Monday, May 19, 2014

Knowing something of God

Some days back, I posted something on the nature of God and our relationship to Him on the Parabola Facebook page.

The reactions were interesting. There were those who were "shoked" (sic) that Parabola would even mention God— a reaction that speaks volumes in itself — those who were offended by the idea that one could illustrate a post about God with a picture of the Buddha, finding it inappropriate, and so on. (I suppose our preconceptions of everything must inevitably dominate, but still. Really?) In any event, the remark I found most interesting was an individual who commented, presenting in what appeared to be a mild case of gently informed outrage, about how anyone could dare to claim they knew anything of God.

I claim to know something about God; and so should we all. The purpose of man is to know of God; as Christ himself taught us, we are meant to receive God in the body, and the whole point of Holy Communion is an allegorical illustration of this fact. We are meant, in point of fact, to receive God in the body and blood, through the agency of higher energies that flow into a person's being if they open themselves to the influences of God.

 Now, it's true that God is a loaded word; and one could write volumes about the misunderstandings and preconceptions that people pack their suitcases with when they come to it. But the fact that there is such a thing as God is true; and the fact that we can open ourselves to His Holy Presence is also true. It is the purpose for which man was intended; and so to deny that we know nothing and can know nothing about God is, in a sense, to deny God Himself.

 Those interested in the subtle and complicated — often even apparently contradictory — metaphysics of the question, which will reveal that we both can and cannot know everything about God, and that we at the same time know everything and absolutely nothing, and that God is both intimately knowable and forever unknowable, will spend a lifetime studying these questions. It's an intellectual discipline well worth the time it takes to engage in it; but nothing of the intellect as we ordinarily experience ultimately comes to this knowing of God. Hence my series of essays over the last few days.

We all ought to know something of God. If we know absolutely nothing of God, if we do not feel His presence touch our lives in one way or another – every day, which is what man's existence was intended for in the first place — we ought to feel a certain sense of inner shame, because we are not fulfilling our duties, our obligations, our sacred responsibilities towards our Father who is in Heaven. (Note I use the term Father here not in any masculine sense, but in a certain metaphysical way that honors both the male and the female, yet transcends them both. It would be nice if the great traditions had provided us with a word not loaded with sexual baggage in order to refer to God, but they didn't — and the political correctness of the modern era cannot be allowed to destroy the ancient traditions that allow the use of this word. Ergo, my apologies to those who would prefer a less traditional feminine assignation.)

In any event, yes, we should all know something of God, and we should not be embarrassed to talk about it. What else is there in life, if not God?

What is love?

What are compassion, mercy, grace, consideration, tolerance?

Are these all just fixtures on a supermarket shelf of human emotional reaction which we can pick and choose as we please, or do they flow into us from some higher level? I ask you, think on this. It is no small thing to recognize the fact that these are higher principles which can only flow into us from a higher level, and that don't belong to us. If they belonged to us, everyone would have them; and a quick look around you will show you how that works out. We can only gain such important qualities of human beings through effort; they don't drop off the vine like ripe grapes. And that effort has to be an openness to God, and open heartedness that informs our daily action. No one gains this through casual actions or the repetition of rituals. Only a conscious effort can open the heart to a higher principle. All of this bears a vitally important relationship to just what belongs to us, and what belongs to God; and as long as we hold ourselves Gods, in command and control of our own Being, we lack of understanding on this point. In the end, the philosophies of being that would make it so all fail; and failed spectacularly. One would think mankind might have learned this lesson by now, but the altar of selfishness is perpetually set with all the best temptations.

There is a fineness, a refinement to the idea of God, which rejects the vulgarity of those who would make God something of this world, of this earth. The presence of God in Being comes with the understanding of a different level of vibration that can inwardly form our attitudes in a way that does not belong to us; and if we but knew it, this is our birthright, which we have discarded.

Hosannah.

2 comments:

  1. I understand what you are saying Lee, but I guess there is a real sense in which traditionally buddhists, especially theravada, no nothing of god or supreme being 'they have never heard anything but the pristine, austere, strictly essence-less views of the Buddhist teachers.' (Agehananda Bharati, The Ochre Robe, p. 258). This is where Parabola does tend to mix it all up with 'the all religions are one' mantra. And of course, buddhism isn't really a religion anyway...
    Of course your blog is not about that kind of distinction....it is a kind of teaching of its own as you are well aware....thus the relative lack of discussion...there is almost nothing to say....:)
    "this is why evangelizing is a heartbreaking affair in the Christian missions in Thailand, the Hindu at least knows what the Christian is talking about, but the Siamese honestly does not." (Bharati p.258). There is a good youtube vid of Bharati giving a lecture....
    Shalom

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  2. Oh, and just in case anyone is still reading there is no 'God' in Hinduism, there are 'gods'...there is no creator who creates something out of nothing.....

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