Lotus of the Heart > Path of Spirit > Transforming the God Image

 
 

The Disappearing of Your God... Leaving God for God

Nov 12, 2021


An Ecstatic Silence (See... No Speech)

An Ecstatic Silence (See... No Speech)

Old Orchard Beach, ME

"God-image" implies any representation, internal or external, mental or material, of God; it also speaks of a collective of representations of God. No God-image exists alone. "God" is only one of many ways of pointing to the Sacred, and the use of "God" does not resonate with many persons. Yet, to be consistent with the opening story, I use "God" throughout this writing and trust the reader to render that as they choose most benefits them.

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A student felt his devotion to God was waning. He said, "I feel like God has dissolved into thin air. I keep trying to return to that prior belief and connection but seem unable. Possibly, I have betrayed my faith." The Sage said, "You are not losing God; you are losing your God. Let your God go - the sooner, the better. The withdrawal of your God is the same as God drawing nearer to you."

*Brian K. Wilcox. "Meetings with an Anonymous Sage."

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The Sage sees "your God" and "God" are not the same. He does not discourage devotion to "your God." "Your God" is a beginning for many persons and a good one. In that devotion, one can find a basis to grow in wisdom and intelligence.

One may fear leaving their "God" would mean disloyalty to God. Instead, loyalty to God allows one to let go of one's "God" for God.

One following a path of religious devotion need not rush letting go of their God-image. Letting go is like a dissolving of something or a ripe fruit falling from a tree. This transformation is developmental and happens naturally, as long as one cooperates and, to an extent, despite the lack of cooperation.

As long as one postures the will for this transformation from the God-image to God, it will be successful. One may resist, yet the heart can remain directed to the end, meaning the transformation. One may, at some point, decide in favor of the God-image, putting up an internal stop sign, which hinders but does not necessarily derail the change. God has a way of working with resistance, resistance becoming fuel for the fire of transformation. Still, most persons refuse to let go of their God-image, especially for they have not been part of a collective that encourages or educates in this kind of transformation. This does not mean these persons do not enjoy God, but it implies the limitations of such a myopic worldview.

I have known many wonderful beings who have loved and served God, yet without insight into how to allow a movement out of the narrow confines of their cultural and religious heritage. They did not even know it is possible; if they longed for it, they were not given the permission or language to recognize the longing or seek a resolution.

I remember many of these kind souls who were dear to me in my childhood and youth. We lived together in a fundamentalist religious church and community. Through these beings, I was introduced to God despite the limitations inherent in the worldview. These dear ones remind me the heart knows the truth, even when the mind does not recognize it, and the mouth does not know how to speak it. The mind can be a captive, the heart cannot. I choose to write and speak to help others know about this transformation from God-image to God, having seen the unfairness of how religious groups often fail devotees in this regard, this longing. Every being has an innate right to be encouraged and guided to know God as fully as possible.

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One can see two things in this development from God-image to God. First, one is not losing or rejecting God; one is receiving more of God by releasing ideas of what they have been taught God is and must be. Even the atheist, agnostic, or nontheist can be assisted by letting go of their God-image. As a lay practitioner of the Buddhist way (Dharma), I can see how many Buddhists are myopic in their criticism of persons who believe in God. Theists are not the only ones needing to have their God-image challenged. Fundamentalism, including its attachment to its delusional thinking, comes in many forms, some claiming to be open-minded to truth. A trick of delusion is seen in the deluded pointing the finger at others seen to be duped. It takes courage to be intellectually honest about how opposing we can be to truth appearing as truth.

Second, I am not suggesting we can ever be free of all ideas of God or that we should be. Even when growing outside our preconceptions of God, such images can assist in further growth into God. As long as we think, views of God, whether we believe in God or not, will be in the mindstream. The process we speak of today is not an emptying of the mindstream of all God-images but detachment from them. In detachment, concepts can arise and be utilized to encourage a sense of devotion, yet one knows such images are signifiers, no more God than a stop sign stops. And one discovers that they may be most open to the Sacred when no thought of God is held in mind or expectation to experience God.

In my own life experience, studying and practicing Buddhism helped me work with the God-images I received, including understanding their limitations. I found the transition from attachment to the religious images of my childhood and youth an oft painful one. Yet, it has been enriching. I cannot go back, nor need I, to clinging to the "God" of my past. And, when one is going through this process, I encourage a spiritual teacher or guide to assist one through a season that can be painful and challenging at times.

To move from attachment to a God-image to God, this is a subtle path, and there are various potential pitfalls. Possibly, few will say yes to this transformation. Yet, to love God deeply, one will face the decision to say no or yes to the invitation. Blessed are those who say yes. And wise are those who allow themselves to be companioned by someone who has taken the path prior and experienced the broadness of the other side of the narrow passage.

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Ironically, utilizing imagery from Christian Scripture, our God must be crucified for the resurrection of God - God as God. This is death into life, not death into death. We undergo this transformation and resurrection. Whom we thought ourselves to be is one with whom we thought God to be. The death of one is the death of the other; the resurrection of one is that of the other. We are not mere spectators in this holy event. In welcoming God to be God, we welcome ourselves to be ourselves. Experiencing who God is means experiencing who you are. You arise into a new life when God manifests - God unveiled of what you believed God to be, and you unveiled of what you thought yourself to be. Is this your desire?

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* Brian K. Wilcox, 2021

*Brian's book, An Ache for Union: Poems on Oneness with God through Love, can be ordered through major online booksellers or the publisher AuthorHouse.

 

Lotus of the Heart > Path of Spirit > Transforming the God Image

©Brian Wilcox 2021