Part I. PRESENTATION OF THE UNIVERSAL SEARCH
How can anyone look at our world as it exists today and not see that individually and as a race, man is searching for something he cannot put adequately into words. If one looks beneath the obvious manifestations of western culture represented in its consumerism, information technology and vast array of religious pursuits, there lies a drive so primal and basic to the human condition, that it cannot be pacified by anything short of Reality Itself. Many successful people have testified that although once believing that financial success would bring them to a state of tranquility, peace and inner satisfaction, they found themselves shattered by the truth that money did not give them a sense of fulfillment they had expected. Basic psychology teaches that when a person does not have a sense of identity that is based in reality, that person will try to acquire a sense of identity through what they possess, by the respect or acclaim they garner from people or maybe through their education or profession. The need to be “somebody” in the eyes of the world is the driving force behind so much of the political, business, and even religious scenes, that as one proceeds up the ladder of success, there are always the inevitable encounters with those of formidable ambition, people with a stronger desire for self-realization through temporal success. The obvious question begs to be asked, “If the drive for self-identity cannot be satisfied through material, professional or social success, what dis-ease continues to drives us down such paths of futility?” The answer is a simple one. Being in a state of un-enlightenment, our intellect seeks to meet the “identity need” with an identity of its own creation. Psychology calls this mentally fabricated identity “the ego”. It is essentially a false self, which is to say, an idea structure that simulates identity. For years psychiatrists have tried to solve the problems of the ego, believing it to be part of the natural structure of the personality. As little as 15 years ago, there was a significant shift in the treatment of mental disorders with the realization that the “ego” in fact did not exist except as a concept in the mind. So for decades, respected Doctors have been diligently treating a phantom of our own creation. Every person with an addictive habit knows that there is something in them that drives them to do what they really don’t want to do. The problem with this phantom self is that it is not a real identity and never will be. Unfortunately, this “false egoic identity” is not the real deal, so there is no real meeting of the need to KNOW who you are. There is always the sense that something is missing. The intellect’s answer is to keep adding to the Ego, prestige, possessions, clothes, houses, cars, education, degrees etc until maybe there is sense that you are finally completely yourself. Surely then peace will follow. Impossible.
Until one asks and answers for themselves the question “Who is God?” , there can be no lasting peace, tranquility or rest for the soul. The real search for the TRUE self actually begins with the realization that all the activity of ego yields nothing. When the mental structures that support the egoic identity begin to disintegrate, ie., the business fails, the marriage goes awry, the stock market crashes, then the opportunity presents itself for the breaking out of a prison of false beliefs. Or maybe you are one of the fortunate ones whose sensitivity for spiritual things allows you to not be so attached to the structures of egoic identity, precluding the necessity of suffering their destruction. There is a reason we must first ask the question “Who is God?” before be can understand who we are”. Unless we understand the essence or basis of our being, our attempts to understand who we are will always result in a judgment of what appears before our eyes. The road then to Self-Realization is via God–Realization, for one cannot understand the who and why of themselves until they know the Source of themselves. The same way an adult who, as an adopted child, may feel the need to discover the identity of their natural parents in order to bring a foundation to their sense of identity, so we come to know who we are by knowing from whence we came and of whom. This reality is so simple and basic to humanity that only a gentle nudge in the direction of reason exposes the mask of false identity for what it is and more importantly, liberates our pursuit of Ultimate Reality from the treadmill of egoic insanity to soar the heavens of Infinite knowing .
So we begin here, with the notion that the rest, peace and tranquility of soul we all seek is known only in the discovery of who we really are, and the discovery of who we are is known in the discovery of God our Source. Well, isn’t the search for God what religion is all about? Well, if the words of Jesus are any indication, it would seem that religion is more about what God is NOT and Never Will Be. Herein lies the reason why you alone must ask and answer the question of who God is. The scripture declares that “they shall all know Me from the least to the greatest saith the Lord”. The discovery of God is made within the heart, not by joining a group. Religion, while serving a purpose that will be discussed a little later, can do nothing more that create concepts about God. These concepts develop into doctrines, dogmas, rites and rituals that all seem necessary within context to one another, but have absolutely no value except as potential pointers to Reality. One need only acknowledge the endless schisms in doctrinal belief among religions to conclude that what is offered among most is a “salvation by concept” rather that a wholeness created by a restored sense of Oneness with our Source. If I espouse and repeat certain doctrinal beliefs, then I am promised the eternal reward of avoiding the endless torment of loving God. Of course, the espoused beliefs change according to what group I am seeking salvation through. What could possibly be the purpose of such a system of seeming nonsense? Quite a good one really. Have you ever asked the question “ If God is all powerful, why does He allow bad things to happen?” As a Pastor, many times I was confronted with situations that seemed to fly in the face of my teaching about God’s goodness. I remember standing beside the hospital bed of the seventeen year old girl, the daughter of one of our faithful church families. She had been struck by a sudden aneurism that left her brain dead. The family was “believing” for her immediate healing and the tangible “presence” of God was felt by all who were there. I was praying and declaring her healing when very quietly within my heart I heard the words, “this Presence is to comfort because of her death” . I was stopped in mid sentence and could not believe what I was hearing. Two days later, this beautiful young girl was declared dead. What sense is to be made of this? Being brought up in the faith movement of Christianity, the event was easily explained as one in which no one present was able to operate in enough faith to heal the young girl. But, if God fore knew that no one would have enough faith, why did He allow that thing to happen? Is He omnipotent or not? Is God omnipresent or not? The answer to this dilemma is again so simple that the religious intellect finds it uninteresting. It may be reduced to one word, contradistinction. That is, the delineation of what something is, is made by the revealing of what it is not. Said simply, I really only know light when I have experienced it against the delineation of its absence, darkness. As a little boy, I was told always to tell the truth, and the truth meant I would always tell things exactly as they were. I could repeat that doctrine quite well to the delight of my Sunday school teachers. Then it happened that, as a nine year-old boy ,I wanted to join a group of somewhat older boy scouts who were camping in an open wooded field behind my house. I went to the boys and asked if I could join them. They said sure, but first you have to go through the initiation rite. They then proceeded to sexually abuse me. I was then thrown out of the camp, amidst laughing and scorn. After that time, I knew what the truth was in a way I could have never known before, because I had experienced the lie. That is not to say that even that experience kept me from lying under pressure, but I can say that I have experienced a deeper anguish in my “sin” because I know that a lie is what God is not and never can be. The book of Romans declares that creation was subjected to vanity or corruption in hope. In other words, God had a purpose in bringing the world into its tangible form in time, exposing it to the forces of polarity and opposites. The most famous example of this polarization is in the Garden of Eden and is known as the tree of the knowledge of Good and Evil. You’ll recall Adam and Eve were apparently told to abstain from this tree of polarity, but ignoring the warning, decided it would be much better for themselves to be the judges of good and evil rather than depend on God/Life. Today the church is still eating from the same tree, concerning itself with the polarities of Good and Evil despite the fact that the Law of Life is the Law of Liberty, governed only by Love. But what is the purpose of the presence of Good and Evil in the earth? Again, why do seeming “bad” things happen? Like it or not, we are living in a world that is confirming Life. Life confirming itself through the activity of contradistinction, making know what is True of God by making a distinction in what is contrary to God. If I can look deeply into a scene of poverty, I can see that God is not lack and never will be. If I can look past the visible scene if sickness, I see that God is health and only health. If I can look past the scene of someone’s anger toward me, I can see a God who is accepting and gentle toward all. If I can look, and then look again, I may see that around me every day are situations and people whose lives are pointing to the incomparable attributes of God through every type of life event. Looking past the death of the 17 year old girl, I saw the reality of endless Life. Looking past the abuse of myself as a child, I see a God who will never misuse me or reject me. Does this mean that this world is just perfect the way it is, with all its sickness and degradation? There is no rightness or wrongness in it. It simply Is as it Is. It is certain that it will not remain in its present state, but changing the world does not begin by focusing on the worlds problems. Its problems will be present until we see past the problems to the what they are pointing to. Beginning with God’s omnipresence, omnipotence, omniscience, and omni-action, and moving on to the discovery of our own identity as nothing less than that which proceeds from His very essence, we find that God confirms life, ending the need for continuous contradistinction. When we have surrendered to the reality that we are not separate beings from God, but in fact extensions of God’s own field of Awareness in our world, then we cease from our own labors and enter in His rest. This, dear reader, is the putting off of the Old Man spoken of by the Apostle Paul. This is the laying down of the false identity, the surrender of the phantom self, and the unveiling of true identity as projected through the uniqueness of a perspective shaped by your history and life circumstance. Now, finally, the answer to the question as to why we have religion. By providing the absurd variety of supposed methods for an apparent return to God, by contradistinction, one can see that indeed, you have never been separated from God, and are this moment, at the core of your being, One with Him.