In the last hundred years or so, we have begun to call religion spirituality. I like it better because there are fewer ways to project on to it our own personal bias. But it is really the same experience as pointed out by William James in his book, The Variety of Religious Experiences. I thought for years he was a theologian, but he is actually a psychiatric trying to tell us what is going on in our brains. While his vocabulary is over my head, I get his point. My son, who is a genius actually read the whole thing.
Spirituality is just a name which describes something that is very mysterious that can only be seen through its manifestations. “You know a tree by its fruit,” so the Bible says. I tried valiantly to describe the manifestations of my own spiritual walk in an earlier post, but I know it will only resonate with some people. As all writers try to convince themselves: “As long as this helps even one person . . .” LOL
But as I download my thoughts and intuitions perhaps this will help you be open minded. As Bill Wilson points out in his book about the 12 Steps, open-mindedness is the key to transformation. If you do this one thing, you become a vessel which can retain all the knowledge you need to be “happy, joyous, and free.” Alcoholics Anonymous.
Post by Susan Peabody on May 22, 2016 15:56:41 GMT
The Story of God with Morgan Freeman
I am so happy to have found this series about the power of God. I have learned so much and had my own spiritual journey validated.
Freeman is looking at all the religions and seeing what they all have in common and how they have evolved. He is following in the foot steps of my beloved Joseph Campbell.
His first question to the audience is "What is God." And then he announces that all religions believe God is spirit.
Next he askes "Where is God," and apparently all religions have evolved to the point where they believe God is within. Christ said this in the Bible. Most recently people are starting to realize that God is in everything. The Gospel of St. Thomas,discovered with the Dead Sea Scrolls says . . . (Gospel of Thomas saying 77b) Jesus said: "Split wood, I am there. Lift up a rock, you will find me there."
Of course Christians believe also that God is in a place like Heaven, but neo-theology proves that Heaven is just a metaphor and that the spirit of God is actually every where, especially within.
Neo-Theology is the study of spirituality. They believe that God is within. When they test the brains of people who believe God is within, against the brain of atheists, the brain wave changes indicating something is going on in the brain of believers.
Freeman also asks whether or not their is a physical manifestation of Christ in the form of Jesus and other avatars. Most religions believe that there is such a manifestation. But they all argue about who is more important. The world is in crisis now over whose God is more important than the others. I personally believe that there is just one spirit and we all share him/her.
Now let's explore how to contact God. Most religions in the world believe you contact God through prayer. Prayer is just talking to God. I believe in the AA prayer, "Asking only for the knowledge of God's will and the power to carry that out." But millions of other people believe you can ask for for something specific and he will answer your prayers, even though science does not bear this out. Prayer is important to all religions. Muslims pray to Mecca five times a day. The "call to prayer" is sung and it is the most beautiful song in the world.
You may ask what enhances our relationship with God. This is simple. Our faith makes it easier to contact God and for God to contact us. When I am at my peak of spirituality, I am constantly talking and listening to God. Ephesians 6:18 "Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit . . ." The other thing that enhances our relationship with God is gratitude. God loves a humble, grateful heart. Trust me on this one.
As for how God talks to us, most believers that God talks to us with a voice or some kind of intuition. In my own personal experience God has talked to me in words, through my intuition 3 times. The words were authoritarian and simply told me to do something. The first time I was told to "God to Cal." Cal was the university where I went to school. The voice was asking me get a job there. I obeyed, without question, and the job at Cal changes my entire life. They taught me word processing (up until then I was a typist) so I could finally finish things I had been writing over the years. This led to my career as a writer. The second time God spoke to me in words he said, "Call Ten Speed." Ten Speed Press was my first publisher. This is a wonderful story which you can find in the article I wrote entitled, "My Heavenly Agent." (See my writings page on my website under Christian/Spiritual articles.)
The third time God spoke to me in words, it was not a commandment. God wanted to reassure me. I was in the copy room at work. The voice said, "Everything is going to be all right." I was amused because everything in my live was wonderful. But that night I got mugged. Instead of getting upset I stayed calm because I had been warmed. I also prayer for the robber and another miracle ensued. He called me and returned my purse. This is another great story called, "The Remorseful Robber." Also on my website. Here is the link
The next question is "How do we know it is God." Well this is simple. People in all religions and faith see God through grace and miracles. For me I know God is with me because of synchronicity. I talk about this elsewhere. When something synchronistic happens I believe it is a "sign" from God. Of course in the Bible the miracles were seen, at least in history, as literal. From Moses parting the red sea, to the virgin birth, miracles needed to be seen. Because this was so important to people in the past archeologists are always trying to prove that the Biblical stories were literal. I, personally, believe, along with millions of other believers, that the miracles are all metaphors for grace. The relationship between literal and metaphorical is discussed at length in the works of Joseph Campbell. He says if Christianity, for example, does not move from the literal to the metaphorical it will not survive. I believe that whether the virgin birth is literal or a metaphor it matters not. The story has meaning. It contributes to my faith.
The next question is "Where do we find God?" I grew up being told that God could only be found in church. But I ended up findind him/her in a meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous. I think the real answer is you find God where you feel comfortable. Some place that is meaningful and where you can feel the intimacy between you and God. Some place where God is approachable.
Morgan Freeman now asks, "How do you experience God." Well this differs between religions and individuals. The Buddhists believe you experience God through what they call enlightenment. I experience God in meditation. Others, like mu partner Frank experience God through the senses. He is a musician and when he is playing I can tell it is a spiritual experience for him. Other senses include smelling God in a rose. Seeing God in the ocean. So where I think about God, Frank experiences God. I envy him.
Another question . . . What does God look like. For centuries we have had idols of course, but Christianity changed all this. One of the ten commandments make it clear that there shall be no more idols, although the statue of Mother Mary is a close facsimili. God of course has no face or gender but mankind seems to need to focus on some image of God. The Christians of course have chosen to describe as The Trinity. God is father the creator. God is manifest in his son Jesus Christ, and, finally, God comes to us as the Holy Spirit in order to guide and comfort us. I wrote an article about how important it is that we not be told how to imagine God, but that we chose an image with whom we can relate. The Article is entitled, The New Trinity. I have provided the link somewhere in this post.