Or another question, do you believe in God? At some point, everyone deals with these questions, either through consideration or acceptance of some teaching. Many people have primitive ideas of God they picked up when they were young, like some old man in the sky. If we do try to reconsider the question as adults, we are faced with a barrage of extremes, from Dawkin’s “God Delusion” to some rather odd beliefs indeed. Many people form some sort of compromise. Like the concepts expressed by the author in Rethinking Science. Some become Atheists simply because the ideas of God that they see make no sense. What kind of belief can we form that makes sense to our experience of the world? And that, my friends, is the key to our experience of life.
First, we should touch on belief. Belief is essentially a story we tell ourselves about “how it is”. We hold beliefs or ideas about almost everything. Our neighbor, our boss, politics, race, and of course God. Even if you think you have no beliefs, that too is a belief. This is due quite simply to the nature of the mind. When the mind is dominant, it tells a story about everything. It is never satisfied to simply leave something as it is. On the evolutionary path as a seeker, the question becomes do you believe in the stories of the mind? When we wake up from the ego, the grip of the mind is lost and sooner or later, we stop paying the mind so much heed. It shifts to being the tool rather than the leader.
The next point to touch on is the nature of how we perceive the world. Before awaking, there are 2 dominant modes of perception. What I’ll call the personal and the impersonal. This is reflected in the 2 hemispheres of the brain. When mind is dominant, we see the world impersonally, left brain. We see the laws of nature as mechanistic and the world as a machine. This is the scientific perspective. Much less obvious in western culture is another world view, the personal. In the personal, the heart is dominant. The world is seen in what we may consider a more creative, right brained way.
When perception is more refined, the heart driven perception reveals a different mechanism of the world. The laws of nature are seen as life forms and everything we see done is being done. From the growing of plants to the curing of concrete, everything is performed. You will have heard many names for such doers – angels, devas, fairies, and so on. You may laugh. And there is a lot of trash ideas in this arena. But its no less real than the science that has taken us to the moon. Perhaps not real to you, but real to others. This is why so many believe in such things. I note many have had experiences but are reticent to share them in our left-brain dominant world. Indeed, if you say you experience light beings everywhere, you may end up in a psych ward.
By the way, feeling values are so important to ideas like law of attraction because thats what doers respond to. If you don’t have the ‘worker bees’ onside, nothing gets done.
Neither mode of perception is “better” than the other. They are simply 2 modes. Each has its own advantages. For example, what better way to understand nature than to have a conversation with it. Mind you, much of nature considers such conception games pointless. (laughs)
At some point, you will be able to switch modes as required. If you allow for it. If you refuse to allow for such things, you will not perceive it. I’m not suggesting belief is required, just the acceptance of the possibility. Then what is will prove itself.
Now, back to the question of God. In the same way, God can be experienced in the personal and the impersonal. The impersonal we know as the deep unmanifest silence. The restful alertness that pervades all things. Many of a more intellectual bent are much more comfortable with ideas of God like this.
The personal form of God appears to us in the context of our reality and culture. Maharishi Mahesh Yogi described it as the highest ideal we can conceive. In the west, we are more prone to see something like Jesus. In India, a form like Krisna or Shiva. Indeed, in India people have a choice of who to favour. Do they prefer an embodiment of love, or a god of war? The form does not matter. It is simply the vehicle to the One and the way for us to relate to the godhead. Without form, how would we interact?
The sage Shankara explored this question and referred to 6 forms of God. The impersonal and 5 manifest forms that reflect key aspects of fundamental expression. This is an excellent lesson in understanding the most fundamental principles of existence. All other forms are derived from the 5. Thats another article…
Back to the question of belief. If we study human evolution in higher “states” of consciousness, we find a common thread. A state typically referred to as God Realization. Now some teachings pause after the first waking. They consider awakening from the ego to be the goal. But really, this is just the beginning.
There is a progressive opening of consciousness, punctuated by 2 primary wakings. Concurrently, there is a progressive refinement of perception, revealing aspects of existence not previously seen. The refinement can begin well before the first awakening but may not. God Realization is typically explained as a stage of awakening between first and second, between loss of the ego and Unity. Personal God is seen as the bridge to Unity. However, in the west, there has been a recent trend for people to go straight to the second waking and pick up God Realization later. This may partly be due to our culture and partly due to diet and the way we take care of our bodies, the vehicles of perception.
The point though is that at some point in human evolution, God is no longer a question of belief. God becomes increasingly obvious. We literally see the light of life in everything. The world glows gold. One day, you meet, face to face.
That’s not an experience everyone is comfortable with right away. I know people who took years to accept what they were experiencing. Especially if they are western intellectuals. (laughs)
There is every possible variation on this experience. For the highly intellectual, they may never develop a relationship. But they will come to it in some way, perhaps favoring the impersonal. For the heart driven path, they may care little for the impersonal and bask deeply in the love of God. Many of us will be some blend.
In the end, we find that all this debate about belief in the idea of God to be rather amusing. Ideas about God arise within God. Indeed we are an idea of God, not God an idea of us. Part of the waking process is getting the process right. Waking from the illusory causality. That is the real God Delusion.