Meditation as a path to Peace, part I

Post 25 of 38

By way of introduction, a potted history of my own changing beliefs and views on the Universe. I don’t remember a time when I didn’t believe in God; when I was very little I often dreamed of flying around the skies with God; when I was a young teenager it was my mother’s wish in particular that my brother and I complete a year’s study at our Anglican diocese to be ‘confirmed’ in the Church; my brother and I later served at the altar of our very old, large and beautiful Church; later still my brother became involved with the Baptist Church – never looking back – on a path that also led him to Bible College and a Bachelor of Divinities.

 Meditation as a path to Peace, part I

That wasn’t for me though, although I had even briefly contemplated the priesthood as a teenager. At this time also, my mother was dying, and she passed on just after my 20th birthday. I had a desperate need to know where she was, to understand this notion of heaven, and indeed what on earth we were here for. I read thoroughly on all the major Faiths, Buddhism, Judaism, various forms of Protestantism and of Catholicism, less on Hinduism and Islam although I read all of the Koran and the Upanishads and the Bhagavad Gita. And my lengthy reading list included all manner of other texts from “The Tao of Physics” by Fritjof Capra to “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance” by Robert Pirsig (still a great read!)

 Meditation as a path to Peace, part IAt 22 I came to view that ALL the great Faiths are one – certainly I believed all people were ONE – and I also understood the ‘idea’ of the oneness of all matter, although I’d had no experience of such. Whilst I might have said at the time that there were experiences that gave me great joy, or even bliss – some experiences in nature for instance, or the camaraderie of friends – those were in truth emotions – feelings – and it wasn’t until I learned Transcendental Meditation in my mid-twenties that I really and truly “experienced” oneness.

And to briefly wind up this background check, I’ll add the ongoing engagement with people of all the major Faiths and many cultures; a particular involvement with a Chinese-based philosophy and meditation-type practice; and a formal university education that included Religious Studies, Philosophy, Political Science, International Law and International Relations, which I guess I mention since I do think my university education has given me a better brain and one able to look at things from many angles, albeit that a higher education seems often to close many minds to the spiritual.

 Meditation as a path to Peace, part II want to (try to) explain my view of what God is. Since for me I can only really talk about meditation and oneness by talking about God.

I don’t have the kind of ‘personal’ view of God that perhaps many others have – God is not an old man with a long white beard sitting on a cloud.  Nor does God exist for me only in the person of Jesus, or some other such prophet. Indeed, to imagine God as such is to imagine God as very limited and small indeed – which is also not to say that Christ is small; not by any means.  God is by definition, omnipotent – all powerful, and omnipresent – everywhere. Most of us cannot begin to conceive the size of the Universe – not even the word ‘size’ is useful – but God is bigger than that and indeed underlies all that the Universe is.  And whilst one may also imagine the quantum, the atomic level – in reality we cannot conceive of its smallness, and in its smallness the extraordinary distances between the sub-atomic. This also is God; a squillion, bazillion, katrillion, gertrudian times over… And not even that largeness and smallness is all that God is.

It often bothers me that so many people not only can’t believe in God, but don’t want to, or they prefer to believe in something they call a Higher Power, or Nature, or simply Love.  Mostly I tend to think ‘Poor God’; other times it seems limiting.  Surprisingly I find most people who believe in nothing Divine at all, to frequently be even more vociferous and exclusive in their expounding of it than even the most fundamentalist of religionists,  Usually such folk easily blame religion for so much that’s wrong in the world, missing the point that the current reality of hate and hurt is more the result of the inability to accept difference, than any actual difference is.  Enough about that…

For me, the reality that is God and the Divine (not gender-exclusive either btw, but fully gender-encompassing) is that which underlies all creation, that lies in the space between all things, that is the Creator and animating force of all things, that is intelligent and All-Bountiful, that at its highest humanly-understood manifestation is Pure Love, that can be both beseeched and praised for all that It/He/She/They can and do provide for us all, and that is the Regulator of Divine Justice; or Karma if you prefer.  (btw, I don’t mind referring to God as He for simplicity’s sake; sadly we don’t have a gender-neutral pronoun in English, aside from ‘It’, which always seems just a little derogatory somehow.)

And perhaps I should also say here that I do not believe in a devil, or in hell.  Darkness is not a force – it is merely the absence of, or distance from, the Light.  We experience a living hell when we are far from the Light, and some explanation of this is important.  One of course may be a devout believer but be experiencing a living hell, perhaps via depression, physical illness, circumstances surrounding relationships, finances or life in general.  For some reason, the Judeo-Christian God that most of us have grown up with hasn’t always been so bountiful as I believe God truly is.  We have seen illness and hard times as tests from God, not to mention an abundance of very Judeo-Catholic guilt.  And so we have borne them, often almost with pride!  I do not believe these things come from God at all, and I consider it a massive misunderstanding of God to think this, and so despite one’s devotion it is very much our distance from the Light that causes such darkness.  Our bodies, for example, are a gift – they are loaned to us for this lifetime – and we are duty-bound to take care of them.  Our inability to do so, with proper exercise and diet as two main physical components of care, combined with our addiction to negative emotion of all kinds, leads to disease.  (How to explain then the horrendous illnesses that may afflict the very young and apparently innocent?  That may be for another time, but it is, sadly, explainable.)  When we understand that our physical bodies are indeed our Temple, we can understand that ill-health of all kinds is due entirely to some significant negligence in maintaining our proximity to the Light of God.

I suppose I might add that I do understand that many may consider my non-belief in a devil a convenience for my own sake.  For me, to believe some creature or power exists that can match the power of God does not fit with my belief in God as omnipotent.  And to remove God’s omnipotence is to deny God is God.  And since my view is that God is bigger than we can even begin to imagine, it is entirely impossible for a devil to fit into that view.

And now, I have spent so long on the foundations of Meditation, that I will have to make this Part I, and promise to deliver Part II rapidly on its heels.

You can read Part II of this blog here.

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This article was written by tryinggodspatience

12 comments:

ShirleyAugust 24, 2012 at 6:13 amReply

Lovely Sue,
I follow your blog with great joy and interest. This entry especially captured me, since what you’re saying fits my Faith so perfectly well that it really surprised me! You mentioned that you read the Holy Scriptures of all major faiths, you even read the Bhagavadgita and the Qran. Have you ever come across the Bahá’í Faith during your research? The Bahá’í say that there is only One God (as you also wrote) and that this God is the same in any religion. According to the Bahá’í Faith there also is no such thing as Hell, since (as you put it, too) there is no darkness, there’s only absence of light; you can light up a room with a single candle, but you can’t darken a room with just a bit of darkness.
Lights and lamps are rather ‘popular’ metaphors in the Bahá’í writings as symbols for virtues and goodness.

If you’re interested, please feel free to contact me for a little chat, you really got me interested in your views now :)

“So powerful is the light of unity that it can ulliminate the whole world.” Bahá’u'lláh

With loving Bahá’í greetings, Shirley x

ShirleyAugust 24, 2012 at 7:07 amReply

It was just very Bahá’í of you to say that ;)

Meditation as a Path to Peace, Part I « living~bahá'íAugust 24, 2012 at 6:19 amReply

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John RichardsonAugust 24, 2012 at 7:43 amReply

I liked this very much Sue. We have some different perspectives but from God’s view I’m not sure they amount to much. For me, the Bible is truth, I just thinks it is a lot to presume that we understand all that it says. I believe God loves all of his babies and I can’t accept the idea that God would abandon his children simply because they grew up in the wrong culture. Christ said that he had sheep that were’nt of this flock and that the sheep know their master’s voice. I believe that free will is one of the greatest gifts God has given us and I don’t believe we will be penalized for exercising it in good faith. I have always wanted to sit in on a discussion between a scholar of the Bible and a scholar of the Koran to resolve the question of whether Christ was born in a manger or under a palm tree. Like you, I don’t believe in the devil. I believe that the potential for good and evil are in all of us and our cholices are what make the difference. The suffering in the wordl is largely a result of our own choices and the pain of our choices helps us to learn what we are suppose to know. I think God allows suffering because it is necessary.The Bible says that to find God you need to seek him in the stillness. I wonder if this is similiar to your meditation. I know when I connect with the Holy Spirit, for me this seems to be when I can see the world through the eyes of Christ, the wordl is transformed. I am surrounded by my brothers and sisters and I share both their joy and their pain. I appreciate your thoughts and I am looking forward to Part II. – JR

MarinaAugust 24, 2012 at 6:51 pmReply

Sue, thank you for writing.

How you write about God is inspiring and reconnects me with the awe.

I am resonating with you on many levels and I’m ready for the next installment!

Blessings,
Marina

NZ CateAugust 27, 2012 at 7:26 pmReply

Sue, I found this really refreshing and I agree totally with your view of God, but I find that you put it in a way that I have never been able to find the words to express. So thank you, Cate

Trying God’s PatienceAugust 27, 2012 at 8:21 pmReply

Thanks, Cate. You’re really welcome. I must get on with Part II! :) xoxo

NZ CateAugust 27, 2012 at 8:37 pmReply

That’s exactly what I was looking for. But no pressure… or not too much. :-)

Jackson Paul BennettOctober 26, 2012 at 11:13 pmReply

Thanks for your lovely thoughts,Sue. Clear and beautiful . God bless you . Paul.

limbertson1October 27, 2012 at 2:59 amReply

That was wonderful. So much is similar to my upbringing. I am anxiously awaiting part II.
Blessings,
Linda

Meditation as a Path to Peace, Part II « Trying God's PatienceDecember 6, 2012 at 6:39 pmReply

[...] Part I of this post is here. [...]

Meditation as a Path to Peace, Part II | tryinggodspatience.comFebruary 24, 2013 at 4:50 amReply

[...] Part I of this post is here. [...]