As spiritual writers and "teachers " we often use the word "God ". It is a word that has a variety of meanings to a wide variety of people. But is conveys meaning beyond the specific meaning given it by any particular religion. It is the "reference ", the "absolute authority ". "God " is seen as creator, destroyer, savior, punisher, or any number of "human " based images. But "God " is illusion.
Now, by illusion I don't mean "God " is a total "figment ". "God ", like our individual appearance, is an expression. This morning when I was planning to write this, I was thinking of using the idea of "expression ", as in a facial expression, like a smile, wink or smirk. I was thinking of saying that "we are expressions of Love. (in place of "God") Like a smile on Love's face" . But there I was "personifying " again.
This could be the single largest problem in really understanding. When we become familiar with non-duality, we begin to understand that the concept of "God " is mind based. Some may reject religion altogether, and even change their vocabulary so pro - nouns are no longer allowed, and only "Oneness " recognized. Any mention of "God " in such a setting is scoffed at, at best, and could lead to rejection from the "non-dual community".
This results in the kind of dry, passionless, intellectual non-duality we see in many Western satsang situations. Some, newly awakened "expressions " believe their "experience " is what made them "aware ", so now they are devising "methods", "plans ", and "courses " to help you recreate their experiences. Spirituality becomes mind games and "practices ", no matter what "new age " names you label them with, even if you insist they "aren't practices ". This becomes psychological nonsense; "push out the bad thoughts, bring in the good". Where is the passion that love of "God " used to bring?
This creates, what was for me, the great paradox. Reason tells us that "God " is a concept. Experience tells us that "God " is a concept. Any amount of self inquiry should put both yourself and "God " in perspective. We find that "God " is an "expression " of the "all ", but the concept is anexpression of us. We create "God" in our own image ". The movement of Love is the foundation, the "space" as it were, "God " and "ourselves " being the expressions of that movement. We then extrapolate a "God " as a "grand us ". "God is more loving than us, and a whole lot meaner!" "God " is the original "superhero ".
The point is, whenever we use the term "God " we bring up images. Even in Advaita circles, "God " is mentioned repeatedly. Nisargadatta Maharaj used the term "God " often, and often in different contexts. Sometimes in the conventional way, sometimes as the Absolute. The Christ spoke of the "Father ". Ramana Maharshi was/and is himself worshiped and prayed to. Even places like Arunachala, Mecca, or Jerusalem are worshiped; held as "holy". What does this mean?
There is a natural desire for worship in mankind, perhaps in the universe. The Christ talked of the "stones rising up". This natural desire stems from the fact that we ARE worship, we ARE gratitude, we ARE expressions of Love in movement.
My writing has been spoken of as being "from the heart ". I was referred to in an interview as a "heart teacher ". I hope that does not mean that I am some kind of "bliss bunny ". I live every day of my life immersed in Love, and yet I believe in no "God ". I love fairy tales, but I have no desire to live in one. On the other hand, I do not accept some "scientific" explanations like the "Big Bang ". "God " and the "Big Bang " are equal in relevance and intelligence if you ask me. They are both man made "answers " to unanswerable questions.
I try not to use the word "God " without brackets. It is a word and idea deeply implanted in my brain, and I try very hard to make it understood when I do use it. I do this because the relationship "we " have with "God " is of vital importance to awareness. The love we feel for "God ", whether in our "neighbor ", the natural world or ourselves IS what we are. "God ", "neighbor ", world and ourselves all arising as expressions of that Love that we ARE.
The Love is real. You could say the "Love of God " is real, but not "God ". But that is confusing. If "God " is Love, then to love is to BE "God ". To love your neighbor as yourself is also it BE "God ". We can only be Love when we are totally immersed in our true being. When ideas of "I " are nowhere to be found, and ideas of "God " vanish along with them, we can relax into the Love that remains; the only thing that was there in the first place.