Many folks including myself struggle with a word or words that accurately define the force that is life. Personally, I struggle a bit with the term God because despite the fairly generic nature of the word it does have some very strong connections with certain religions, particularly Christianity. I do not have a problem with Christianity or any other religion, but i do not want to imply that i am a member of any particular denomination.
In my younger decades i took the position that formal religion(s) were inaccurate. I have always resisted rules and that was my excuse for shying from religion. I have matured beyond those ideas. In fact, the opposite is true. ALL religions are correct in their fundamentals. They all preach love and the splendid side effects of love. In my opinion, it would be prudent to leave it at that. Love is always the answer. But as humans, we have a difficult time doing so. We want bells and whistles. If religion was an automobile, we want every possible option available.
The fact is that we as humans prefer to complicate things. We gravitate towards extra bells and whistles. So the fact that love could be the beginning of and the sum of all things seems too easy for most of us. So,.. we heap on to that notion and bury the idea of love under rituals and temples and hierarchy. We build giant churches and symbols of our faith. We created rules to define us. As a young student of many religions, one of my very first observations was that the Christian Ten Commandments were nearly identical to the Buddhist Precepts. It seems that letting love be the answer is not enough for us as beings. We feel the need to prove our faith, which is fine,.. but if each of us becomes our faith (love) we will no doubt lose them urge to prove anything.
Side note: I always struggled with religious texts that defined the rules until, i changed my perception of these texts to think of them as metaphorical stories than rule books.
What i finally realized in my exploration of formal religions was that all faiths are correct but at the same time all are limiting. In my opinion, formal religions are like the school system that teaches us the fundamentals. But once we graduate from the basics, formal religion leaves us without an essential component. Experience. Reading books and listening to teachers and stories about our faith are all great tools to learn. But just as with the school system, there is no substitute for experience. Life itself offers these experiences. So i concluded that religion is a beautiful tool, but for me, it was a bit limiting and overcomplicated. Once again, there is nothing wrong with the frills of any religion, but i prefer the minimalist version.
So,.. what do i call my god or higher power rot driving force? At 49 years old after decades of spirituality the truth is, i still do not have an term. The word that i use to describe the force that animates me as a being changes based upon my audience. I very much like how the native peoples think off and refer to god as “the great spirit”. I also used the word “God” for simplicity to people who know i am not a Christian. “Source” is a word that feels pretty good to describe a higher power as well. I have realized that it is not important what i call it as long as i get my point across. In fact, it is only my ego that cares how i refer to god.
As a younger man i always considered myself as a sort of individual being. I thought of myself and all individuals as sort of independent rovers traveling the earth. Deep down i always knew this was not the reality. Deep down i knew I was not a completely independent being.
As I realized that i am a part of nature rather than a being who is visiting nature, i slowly be an to realize that all things are one. Just like all of the cells in my body make up me as a being, all known things in this universe are one entity. I think of the entire universe as a sort of ocean filled with countless individual components. God/source/the great spirit are the ocean and all of the creatures and components within that ocean are one. We all belong to the source. If one fish becomes sick and dies it affects the entire sea in some way. If one reef or eco system flourishes, it too affects the entire sea. We, all creatures in the universe/ocean of life are all interconnected. If we look for this simple truth, it is not hard to find.
We are one. We are each god. In pages that follow, i will spend a great deal of time discussing our source. So, here is the question; What is the force that animates all beings? Can we define it in any way? Are words able to define such a thing? If so, i often struggle to find them.