifest, until we set clearly before ourselves the character of original Being.  So long as we think of God in terms of personality, just so long shall we fail to understand the relation existing between humankind and God.”   

In his writings, Charles used a number of names for God – First Cause, Principle, Divine Mind.    It was this language that first drew me to Unity.  These terms and others that come from other faith traditions and from our technological environment resonate with my present understanding of God.  From Taoism and Native American spirituality, the Tao and Great Mystery; from modern culture, Divine Matrix, Web of Life, Zero Point Field, even the Infinite Database!  For me, these names more effectively call out the image and feeling of interconnectedness of all things and suggest a core substance from which we are drawn and from which we manifest all matter.    

Quantum physicists now tell us that quantum particles exist in a state called “superposition” in which they are just a potential of something – they’re all of their possible selves, all at the same time.  And here is how  Charles Fillmore defines Substance in Revealing Word, “This does not mean matter, because matter is formed while God is the formless.  The substance that God is lies back of all matter and all forms.  It is that which is the basis of all form yet enters not into any form as finality.  It cannot be seen, tasted, or touched.  Yet it is the only enduring substance in the universe.” (pg 85)   In other words, God by any name is the realm of pure potential.    What a magnificent new way to see a powerful idea! 

Also from the new physics we learn that everything is energy and that thoughts are very well-ordered light energy called bio-photon emissions.   According to German physicist, Fritz-Allen Popp, these bio-photon emissions are micro energy trades between living things and the Zero Point Field (the quantum energy field of which all things are part) and that this constant trading process helps us maintain some sort of equilibrium.   If I may paraphrase Jesus, our Wayshower – I am the Light of the World and all those who seek after the truth that I am will have peace.  I believe that we must search in the new sciences for just  such updated versions of the very old message.

Also, within this present Integrative level God-view, I find that I can address and work with the paradoxes – those statements or tenets that appear contradictory or opposed to common sense, and are perhaps true – that I struggled with in lower level consciousness.  

The four major paradoxes and a brief statement of Unity definition shown below provide me with a basis from which to begin in any discussion, meditation and teaching.

 God As Immanent and Transcendent:

As Immanent, “the life and intelligence permeating the universe…God within us, forever resident in the invisible side of humankind’s nature.” (RW/85)

As Transcendent, “God above or beyond God’s universe, apart from it…God is more than God’s universe.” (RW/196)

God As Father and Mother

“Being itself must be masculine and feminine, in order to make humans in its image and likeness, male and female.”  (TTP/53)

“We are saying God as Father and God as Mother.  God is the divine Source of the masculine and feminine principles of life…” (Metaphysics I/25)

 God As Law and Grace

As Law:  “Divine law is the orderly workingout of the principles of Being, or the divine ideals, into expression and manifestation throughout creation…Divine law cannot be broken.  It holds humankind responsible for the results of its labors.”  (RW/118)

As Grace: “Grace is attunement with law in its perfect working…simply the Truth of Be-ing that which we are.” (LL/89/222)

God As Principle and Personal

As Principle:  “The unchangeable life, love, substance and intelligence of Being.  Principle does not occupy space; neither has it any limitations of time or matter, it eternally exists as the one underlying cause out of which come forth all true ideas.”  (RW/84)

As Personal: “God is personal to us when we recognize God within us as our indwelling life, intelligence, love and power.  There is a difference between a personal God and God personal to us.  Since the word personal sometimes leads to misunderstanding, it would probably be better to speak to God individualized in humankind rather than of God personal to humankind.” (RW/83)

My present view of the Nature of God is based on both/and not either/or, a view that is open to the unity behind the duality without angst and struggle.

I plan to cover my thoughts and beliefs around the paradoxes of Immanent/Transcendent, Father/Mother and Principle/Personal in the next installment.  I believe that these are best discussed in light of how humankind is in relation to God.  The paradox of Law and Grace I’m still working on a clear understanding.

In this Integrative God View of mine I have also found the rebuttal for the argument that Satan is a real power in opposition to God.  The Unity teachings on Satan, the Devil, and evil provide the words that I could not find before.  From the Revealing Word is this definition of the Devil:  the mass of thoughts that have been built up in human race consciousness through many generations of earthly experiences and crystallized into what may be termed human personality…which opposes and rejects God.  The ‘devil’ is a state of consciousness adverse to the divine good…There is no personal devil.  God is the one Principle of the universe, and there is no room for any principle of evil, personified or otherwise.” (pg54) 

The discussion to this point has centered primarily on an intellectual journey and expansion, and yet there can be no real expansion or evolution of consciousness if I am not in touch with the intuitive or g-nowing heart center.   As I journeyed through the non-traditional traditions mentioned earlier, I rediscovered the knowledge of the five natural states of consciousness and their impact on knowing:

  1. gross-waking states
  2. subtle-dreams states, e.g., vivid daydreams, visualization, certain types of meditation
  3. causal-formless states, e.g., deep dreamless sleep and yoga, meditation
  4. witnessing states, i.e., the capacity to witness all of the other states
  5. ever-present nondual awareness, i.e., the ever-present ground of all states – oneness
    (Ken Wilber)

Each one of us uses one or more of these states of consciousness daily, regardless of what stage of conscious evolution we are moving in.  It is in the states beyond gross waking that we find the experiential knowing of the nature of God.  It is the heart-centered focus of the mystic in us that can lift this search for a truer understanding of the nature of God past the intellect.  Through such practices as meditation and prayer, some yoga, and on-going reflection on my own inner nature, I have caught momentary glimpses of the connectedness and joy that so many of  the mystics have shared with us as they attempted to describe the indescribable – the sudden and blinding light on the road to Damascus, the awe at the grandeur of the heavens, the sense of calm serenity when a decision is reached, the radiance and beauty of a landscape covered with new fallen snow, the unbounded joy of a child’s laughter at the dancing rainbow, the strength of a woman in great pain as she reached to help her roommate who is dying of cancer, the palpable energy of oneness on Sunday morning as we sing together and pray.  All of these people, places and events are the nature of God. 

The following quote from Peace Pilgrim, an American peace activist, expresses beautifully what I believe is part of our understanding of this Nature of God:

“All of a sudden I felt very uplifted, more uplifted than I had ever been.  I remember I knew timelessness, and spacelessness and lightness.  I did not seem to be walking on the earth…the most important part of it was not the phenomena; the important part of it was the realization of the oneness of all creation…a oneness with that which permeates all and binds all together and gives life to all…a oneness with that which many would call God.”

In working with the levels or stages of consciousness evolution as outlined by Beck in Spiral Dynamics, I have come to understand that when I move into a new level of consciousness and hence a new view of God, I naturally have available to me the understanding of all views in levels through which I have moved.     Because i have this ability, I then can extrapolate a belief that whatever is not clear to me today about God, its nature and its paradoxes will be known to me as I am willing to open myself to greater and greater awareness of the Infinite. 

As I wrote in Part I of this project, I was born into a world where God existed.  There has never been a time when I doubted that there was a Presence and may there never be such a time.

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