The God You Don’t Believe in Doesn’t Exist

I don’t “believe” in God. What I mean by stating to Atheists or those that question the existence of God is that the super hero, long white bearded judgmental God sitting up in heaven doesn’t exist.

God  is far beyond any form we humans have tried to put on him (she or it) The word God has been terribly misunderstood from the beginning of time, in fact the sheer magnitude of the universal divine force defies comprehension of the human mind.

Many religious fundamentalists who claim to be following God’s teachings are simply spewing dogma as a means of controlling people.

God is life itself, beyond all form and ideology, available to all, manifesting as pure love.

I am a spiritual seeker, have been for most of my life. That being said, I have some of the most compelling spiritual conversations with friends who profess to be atheist. Recently I had lunch with one of my atheist friends. He is retired doctor who shared with me that he couldn’t believe in a God that allowed so much of the horrible suffering in children he treated as a pediatrician in his early career. We do however agree that there is a “force” that is greater than we are that just may have created and now sustains the universe.

My true essence could only start to be realized by becoming a spiritual rebel. I had to question the rules of my Jewish heritage in order to come to know a power greater than my small ego. This Self or Soul is the guiding light of my life. It has been the healing force of my life in recovery.

Everyone of us has this “Higher Self” within us that can be experienced typically in moments of deep silence. We each have a unique path home to our soul. Mediation, prayer, quiet time in nature, music and art are some of the ways.

What has been taught by the saints, sages and prophets of all the true religious traditions is that God is Love, simple pure Love that is accessible to each and every one of us.


Reflections on the Positive Effects of Gratitude

I spent much of Thanksgiving this year focused on the multitude of blessings in my life. There is no doubt that gratitude is very good for your health. Countless scientific studies have discovered that an attitude of gratitude is highly beneficial to our mental, physical and spiritual wellbeing. Personally I’ve noticed that simply stopping to think about two or three things I’m grateful for can relieve anxiety and lift a dark mood. In a post I wrote in August I suggested that gratitude is rebellious, how it frees us from our self absorbed egoic attitude of what’s lacking, affording us with the liberating sense of abundance that is our soul’s/higher Self’s true nature.

Among the discoveries in the aforementioned studies on gratitude are: an increase in vitality and energy, improved sleep, more fulfilling relationships, a reduction in physical pain and depressive symptoms along with boosts in careers.

From personal experience I know that gratitude has transformed my life in many ways. I work in a business that is highly competitive and remember times that I would compare my accomplishments to my colleagues and think they were doing so much better than I was. What I’ve come to realize is that by self acceptance and gratitude for what I’ve done and have I experience far greater overall life and career satisfaction.

Gratitude is one of the most effective tools for dispelling negative moods. God’s loving presence can be experienced when we embrace the present moment with gratitude.

Positive psychology suggests that Gratitude is if fact an emotion and scientifically the effects of gratitude can actually be measured.

Years ago I was told that “Thank You”is the most perfect prayer. From personal experience that is absolutely true. The only other prayer that comes close is silence.

In closing I’d like to quote the great Ralph Waldo Emerson: “Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.”

Forgiveness is Rebellious

As I strive to live in a higher state of consciousness, what has come up for me recently is the healing power of forgiveness. I've known for years that resentments of any kind are huge impediments to inner peace.  A new realization about what forgiveness truly is has enabled me to open up to how it works in our lives. To be clear, forgiveness doesn't mean we just "turn the other cheek" or overlook the wrong done to us or what we may have done to ourselves. It's a process in which we take complete responsibility for every aspect of our lives. We see everything and everyone as reflections of ourselves. Coming to this realization takes a willingness to face our victimhood and the courage to transcend the limitation of that mentality.

You may ask why forgiveness is rebellious. Our egos thrive on being victimized and holding on to resentments. Within all of us is an inner guide (rebel) or higher power. Many refer to it as our soul, spirit or God within. Whatever we feel comfortable calling it, I know it exists from personal experience. The process of tuning in to it requires an awareness of the ego's hold on our minds. By becoming more aware, we are rebelling against the ego and the chaos and havoc it so often wreaks.

To live a life of higher consciousness, truth and peace requires a discipline to discern the difference between our ego (lower) mind and our inner guide (higher) mind. I rebel against my ego by actively seeking conscious contact with my higher Self taking regular time for myself in quiet solitude with meditation, contemplation and prayer. To embrace forgiveness is like crossing the bridge from darkness to light, chaos to true peace of mind. We will then find ourselves on the road to a life of true happiness, with a real connection to the wisdom of our inner guide.

*Photo courtesy of Mehosh Photography: http://www.mehosh.com

How meditation can be your ultimate rebellion against a compulsive mind

I’ve been a “meditator’ on and off since I was first introduced to yoga and  meditation at a yoga retreat in 1972 at the age of 18. For the last five years , I’ve been meditating relatively consistently on a daily basis. My most recent realization came to me in a morning meditation reflecting on rebellion. What I realized is that mediation is the means by which we rebel against a mighty tyrant that has been running the show for way too long -- our minds.  What do I mean by "our minds?"

Specifically, I am referring to the compulsive ego-driven mind. That voice that constantly chirps away about ourselves. The voice that tells us how we aren’t or don’t have enough, don’t measure up, we’re too fat or thin, don’t have enough money or recognition. We feel unsatisfied, unappreciated and on and on and on

Meditation affords us the break in that non-stop chatter. We can observe our thinking, realize what’s real and what matters.  As we slow down and become quieter,  a calm serenity washes over us. That chatter no longer controls us. We are free to experience a spiritual reality, our higher selves, God within us.

In truth, it is a daily reprieve. The more we sit quietly allowing the peace that surpasses all understanding, the freer we become from the tyranny of the compulsive ego mind.

For this rebel, who  as a young man thought that rebellion meant a life without discipline, I have come to realize that the discipline of sitting quietly for 25-60 minutes a day is a path to ultimate freedom.

Why does talking about God feel rebellious?

I'm a talker. I talk with people on planes. I enjoy gatherings where conversation is at the center. I am comfortable conversing about pretty much anything including sex, money and politics. But, for most of my life, I haven't been very comfortable talking about God. Somewhere along the line I got the feeling that it's too personal and intimate a topic. And I noticed that most of the people I spend time with -- and they cross a wide range of ages and backgrounds -- are also uncomfortable with bringing God into the conversation.

Sure, it's fine when you're in church or synagogue. But in everyday life, not so much. Yes, you can talk in terms of spirituality, but actually referring to God seems somehow inappropriate.

So I have channeled my inner rebel and am now working at being comfortable about talking about God publicly. And I think it is making me a better person.

When you talk about God, you open up a part of yourself.

You invite connection, and sometimes, skepticism. You make yourself a bit vulnerable to people by making something we generally view as private, public. Essentially, in my view, you get more real. You go deeper into what makes us human.

When you talk about God, you move into a place of respect and love. For most people.

I believe talking about God has gotten very confused. Practitioners of extremist rhetoric -- no matter what the religion -- talk about God all the time. Their words and actions are grounded in the belief that there is only one way to have God in your life, and it's their way. Everyone else is wrong, and they will be punished in this life or the next.

My God doesn't see it that way. My God asks to be treated with respect and love and gives that respect and love right back to me. And my God asks me to treat others the same way.

When you talk about God, you live in your imagination and heart.

For a long time, I did not talk about God because I had too many questions that went unanswered. How could God let so many bad things happen in the world? Why was God punishing me by taking away people I love? Why was this bearded guy on a throne treating women so cruelly?

I could not get beyond my brain. I could not trust what I could not see. I could not use the power of imagination to unleash my heart and soul. I could not get answers because I was talking, not listening. It made me very sad.

So I turned to others to hear their stories. One of the people who moved me was Albert Einstein. I was so intrigued that a genius scientist could have such a clear and public relationship with God. Here is a link to some of his best quotes.

But this one is my favorite:

My religion consists of a humble admiration of the illimitable superior spirit who reveals himself in the slight details we are able to perceive with our frail and feeble mind.

 To talk about God is to exercise our unlimited ability to imagine. To go beyond the "slight details we are able to perceive with our frail and feeble mind." Just like we imagine air and gravity, we imagine God. The unseen becomes real and vital.

We call it faith.

Can you and I talk a bit about God, too? Discussion is open.