Relationship with God: Moving Toward Unity
There are many different ways to look at Reality/God/The Absolute. It's your unique stage of consciousness development which will represent itself in your relationship with Reality.
Many feel that meditating and having that great blissful feeling is all there is. That sure is one part of it, but really, having a unitive consciousness means being able to see God in everything and everyone. That's not always so easy. One way of at least taking a step in this direction is to see how we are indeed "all the same". Different faces, different languages, different clothes, but underlying all that is a sameness we all share. As it is said, the mind analyzes the world into a thousand pieces, but the heart unifies it all again.
Since the greatest cause of war in history is religious difference, we thought we should look at this particular area of unity. If you've ever attended a Religious Science or New Thought Church you might hear readings from the Bible, or the Bhagavad Gita, the Tao Te Ching or any other "scripture" that inspires us to think of the unity of humans with the Divine. We, ourselves, felt drawn to a Sufi marriage ceremony, and we can see the commonality in all these belief systems. God is infinite and infinity has room for it all.
God is the Absolute and Infinite. No one can know God for you. No one religion or belief system or class or method can tell you all about God. We can try to guide, to use metaphors, to tell stories; but only you can know God for yourself. And then alot depends on who you are, for you "make God in your own image."
Let's use the example of a single human life to illustrate how different people might look at God.
If a child of 5 drops a glass of water on the floor, she might think, "Oh, oh, Mom's going to get me, I'm bad, I'm in for punishment". That's pretty similar to how people who think of God as the Father-in-Heaven might speak about God. In other words, "I'm a sinner, I'm being punished by God for my sins."
Now, think of a teenager of 16 or so. Dropping that same glass of water she might think, "Gee, sorry Mom, I'll take care of it". This stage is where most New Thought people are. They realize they are responsible for their own actions and don't need someone to 'rule' over them. They conceive of God as 'friend'.
Later in years as an adult, that same person doesn't have to explain to anyone and has a direct knowledge of cause and effect. This is the 'Unitive' consciousness. They conceive of themselves as an "individualized expression of God-Consciousness". They think of God as 'within'.
In New Thought we don't have a different God, we have a different relationship with God. Treatment is not having any intermediary between yourself and God, and in the highest and best treatment there is no separation between you and God.
However, not everyone has the same relationship even within New Thought and that's OK. While we've seen many give up the traditional saints we see a strong reliance on angels. Are they not just a substitute for an intermediary?
We use a technique in NLP that is called reframing. It changes our attitude toward a situation. Whether we call it 'rain' or 'liquid sunshine' we don't change the nature of the precipitation, we merely change our attitude toward how it affects us.
Reframing is used a lot in New Thought. Let's take an example of you having too much champagne on New Year's Eve. Well, the next morning you might wake up feeling pretty terrible. You might say, depending on your attitude, "This is an opportunity for growth", or "I'm a sinner", or "I'm being punished", or "there are no coincidences and I'm responsible for feeling this way this morning", or "the host made me drink too much of his crappy booze." Whatever your attitude, you still have a hangover, but your experience of that condition will be different.
Let's examine some different aspects of understanding of some of the "truths" said in New Thought and notice the sameness with other belief systems.
"We are not punished for our sins, but by them." Once we understand the Law working through God we know God is not punishing us. We are merely experiencing the consequences of our actions. The outcome is the same whether we call it a punishment or a consequence. In New Thought, 'sin' is restored to its original meaning, which is simply 'error'.
"There is no hell." Again, we don't believe God passes a 'final judgment' and sends us to a special place when we die, but there are different planes of existence and the Law of Attraction works. If you study the Tibetan Book of the Dead, there are several planes of existence, including one called the "Realm of the Hungry Ghosts", if you study Theosophy there are planes of unfulfilled desire where souls are pretty miserable, or some of you may look at yourself or someone else and realize their life right here on earth seems like hell. So, although we might explain it differently, these places sound pretty much alike.
Which one is 'right'? from the original revelation to what the masses of people want. Even Buddhism began to "add" Bodhisattvas (compassionate beings, sort of like helping angels) because people didn't feel ready for direct contact with the Absolute. Most of us will admit we sometimes still want an all-knowing Power to watch over us. Whether we call it Divine Guidance or "God help me!" doesn't really matter. There is room enough for it all.
On the opposite side of the coin, modern society has traded in "the devil made me do it", for past lives, my ego, or my parents made me do it. All of these are still looking for an outside person/thing to stand between ourselves and our responsibility.
In all major faiths the central theme is that God loves us. God gave Itself to the world in some form; be it His Son, reincarnated as Ram or Krishna, or Himself became the multiplicity and divided the original whole. Some might make sacrifices of vestal virgins, but we all have to sacrifice our small selves and ego to the Divine Urge within us. This is the true "goal" of all beliefs.
We're gratified to see how there are many who can embrace different faiths and belief systems besides merely the traditional. It shows that God is familiar in any image. We are, however, somewhat saddened when the transcendental truths are taken literally by the small self/ego. "I am part of God", is only part of the truth. We have to embody that "if I am, so is everyone else" and treat them as compassionately as we treat ourselves. [the Golden Rule!] We do often say we are "perfect, whole and complete" which means we already have within us the potential for everything. That phrase, taken literally, by the ego/mind thinks, "I am demonstrating my perfection right now", and using it as an excuse for making everyone else "wrong". This turning back the transcendental truths into ego/small self can be the foundation for more personality problems. This was the danger more traditional religions tried to avoid by giving literal "rules" or stating dogma. From this point of view we can see their aim was to protect. And we encounter many who still "want some rules", including ourselves. "Manifesting Success" is our most successful class because it has steps and the best selling books out there give people 3 or 5 or 7 or 12 steps to freedom. So again, are we so much different?
We could go on and on about the similarities. How we differ AND how similar we all are. When we first learn something new about ourselves it is quite useful to differentiate, to separate. If you've done some meditation you might have learned, "you are not your body, you are not your mind". They are only learning techniques so that you can identify your true nature and make a connection with it. The next step, the real wisdom of that practice, however, is to add back the mind, body and emotions and integrate them and use them wisely and then you come to the new understanding that you are indeed all those things.
We can feel the contentment of knowing we're not alone, that we are indeed "all one" AND rejoice in our diversity. We become more unitive and connected when we accept it all. There is room enough for it all. So please try this experiment. How are you "the same" with others you meet? Can you see God in all things?
By Peter and Helen Evans