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Understanding how the universe works and who we really are
helps us to create the life we desire

 

PART 1

Introductory Note

Most of our problems in this physical experience are the result of our resisting the natural flow of good that the universe is always sending our way. We erect barriers that stop the flow. We desire good and at the same time disallow it. The book in progress from which these articles are adapted is aimed at teaching frustrated "resisters", who think they will never make a breakthrough, about that part of them that is the center of resistance. It describes the fear and separation from which it stems. It describes the defense mechanisms and thinking style associated with fear and separation. We discuss these things to point out that all separation from one's good is the result of a massive illusion, is not something imposed us against our will and that once understood and seen for what it is, it can be seen as silly, and then, finally released. From personal experience, I know of what I speak. I thought I was the world champ resister; I could not allow myself to experience joy and fulfilling peace of mind. I experienced ups and downs over which I "seemed" to have no control. I began seeking answers over 25 years ago, to little avail. Yet, my roller coaster ride did not seem to really change much. I began to think I would never "get it". So then the question became why this information helped to transform some but not others. I eventually discovered that my "efforts" actually were causing my life's circumstances to deteriorate. There is an explanation for that and it will be addressed in this series of articles. Though I intellectually understood the teachings, I was not able to apply them. A hint: it's about energy -- not about knowledge (though knowledge is valuable in that it brings with it, understanding).

Eventually, things became so bad for me that all outer action produced little but undesirable results. I finally realized that the harder I worked out there in the world, the worse things became. At some point, I decided this is ridiculous and ceased all "action". Then I began to study anew and eventually this evolved into greater clarity. I began to learn how to create the circumstances of my life the way it was meant to be done from the higher perspective -- utilizing the power within. This way, happily, does not entail the struggle that working to control and manipulate outer circumstances does.

 

Who Or What We Believe God To Be
Influences Our Life Experiences

When considering the age old questions of why are we here; what is our purpose; who are we, we often conclude that the answers lie in a "higher power". In one form or another, that higher power is thought of as god. From there, religions arise, developing dogma that attempts to define the nature of god and our relationship to that superior being. Many of us who study metaphysics often have an assessment of that higher power that is quite different from that of mainstream religion. Because many of our teachings hold that god is not a being separate from, higher than and outside of us, we may not relate to god in the same solemn, worshipful, or devout manner as practitioners of many traditional religious sects tend to.

Since most of us in this physical world generally conclude that we are part of something larger than our mere physical selves and accordingly that there is a larger purpose to our being, it is useful for us to take a look at how our approaches to god might affect our lives. Presumably we all have a desire to lead happy fulfilled lives. Hence, we seek guidance for living in such a way that will lead to that end. To a great extent, that is the reason most people are members of a religion or study philosophy.

Clearly, as suggested in the first paragraph, there are different takes on the nature of god and it is my view that one's perspective of god has quite significant implications as regards the course of one's life. In this series, we discuss the idea accepted by many that one's beliefs determine his /her personal experiences (or stated another way, one's personal reality). For that reason, I feel it is useful to examine our ideas about god.

 

Not "if" God; Rather "which" God

What's interesting to me is that for those who hold traditional views, the meat of the matter is mostly whether one believes in God or not. This suggests that for them, there really is only one view of God possible and that it's just a matter of convincing people to believe in God, (by which they mean the one that they believe in). In my view this misses the point. As I see it, the issue is, "What is the nature of God?"  Whether or not one believes in God, in my estimation, is less consequential than "what" god does one believe in.

There are two differing views of God I refer to here -- the traditional Judeo- Christian God of Scripture and one that is more personal, apart from religion, often referred to as Infinite Mind (as well as many other terms we will discuss). These two general views mirror two different approaches to life that I will discuss in greater detail. For now, let me provide an example.

When it comes to prayer, those who hold the first view of God might pray that He might have mercy on them and grant them relief from some difficulty. It is a sort of asking that one might be granted some thing or condition that he does not now have. From the second perspective, however, prayer also is a form of asking, but more asking that the person might become more open within his /her own heart to accepting and allowing that which already has been given. It comes from a position that the individual is already an extension of God and that the universe is loving and always ready to provide. Thus, it is more an issue of asking for guidance in learning how to allow oneself to receive.

It has been suggested by countless others that God (especially the one of the religious view) has been personified. This simply means that man has attributed to God, physical and emotional characteristics that he is familiar with, i.e., human characteristics. Thus, in our culture, we see portrayals of God as this imperial, stern, older, bearded authority figure. Perceptions of God however, vary throughout the world and across time. Man projects into his concept of God all of his own emotions and reasoning.

Meanwhile, we realize that most individuals really haven't made a conscious choice of their religious beliefs since they were introduced to them at a very young age by their families and institutions. The child is taught to fear the evil nature of man, the indomitable human condition and the Almighty, Himself. In essence, he is taught to fear life itself. Then, he is taught the remedies for relief of that fear as presented by his religion. Some, such as author Deepak Chopra, see the differing perceptions of God in terms of levels (or realms) which correlate with different ways of relating to or experiencing God. Chopra, in his book, How To Know God, in fact describes seven realms of experience, each one moving closer to a unified oneness with God. This is a useful model that can assist us in our understanding. The lowest level (though this low-high spectrum is not a very satisfactory portrayal) is the God that protects us from evil and dangers in our environment. This God could be seen as the all powerful, jealous, temperamental, capricious one of the Old Testament. At the highest level according to Chopra, we "end with unity consciousness, through which we can experience the divine in all things, living and inert". For the sake of simplicity, the two views I refer to are sort of opposite ends of a continuum (and roughly akin to the two just described) from limited consciousness to expanded consciousness. The latter is a more personal God, independent of religions. The continuum may not be a totally adequate representation, of course, because the universe consists of infinite variations. This means that the purported ends of the continuum are imagined ends. And, in between the metaphorical ends are infinite variations. Thus, thinking about it in this way, Chopra's seven points are simply arbitrary stops between the so-called ends.

When the terms "higher" and "lower" are applied to consciousness, higher would imply holding ideas that are expanded, more harmonious, closer to unity (or oneness) with God. Accordingly, lower would suggest ideas of limitation, sin, evil, disharmony and separation from God. Some other ways people make these distinctions are: inner-self / outer-self, true- self / false-self, little-self / bigger-self.



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