Finding the God of your understanding

My friend Juliana is a remarkable woman in recovery from alcoholism. Juliana has been in recovery for many years and helps other women to get the life they truly deserve because there is only one life, ‘it ain’t no practice run’. In her blog she shares her spiritual journey, and in her most  recent article she describes her construct of the God of her understanding.

I was told that I needed to find a power greater than myself, a God of my own understanding. Oh bother, I was stumbling at the first fence. As a cradle catholic, and years of subjugation and church attendance, I had no more idea of God than the man in the moon. … Nowadays, I choose to call my higher power, God; and I have developed a different understanding, one that works for me. — Finding God

Two of many constructs of God

bible and gavelA masculine construct of God calls one to adhere to God the Father’s laws. It includes the concept that God commands all to obey his laws, and at the end of time will ultimately punish unbelievers sending them to a  living hell, but will forgive and reward believers with eternal life in heaven with him.  This construct is embraced by those who say their understanding of God comes from reading the Bible.

skyA feminine construct of God calls one to be aware that for every thought and action there is a reaction, a consequence, an outcome regardless of the law.  Those who embrace this construct of God say their understanding of God is comes from their experience that the universal laws of nature are impersonal. Reactions are outcomes flowing from natural law (karma) ie. the result of their own past actions and present doings and not punishment or reward from God.

My construct of God

woman in contemplationMy understanding of God does not come from scripture. I don’t think we humans can ever have a true understanding of the nature of God until we recognize we are in charge of our selves and nothing more. When I reached the point in my life where I recognized I had no control over anything or anyone but myself, I came to understand that God was in everyone and everything.

Once I freed my mind from grasping and following every transient thought I experienced in meditation, I  awakened, became conscious and experienced bliss.

I started seeing nature  and the world in the way I had seen  nature as a child, stripped clean of the religious brainwashing I received.  God was in the sunlight, the clouds, rainbows,  the ocean, the forests, the meadows,  flowers and snow topped mountains.

When bliss descends, the insecurity of the heart, the frustration of the mind, the depression of the vital and the limitation of the body disappear. A seeker, an aspiring soul, carries with him two divine weapons: God-love and world-embrace. When we love God from the very depths of our hearts, we feel that our inner existence is inundated with bliss. And when we embrace the world as a divine manifestation of God, again our inner being is inundated with bliss. — Scri Chinmoy

God was within me and the experience of homecoming; the experience of  bliss that moved me beyond words. The God of my understanding is pure consciousness and my purpose in life was revealed to me.

To live consciously and courageously in the now moment, to resonate with love and compassion, and to leave this world in peace.

Below is my comment on Juliana’s  article which contains a description of my seeking and finding the God of my own understanding.

I too love the ocean in all weather and in all seasons. I also love the forest just as much. I live on a small forested island so I’m continually witnessing and influenced by the ever-changing face of the ocean and the tides, and the changes within the forest too.

I think the construct of God refers to a person’s cognitive or theological understanding of God and that the God construct develops is two ways. The first way is through what an individual has been taught and told to believe about God. The second is by what the individual experiences and attributes to the God of their own understanding.

When what an individual is taught and told to believe about God and what they experience are not internally consistent they may become spiritual seekers. I became a spiritual seeker and I too found the God of my own understanding.

As I sought I began to draw even more distinctions based on what I was taught and told to believe about God, and what I learned about God through my own experiences. As a trod the spiritual path I came to realize that my mind was not the tool to analyze God. I came to believe more and more deeply with even greater conviction that I need to let go of constructs of God and simply experience all there was just as it was. So I did that. I learned how to just be and how to be okay with just being.

Over time I developed my own construct of God which is quite different from the God I was taught about and told to believe in as a child. Based on my own experience through meditation I found the God of my understanding deep within me. succinctly stated I believe God is LOVE and when I meditate I feel like I am coming home to God.

My construct of God is neither male nor female, neither good nor bad, neither light nor darkness but containing all there is and situate everywhere: the universal stream of consciousness flowing through all is God – LOVE. Hence, God is found in everyone and in everything; God just keeps on being LOVE.

I believe I have only one life in this body at this point in time, but it’s possible that the essence of me may be returned to live in a new body without a recollection of previous lives, until I stop clanging like a cymbal, and actually become one with God – one with the universal stream of consciousness flowing through all – one with LOVE.

That being said I find the most difficult part of my life is to be still within, at peace and one with God when I am in the company of others. However, when I am in nature and sitting on the beach watching the waves roll in, or when I am in the forest seated on a mossy stump I am still within, at peace, and one with my construct of God. In other words, what I struggle with is remaining in that loving and peaceful state once I leave meditation.

Have you found the God of your understanding?

26 thoughts on “Finding the God of your understanding

  1. Pingback: Finding My Path | this time – this space

  2. Like many others, I too was brought up in the religion of my parents and only later in life could I begin to discover the God that dwells in my heart. Early in my spiritual journey, I tried to narrow my construct of God into one entity; nature, a loving parent, even a lover. Over the years I have let go of my desire to label God as one thing and try to see god in all things, whether it is a mountain view, a running deer or the sun setting. What has slowly emerged has been a focus on seeing god most clearly in others. I see my step-children do something nice for someone else and see god. I see a smile in a stranger’s face and see god. I have seen some very poor people and see my god suffering with us. I have see many who are terminally ill and I see them with god.

    I am inspired by your spiritual journey and the others who also have commented. In your story and in theirs, I see god. Thank You.

    • Thanks so much for commenting and for sharing your spiritual journey and your construct of God with myself and my other readers. Best wishes to you in all you do.

    • @Robin,
      I am so honored by your comment. It’s exactly the length required to express what you wanted to share. Moreover, what you share is so reflective of my experience that it takes my breath away.

      As I said to Nick above I don’t believe in deities ie. supernatural immortal beings because I have never experienced meeting one. I simply used the word “God” in this article as I felt it would be a point of reference for my readers.

      Like you I found everything in “The Nothingness” for in that state when all emotions associated with my attachments and aversions dissolve there is “no-self”, only loving and peaceful unity with all that is.

      Love and peace,
      TiTi

  3. Dearest TiTi,

    What a beautiful post and discussion. Although I lived years close to nature, and still have a deep everlasting connection to nature, and although I am female, And although I experienced the rainforest as “nurturing mother”, I never saw the existence that I communicated and communed with as “The Goddess”. Nor did I see it as masculine.

    I follow no religion and yet feel profoundly connected to Life. What I have felt and commune with is the most intense intimate Love. A love so calm, enduring, infinite and eternal that I feel safe, cherished and seen. Yes, it was nature that initially gave me this love, and of course, like you, I feel it so easily there. And over my later years in society I have come to realize that that Love is with me always, no matter where I go. It’s who I am, who we all are. Although I have to admit it comes easiest in Nature.

    But I am learning that it is everywhere I go, and in everyone, even in those who I perceive as hurting me. That has taken longer to see and is still something that my experience is moving into. But every time I can see love even in those who hurt me or others, I not only love more fully what I’ve perceived as “other”, but because there really is no “other”, I love more fully myself.

    I know this is not very clear, as I’ve been so maxed out lately, but I LOVED this whole post and couldn’t help but be part of it. I also really relate to this line that you and Sandra Lee discussed:

    “…the aim is to be aware whatever rises and let it pass understanding it’s true nature as empty yet appearing rather than to strive for any particular state of peace. Spaciousness and peace will come naturally as we progress,”

    I am one who thrives on the human experience and all it’s varied emotions. At age 27 I consciously chose an experiential life. I wanted to let my weary brain rest and my heart lead. I wanted my hands and feet in the mud and my body in the rain, literally and so to speak, I learned early on that soul lives in these very visceral experiences. And I LOVED deepening my soul and getting to know it firsthand, no matter how messy it might appear to others. I had little use for concept or reason; I wanted to know Life firsthand, almost as if I had know nothing before and everything was new, for the first time, almost as if I were the only human alive on Earth and HAD to rely on my instincts and mistakes to learn.

    My path might look messy to some, and incomprehensible to others, and yet, I really lived. I have come to know Life, and am wide open to learning more. I want to “go out” totally used up, filled up, and lifted up. In my visceral living I have found “spirit”. I’ve fallen in love with Life. I do not understand it all, and I don’t care that I don’t understand it all. I have found Love, Compassion, and peace with myself and the world. It doesn’t mean that I always like what I see, or that things don’t effect me (I allow them to and as Sandra said, let them pass through me).

    It doesn’t mean that my way is another person’s way. But it has been a path that has given me Life, rich Life. And left me continually hungering for more, I am never bored. And although I hunger, I am at peace at the same time. I think Life itself always hungers for more of itself, and is forever creating more Life, more Love, exploring its boundaries and pushing further and further out into the great unknown. I feel safe in such a vast existence. I’ve come to terms with what I call, The Nothingness. Because it was in “The Nothingness” that I found Everything.

    Thank you my dearest of friends for inspiring me once again.
    I love you,
    Robin

  4. I personally prescribe to this theory and practice of practicing spirituality on my own terms. Although I was raised Catholic, and have many deep rooted beliefs and practices that stem from that, I cannot support the idea that we must adhere to dogma that has been created by men and their vain interpretations of the scriptures. This has been a particularly difficult issue to address with my Mother In Law, who is a strict Born Again Christian and whose spiritual beliefs border on fanaticism. It is very difficult to reason with someone who has no respect for my beliefs and who immediately condemns me to an afterlife in hell simply because I do not believe and follow in the same way that she does. One particular sticking point is the issue of attending church regularly. I don’t feel that I have to go to church to worship God or to have a personal relationship with Him. In general, tolerance and respect for the beliefs of others benefits all of us in our quests to connect with a higher power.

    • How nice it is to see your comment here. I have written o book on being an ex-member of a Christian evangelical sect, however, I won’t publish it until time passes and some folks pass over. So without doubt I do know exactly what you are referring to.

      It’s so exasperating, angering and sad to see people who choose to embrace fear and guilt based dogma, and then relentlessly attempt to impose it on others by using prayer as a weapon, judging others and threatening them with death by hell-fire. Moreover, it’s not a reflection of the teaching attributed to Jesus who gave his disciples over 50 ‘love one another and love your neighbors as you love yourself’ commandments. It’s hypocrisy at its worst.

      Don’t let the stumbling blocks deter you — navigate around them. Thanks for commenting and be well and happy while pursuing your own spiritual journey.

      Love and peace,
      TiTi

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  6. I suppose, fundamentally, I’m am atheist who has no real concept of God. The word “God”, however, interests me metaphorically, as a kind of poetic device, hinting at a power and reality beyond my understanding. A power and reality that is implicit in life itself, in my own being, which I cannot, nor really have any need, to comprehend.

  7. That is one of the best stories I have ever heard TiTi. I am so proud I might tear up a little and I am very proud of you…am glad you found God!!!

    My understanding of God don’t comes from reading the Bible…even I remember a phrase that is derived from the gospel of John:

    John 3:5-8 “Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”

    I Found God. It’s in me. And I know everything is going to be alright with me and with my life and my friends.I believe in myself and thouse around me…and I Thank you, God, for my mom’s life with me and all our precious moments…even when he left I was lost, but thanks to her and God, that I now am found again …

    Wishing you the Best and a lovley Monday!

    Dy,

    PS_ Yes, Juliana is a special woman indeed! I admire her…and not only her…smiles

    • @Dyeve,
      Yes, I found what I sought within me and like many others I became spiritually awakened only after I hit rock bottom. I found pure consciousness and bliss. My struggle to become LOVE and is a daily one but I’m still in the game. Every morning when I awake I take time to be in stillness and every night before I rest I count my blessings too. Thanks for sharing here with us dear friend.
      Love and peace,
      TiTi

  8. Great article. I have struggled at times just with the word GOD because it means so many things to so many people and I didn’t want to give people the wrong idea about my own personal belief by using the word in a sloppy way. Unfortunately that leads to the God/source/universe thing which is even worse.

    I believe that we all come to god on our own path and that no one should be forced in anyway down one particular path because they claim it to be the “right path”.

    All my reading and studying over the last few years has led me to understand that, all religions, all forms of spirituality, in the end are all about the same thing. However, one voice or another may speak to you in a way that resonates with you and your life experience.

    I like the term pantheist for myself…the belief in all deities. I know I have found god…everytime I find a string of words that make my heart sing. There is god every where in everything.

    And not one of us is damn to some eternal hell…because we are all part of god and we all dance to the music of that mystery.

    Don’t you just love it?

    Nick

    • Hello there Nick,
      I have struggled with the use of the God word also for I do not believe in the existence of dieties. I have been so frequently misunderstood that for many years I did not use it, and  don’t use it frequently now. I think that we are each spiritual seekers and there is common ground between us regardles of which pathway we are on. We do find what we seek and what we seek the universal stream of pure consciousness is everywhere and in everything, in poetry and music and in a well turned phrase,  whether or not we use that label or another one.
      Love and peace,
      TiTi

  9. Hey, I so can relate to the comment about being still, at peace and one with God when in the midst of others versus in meditation. The ego can be such a challenging thing and keeping it at bay an ongoing challenge for consciousness. Thanks for the post – great thought prompter once again.

    • Thanks so much for commenting Catherine. I struggle with ego issues. I cling to attachments and aversions. I let go and then I grasp them again. Becoming one with the God of my understanding is not an easy process, but there is peace within.
      Love and peace,
      TiTi

  10. Hi TiTi:
    I am delighted my post was able to act as a catalyst for you to write this thoughtful piece. I find so many of us truly find God when we consciously recognise that organised doctrine just doesn’t ‘hit the spot’ for us.
    In early sobriety, an old-timer said to me;
    ‘Religion is for those who fear going to hell; Spirituality is for those of us who have already been there.’
    That has stayed with me ever since.
    Smiles and blessings.

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  12. Hello,

    What a beautiful exploration of the meaning of “God.” I follow Buddhism, but funnily there is no such word as “Buddhism” in the Tibetan language. People who follow the teachings are called something akin to “insiders,” meaning people who look within the nature of their own mind for truth. Buddhists do not believe in the concept of God as such. The thrust in Buddhism is more like what is explained above under the feminine construct of God, but not exactly.

    Naturally, it’s difficult to remain in a peaceful and loving state when we are not in a protected meditation. Karma is always arising until it’s fully purified therefore thoughts and emotions will arise. Remaining in a peaceful state can be a trap that prevents full awakening. In my understanding, the aim is to be aware whatever rises and let it pass understanding it’s true nature as empty yet appearing rather than to strive for any particular state of peace. Spaciousness and peace will come naturally as we progress, but it can take many years and even lifetimes. Patience and perserverence seems to be a big factors! A sense of humor comes in handy too! :) That’s my rudimentary understanding, but I am just a beginner on the path.

    Thanks for this interesting discussion. There is always something unique here and that’s why I appreciate your blog.

    • Hello Sandra,
      Yes, we have shared the same teachings, and this is reflected in this quote from your comment above:

      In my understanding, the aim is to be aware whatever rises and let it pass understanding it’s true nature as empty yet appearing rather than to strive for any particular state of peace. Spaciousness and peace will come naturally as we progress, but it can take many years and even lifetimes.

      Reincarnation and rebirth are not the same and “no self” is a teaching I have had. Refutation of the notion of a supreme God is seen as a key distinction between Buddhism and other views. In fact belief in a Supreme God is considered to pose a hindrance to the attainment of enlightenment. Following 5 years of Buddhist (Mahayana) teaching I continued to seek until I found the God (as such) of my own understanding. My philosophy is still rooted in Buddhism but my experience has not dovetailed with all the teachings.

      Thank you so much for conrtibuting to my blog. I appreciate it so much.

      Love and peace,
      TiTi

  13. What a beautiful article, Timethief. I liked Funkkeejooce comment too.
    As I logged on, it is the first thing that I read this morning.
    Learning about the bloodshed in the world in the name of religion over centuries, or our rigid interpretation of God, seeing the divisions in the world on the basis of that, I know that is not what God is. God is definitely not strife. God is not hate. God is not heaping contempt on a “non-believer” or one who does not agree with one’s portrayal of God. God is also not in proselytizing.
    My God sets me free from the narrow confines of religion. My God urges me to explore, know for myself what is good and bad, and not dictates what I should follow. There are no rules or practices that I must do. There is no comformity. I find that I can connect with my God only when I am at total peace with myself. Nature in all forms helps me tremendously in finding that peace. So I would say for me God is PEACE.

    • @SV
      It’s so good to hear from you. Yes I can tell you have found the God of your understanding as well. I appreciate your sharing what God isn’t and I’m in agreement with what you have said for this also reflects my experience. Like you I find it easiest of all to connect when I am totally at peace and for me that’s in meditation.
      Love and peace,
      TiTi

  14. I was raised as a Catholic and I was taught that there is no bad religion only bad interpretations. My father said to me to take from the teachings what is comfortable for me and the rest to chuck it away. He didn’t want to fill my brain with stories of purgatories and hell. He said, as long as I do good unto others, then I’m perfectly fine.

    Through the years, I have studied Buddhism and I have embraced a lot of their teachings as well. I taught myself to meditate with the purpose to get to know myself via my higher-self and heighten my awareness in life. Through my meditations I have come to believe that we are all spiritual beings in a physical body. We are on this plane to learn lessons and when we graduate from each lesson, we evolve spirtually. I also believe in God but I do not seek him – the fact that I live is proof enough for me that He is everywhere and within us. A long time ago I found peace within me – that’s when I knew I found God. I do not need to go to church nor read the bible – why should I, when he is right here.

    • Thanks so much for sharing so openly. I too was raised to be a Christian and then became drawn through yoga to Buddhism. It was so interesting to read how similar our journeys have been and that we have arrived at a similar God of our understanding. I regret that I’m not always operating from my higher-self and when I recognize I’m not through meditation I seek and find oneness with God — within.
      Love and peace,
      TiTi

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