Tuesday, February 07, 2012

The One Without

In my last post, I wrote about how I've arrived at this point of thinking that hearing from and responding to God is it. The point. Thanks to those of you who engaged in conversation with me about that.  I said that I would put some thoughts together on what exactly it means and looks like to hear God in my next post, so that's what I'm going to attempt to do here.  As always, I would love to hear your thoughts...especially as I feel like I'm in kind of strange territory here.

Let me just define my terms (or rather, term) to begin.  When I'm talking about God, the one we hear, I'm talking about a specific God.  I am not referring to a generic spirit, a source of energy or power, or a force in the universe.  I would venture to say that when people talk about this more general or overarching supernatural being, they tend to view the being as part of and inseparable from everything.  So, for example, if I think of God as energy, I might think of that energy as being everywhere.  Around me, in me, in you--part of everything, and indistinguishable from anything.   I think that--as the world has taken on a more secular flavor--the concept of God has not disappeared so much as blended into this idea of an energy that is everywhere.  However, I think that this is a mistake.  To buy into this idea that the point of life itself is to hear from and respond to God necessitates that we think of God as other.  As separate from ourselves.

I want to be clear.  I do believe that God created everything.  I believe that he is eternal, omni-everything, etc.  And he holds all things together.  So, in some ways, God is a part of everything.  But he is separate from us.  I am me.  God is god.

Why is this important, you ask?  Well, I think that hearing God is simply being able to recognize thoughts, ideas, and inspirations within our minds that are from without.  I think that if we start paying attention to the "without" moments in our minds and in our lives, we will see God.  And we will hear him.  Let me try and explain this (have I lost everyone yet?)

The easiest way for me to explain what I think are "without" moments are instances of what we normally call inspiration.  There is a reason we call the most amazing things in life (great art, music, literature, etc.) "inspired".  I think every artist, musician, and writer could tell you of times when they have surprised themselves with the things that they produce.  Sure, they would tell you that they spend countless hours honing their craft by building their skill level.  But there is a point at which skill plateaus, and I think that to get from skilled to great there is a leap of inspiration that needs to happen.  There is something that meets the artist or the musician or the writer from without, and it catapults what is happening to a whole new level.  Have you experienced this?  I do not consider myself an artist or really even a writer, but even I have had these moments when I look back at what I created and realize that part of that just did not come from my brain.  There was something else happening there.

I also think there is something to the idea of intuition.  Many of us have experienced moments in our lives when we knew something that we shouldn't have known.  In my mind, these are clear examples of One who is from "without".

So, how do we hear from God?  Well, I think we begin paying attention to our lives and trying to find these "without" moments.  Maybe we collect them, put them in our pockets and wiggle them around with our fingers.  And then we ask God, the one who is without, what he wants us to know about these things.  And I think that at that point, we'll be able to hear the answer.

Let me know what you hear.

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