Saturday, January 19, 2008

Reaching The Source of All Creation

Most of us feel that there is a source or creator or God or ultimate order to life. Connecting to this for some of us, is fleeting, takes effort and may even be something we think very little about. How do YOU connect with the spirit within you? How often do you connect? How does this connection effect your life?

A Vietnamese spiritual leader, Ching Hai, touches on this by answering the following:

Q: What is the first step one must take toward reaching God?

A: We must pray that if God exists, please guide me, please help me. And stick to your religion and pray to that religious head that you believe in to help you. If you're Christian, pray to God, pray to Jesus, Santa Maria. If you're Buddhist, pray to Buddha, to Bodhisattvas, Quan Yin Bodhisattva, Amitabha Buddha, etc., to help you. That's the first step.

The second step is, we must lead a virtuous life as prescribed in the Bible and in the Buddhist scriptures or in any other religious scriptures. I haven't seen any major religion which teaches people to do bad things. So follow your own religious ethic, as the second step.

The third step is, we must find someone, and very importantly, who has known God, who has realized God, to show us something, to share with us the wealth that he or she has got. Just like if we want to speak English, what is the first step? Prepare the money for it, so that the teacher will accept you and then go and find a teacher -- one who can speak English. If you find one who speaks Spanish, then no good. It's very easy.

What do YOU think?

Molly Brogan


Philip Harris said...

The question implies that the connection with the All is not continuous but a fuction of our wanting to connect. Is a flame not connected to its candle? We are always connected, regardless of our perceptions. We simple need to aware of what is and not try to create something that cannot be-a disconnect. it is not a question of reaching God-there is no place that is not God. The religious approach is the very long way around-as witnessed by history. Connecting is as easy as openning ones eyes and seeing rightly. Those who have followed the dogma od religious texts have fallen very short of living a virtuous life. While the 'way" is found in those texts-so many have been led astray by their leaders.

RubyShooZ said...

For me connecting to the "spirit", the source within me begins with me going inside myself and meditating on what I find there. The more I meditate the more I find and the more I can and do connect.

So many people spend their time trying to connect with something outside themselves - looking for that quick - feel-good fix. It doesn't work that way for me. I take what comes, as it comes and work with acceptance of it - of myself and go from there...or stay there!

Peace, love and understanding.

Christine Vyrnon said...

Along the lines of both comments above, my understanding of god is the collective consciousness... which does know and see and do and create everything and Evolves! There are numerous ways to tap into this, but they all seem to contain becoming more Aware, more Present and less violent to oneself. Religions of the past have served their purpose. They are burning themselves out and hopefully after the fire, or such as the internal fire one creates through yoga/meditation, we will keep the gold, or whatever is precious and let the other old definitions of god sleep peacefully.

Finding a teacher is difficult especially if one doesn't find it useful to learn only one school of thought. Too many teachers, of all stripes, teach "my way or the highway" and that gets us no where. A good teacher, imo, basically does nothing... or trains us to tap into our own desire to know. We must learn that the best teacher is found within and in everything. Ultimately, we decide what is worthy of knowing by knowing ourselves.

Globoin said...

While I have never read more of Ching Hai that you supplied, it sounds
to me like he has a good start. There are several universally
recognized values which all religions teacher - perhaps prompting the
question of how they are related. Neorealism is one answer - but the
idea that a single diety supplied a starting point for all religions,
with man then modifying those truths for lack of understanding or
along cultural lines, is equally possible from an objective point of
view. For me, the work side of Ching Hai's philosohpy is equally
important. Just because something takes work does not invalidate it -
it rather affirms it for those who would argue that religion is a
force to improve people.

I connect with the spirit within by being as sincere as I can in
prayer and working to make myself a better person - according to the
Christian values in which I believe. I find that faith creates AND
accesses a very potent strength wherein God does provide direction.
Scripture study and pondering, journal reflection, and learning from
good books and teachers falls along the same line. For those of the
LDS faith (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints), two
scriptures are particularly relevant: James 1:5-6 (New Testament) says
ask God and sincerely listen for an answer about any wisdom that you
lack; Moroni 10:3-5 (Book of Mormon) makes that offer in particular
about the Book of Mormon. Answers come in the form of the gifts of
the spirit: peace, long-suffering, joy, love, goodness, gentleness,
faith, meekness, temperance.

It is a connection that requires a life time to perfect - because it
is given in relation to our growth (creates AND accesses). So I try
to study and pray daily - and be open for inspiration at any time.

Abdullah Abd' Badi said...

If you find yourself turning again and again towards thoughts of that source
then you are already well on your way, and well suited for the task. That
mode of thinking can lead to a difficult life, outside (in a sense) of the
normal social boundaries. It will, if pursued with an inherent passion,
inevitably lead one to the fringe of whatever social system he/she was born
into. But there, and only there, can one hope to gain the proper
perspective necessary for the experience. Once *tasted* it becomes
something one cannot live without, reinforcing that primary desire and
pushing the mind most strenuously forward towards that priceless aim. You
become immersed in it (a spiritual baptism) and reborn in a way. What
*was*is broken... the first act of any creation.

Anonymous said...

One can connect to Spirit by simply walking in beauty, listening to the silence, living in faith and acting out of love. Then the Spirit, which is always within us, will just flow.

Anonymous said...

When we look, listen, and feel~~~not as a GAME, but~~~when OUR LIFE depends upon it~~~ CONSCIOUSNESS is in the moment, is it not? Take a walk into the woods by yourself~~~and you listen with every fiber of your being:)

Truth is a pathless land and thought is limited.(Krishnamurti) Maybe the first step of the spiritual pilgrim is to respond directly to THAT which has no cause?

Is this violent and dualistic world really a place to call home? Or a make believe dreamworld? The earth an etch~a~sketch? This planet~~~just a shadow temporarily dancing on the wall of Plato's Cave?

All is ONE~~~connected and whole and alive and sacred and~~~ONE, and only a direct relationship with the creative force, the spirit, god~~~call that which 'was and is and always shall be' whatever you will~~~brings sanity and peace to one's being.

No other human being can do the work for you~~~we all must do it ourselves~~~alone.

Lana Gramlich said...

I can't believe in the traditional, external "god" concept. I do believe that All Things Are One, however, & that the potential "god" (or "the devil,") reside in each of us.

Pat said...

Personally, I don't feel the question is "How do I find God?" But "How do I let myself be found by God?" Not "How do I know God?" but "How do I let myself be known by God?" What do I need to do to, how do I need to live in a way that lets God in? I don't believe God is hiding from us. I'm the one who's hiding behind my ego, shame, character defects, fears and wounds-for to be human is to be wounded.

So what to do? A good place to come out of hiding is by being kind. What the Buddhist tradition calls Metta. Start by being kind in thought & action to yourself, then others, the Earth, everything. It takes time & practice (some of what we hide behind can be pretty daunting). But if we keep it simple its doable:hold the door open for someone, say thank you to the bus driver, be really present to a friend. You never know what effect a simple act of kindness will have on someone, but it will put you in a place where its a lot easier for God to find you.

And I prefer spiritual guides to teachers. Guides can show me the way, maybe give some direction. But ultimately the decision as to which path to take is my own. Also I've found that the less I hide from God, the more guides get sent my way...but usually not in the aspect I was expecting ;-)

Molly Brogan said...

If, when you say, not hiding from God, means not being seperate from God, then I agree. When we are moving in spirit, it is reflected in the world around us - and the people around us. I love what you say about kindness. This is so essential.

Pat said...

Yup,the less hiding/separating from God the better. And with those spiritual guides that keep showing up now...I think they were always showing up, I just wasn't in a place where I could see them.

Something else I've been experiencing more of the less I "hide" is what I call God Moments. Its difficult to quantify, but essentially its when I become very aware of God's presence in surprising, unexpected, and sometimes difficult ways. For example:

A couple of weeks ago during a nasty New England winter storm(the wonderful mix of snow, sleet, rain and my favorite, freezing rain), I took refuge in the large doorway of an office building. Just to gather myself for a minute or two. This guy walked up with a tray of hot drinks from Dunkin Donuts. We commiserated about the weather like all New Englanders do. Then he said "I got an extra hot chocolate by mistake. Here, why don't you have it. It'll just go to waste up in the office". God Moment

While camping in the White Mountains of NH I remember watching a storm moving toward us. Lots of grumbling and flashing. It got louder and more dramatic-trees whipping back and forth, tent lines humming,hardly any time at all between the lightening and the following boom. And when it was almost right on top of us, it just dissipated.God moment.

I work with a division on the public transit system in Boston that provides transportation for people with disabilities(who for whatever reason can't ride the buses and trains) Some of the disabilities are physical, some emotional, some mental. There are they aren't at their best(nor am I) and they get all up in my face or act out from anger, fear, pain, frustration, loneliness-in short we're all being human. There is a split second in the interaction where I have to make a choice. Do I engage from a place of compassion and love? Or from a place of frustration and impatience? God Moment.

I believe God Moments happen to us all the time. We just aren't always available. Good thing God keeps trying, eh? :-)

Roy said...

Mmmm.. some really good comment. The Sufi sage Hazrat Inayat Khan wrote:
"If you will go forward to find Us, We will come forward to receive you."

Bill said...

I have had the experience of the wilderness ( voyaging on the ocean) which has influenced how I understand the world and the creative role of the arts.In answer to your question I would suggest that terminology is both a tool to understanding and also by its nature a box that limits our potential for ever understanding the big picture. So for me, I try to live my life lightly, touching but not holding on to definitions and understandings. Martin Buber said that Grace comes to us unbidden, and it is up to us to meet it . Life is all about
stepping into relationship. That was my experience on long ocean passages and I continue with this mindset as I live my life and create my imagery.