God Is Beyond the Realm of the Mind
You may ask this most difficult question: “how do I find God?” For someone who is accustomed to thinking critically, the leap to believing in God is a difficult one. You cannot reach God by thinking, wondering, and reasoning. Enlightenment transcends all learning.
Understanding God and understanding how to reach God are products of faith. You find God by devout contemplation, not through your mind’s reasoning. The mind makes inferences and imagines, but God is not inferable and imaginable. Because the mind is finite, it cannot contemplate the Infinite Being. But if you push your mind out of the way, you might find God’s most innate essence.
Where is God?
We assign God the best human and natural attributes, but God is beyond attributions. But you may find God in the laughter of your children; the grief of a friend; the opening of forsythias after a long winter; a covering of snow; or the noisy joyfulness of birds and wind. God’s altar is everywhere and is everything. Engage God through immersing yourself in His creations; You’ll find that God is self-evident.
You have every reason to be optimistic about becoming enlightened. Given the miracle of your being, which came from non-being, the journey to becoming shouldn’t be too difficult. Because God has imprinted on you at birth, everyone can rekindle the Holy Spirit within.
The Epiphany Will Change Your Life
Eventually, your epiphany will come. It will be either in a revelation, in which you’ll be spiritually enlightened during a quantum leap of faith, as if God had touched you, or (more commonly) that will come through a slow, organic process of building faithfulness by the steady cultivation of your godly qualities—wooing God by following His footsteps. Once there is no space between you and God, you will be hit by enlightenment. You will find that you sense God and He breathes in you. You’ll be gripped by the meaning of your existence.
You still may be interested in visiting wonderful places, you may yearn for beautiful things and people, but once you find the supremacy of God—the distilled essence of love—the ardor for all other longings ends. You will find serenity, not by adding more things to your life, but by subtracting your desire for them. Faith will be your ultimate wealth.
Living in the Now
Once you’re delivered from the world of mind made concepts, you’re also emancipated from the confinements of time and place.
People who are future-focused tend to be prone to anxiety. Regardless of whether the anticipated event is a pleasant one, such as a wedding, or an unpleasant one, such as a biopsy, it generates anxiety. You don’t need to worry about the future or obsess and recycle your anticipatory thoughts again and again. When you are in communion with God, the future will be taken care of. “don’t ever worry about tomorrow,” the Bible says (Matthew 6: 34-see below)
On the other hand, people who are past-focused tend to be prone to depression. You don’t need to ruminate about the past, dwell obsessively upon or recycle your regrets, punish yourself for things you have done or failed to do, or perpetuate a litany of anger and resentment towards people in your past. The Bible says, “don’t look back.” (Genesis 19: 17)
Your greatest burden is feeling alone in anticipation of the future or in coming to terms with the past. As long as there is a space between you and God, you are alone. But you can bear any pain, any deprivation, any suffering, if you don’t have to bear it alone. When you achieve communion with God, you won’t experience the past and future as separate from the present. In this mystical union, all locations cease to exist; the space between you and everything else disappears. Existence becomes a seamless continuity. And with this divine disillusion, your anxieties and worries end. You feel an amazing sense of lightness, as if an enormous burden has been lifted from your shoulders. In fact, it has been.
As your lungs need pure air, your soul needs pure spirit.
Breathe in the Holy Spirit Through Worship.
Worship is not a time and place specific activity, it need not involve attending services, following rituals, or participating in religious ceremonies and duties. Worshipping God is a way of being—all the time and everywhere. Worship is carried out in all activities, whether you are driving a bus, cleaning dishes, playing with your children, making love to your spouse, or doing nothing. In fact, your every heartbeat should remind you of God’s presence. In return, you resonate with God’s spirit with every breath that you take. The Bible says, “the Kingdom of God is within you” (Luke 17: 21-see below).
The religious person believes in God; the worshipper loves God. Being religious is being obedient and faithful. Being a worshipper of “the known God” is joyful. God remains unknown to Him or her who believes in God but does not love him. The Bible says, “so love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.” (Mark 12: 30)
Worship is joyful submission and faithful surrender, not an organized atrophy or a social sedation; it taps our deepest spiritual energies. Joyful submission is not a “will to perish.” It is witnessing eternal Infinity. Faithful surrender is not a religious act, a doctrinal compliance, a defeat of autonomy, an acceptance of weakness, or a declaration of helplessness. It is faithful harboring in God and trusting His love and benevolence.
Neither is faithful surrender a self-mortification or resignation to external events. Surrender infuses you with the power of God and gives you the spiritual energy to find ways out of or through difficult life circumstances. Worship stops you from playing God and allows you to accept God’s will.
When you believe in and love God, you offer and surrender yourself to Him to be freed from your personal bondage. But selfish offering and loving surrender aren’t forms of giving up your responsibilities. If anything, they expand your commitments. They are the acceptance of the divine order. Worship brings peaceful coexistence with your friends, coworkers, and family members. You won’t need to pull and push other people or maneuver or manipulate circumstances. Consequently, you won’t be disliked, feared, defended against, or fought with; rather you’ll be liked and assisted in your goals. In communion with God and in loving His other fellows, there is no need for polarization in relationships, such as being in control versus being controlled; dominating versus being dominated. Worship brings you freedom from these depleting conflicts and enables you to preserve your energy to serve your mission better.
Breathe in the Holy Spirit Through Prayer
Prayer is a means to one goal: being with God. Don’t pray to be rich, or successful, or to own things or to achieve worldly accomplishments. God doesn’t tune In to these frequencies. People who remain in a childhood relationship with their parents, one in which they express wishes and demands to be granted, may replicate that pattern with God. God has higher expectations from His adult children.
Even praying about your health may be self-serving. For example, should you ask God to cure your cancer or heart ailment? Should you pray to God to end the suffering of a friend or for peace on earth? These seem to be selfless and innocent prayers. Actually, these prayers assume that God isn’t aware of or doesn’t care about suffering or world conflicts, and that He needs your prayers to be prompted or persuaded to do a good deed. But God knows everything, cares about everything, and does exactly what must be done. To pray that God should stop these events is grandiose and presumptuous.
You might rightly ask, “how then do I pray? If I cannot pray for self-interested, mundane, or altruistic purposes, then what do I pray for?” it is difficult to answer these questions if you associate prayer with requests. But is it easier to answer if you think of prayer as contemplation. You can meditate on godly values. For example, you may ask, “how can I be a more loving and compassionate person?” Or you can just still your mind and let the answer blossom in the silence.
Prayer is the language of the soul that seeks the Holy Spirit. In contemplating God, you need to stop all discursive thinking and distracting moods and bring your mind to a total standstill. This will pave the path to reflective presence with God. In the purest prayer you express your longings to encounter God without seeking God’s favor or invoking God for selfish demands. The best prayer is an expression of gratefulness, independent of life circumstances; you contemplate how to achieve something—not wish that it be granted. In prayer God meets you from within.
If your present life is empty of any holy purpose and even if you are far from deserving of being saved, pray to redeem yourself by seeking faith. God will pour Himself into your emptiness when you are ready.
The Outward Evidence of Prayer
Pray with all your facilities, not only with words and the silences, but by your behavior and your very being. Worshipping God isn’t an activity isolated from the rest of your life. Words are abstract contemplations; action is the concrete manifestation of your faith. The outer company you keep is a place of social holiness—a place to reenact your prayers. If you want to speak with God, you first have to speak with people; if you want to work with God, you first have to work with people.
All Or None: The Nature of Faith
You cannot be a part time, “quantified” believer. Some people become believers when they are in trouble. They or a loved one may be ill; they may have suffered certain losses and tragedies. Such “rainy day believing” tends to be inauthentic, especially if the person reverts to indifference after the crisis is resolved.
You cannot be a “qualified” believer either. Some people qualify God’s scope: “I believe in the creator but not in eternity.” “I believe in compassion, but not for everyone.” Such conditional belief is not belief in God. You need to believe in God totally, all the time, everywhere, and in every circumstance.
Spiritual knowledge—holy wisdom—is obtained by seeking union with God. The Spirit gives nothing to you until you give everything to Him. God says, “when you look for me, you will find me. When you wholeheartedly seek me, I will let you find me.” (Jeremiah 29: 13) then you will be offered the purpose of your life; your holy purpose. Be a holy asker; the answers will come.
For more in-depth discussion of some of the thoughts presented here, read:
Unlocking Contemplative Meditation
A Spiritual Expert’s Private Thoughts on Meditation
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For who knows a person’s thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. (1 Corinthians 2:11)
Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matthew 6: 34)
Nor will people say, ‘Here it is,’ or ‘There it is,’ because the kingdom of God is in your midst.” (Luke 17: 21)
The Spirit of Happiness by T. Byram Karasu, M.D.
Image by Piro