Saturday, August 6, 2011

The Trouble with "God" - Revisited

I find it both amusing and strange that referencing the concept of "God " comes up in non-dual discussions so frequently. This concept seems to be so persistent that it takes on a life of it's own, even in supposed "non-dual " expression. The concept of an "individual self " seems easier to lose than this troublesome concept of "God ".

A friend and I, while in high school, had independently come upon the thinking behind Anselm'sOntological Argument , which we considered a "proof " for the existence of "God ", as did Anselm. This concept, as Anselm framed it, is that "God " is that, of which nothing greater can be conceived. I remember excitedly calling my philosophy teacher on a Saturday night to tell him the good news. After he explained that Anselm had already beaten us to the punch, I simply accepted this argument for decades.

I come from a Christian background, and one would think that this concept would be one that would persist, and it did, in my period of intellectual understanding. Initially, in the Christian sense, there developed the concept that "God " was "in" things, or everything was "part " of "God ." As more understanding took place, "God " was seen as "everything ". The sky is "God", the forest is "God", and so on.

After reading Ramakrishna, and then Ramana Maharshi and Nisargadatta Maharaj, there developed an intellectual understanding of non-dual expression. But the concept of "God", finally seen as only a concept, was missed. My development from childhood had always seen that Love was the most important aspect of "God", and that aspect remained, both in my mind and in my heart. How could there be Love in non-duality; without subject and object; "God and myself " ?

As I have said before, after a heavy rain, in the beauty of the clouds, I was struck with the realization of the answer to that question. The only way I can explain that using the inadequacy of words, is to say I vanished. And along with me, the concept of "God " vanished. What was left was Love. Not "my" love, not "God's" love, but Love only. All personal identification ceased. While the body, mind, and personality appear to remain, the constant, abiding, reality is Love only.

This realization of Love, without the concept of "God " opened the door. "God " was no longer necessary, just as "I " was no longer necessary. After "stabilizing" in this for a decade, I was able to see that both "God " and myself are simply expressions of Love, the appearance of the body/mind and personality persisting as before, but now servants to Love only. I have tried ever since to proclaim that Love is your True nature.

This is why I find it so important not to look at "God " as anything but a concept. That is why I always try to put the term "God " in parenthesis'. I don't believe it. It is an expression only of the one Love. As to our "selves ", we can, at least reach the "I am ". The mind can go that far. But the concept of "God " is not even "demonstrable" to that degree, unless we wish to stop at Anselm's argument, which by it very words, is a concept. Only the heart can understand Love, as the heart "speaks" only in silence.

Robert Adams, the great American Jnani, felt that one was helped in the spiritual journey by seeing "God " in form, even though his understanding was similar to my own. He even felt that one could worship "God " in the guru. He felt that one could not build up a strong enough "love" for a formless "ideal ". Both Ramana Maharshi, and Nisargadatta Maharaj used the term "God " frequently. They used it in reference to the Absolute sometimes, and in reference to the "relative" at other times, which I feel is very confusing, if not misleading, as were Adams's views. Not wanting to pick a fight with some of non-dualities most revered teachers, I would still say that the understanding of Love, Loving itself, without the unnecessary baggage of an "I " or a "God " is vital to the understanding of Truth.


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