facing our gods

Posted on April 7, 2012

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FACING OUR MANY MANY GODS

We call ourselves a culture and religion of one, and only one, God. But I propose that we may be one of the more pluralistic cultures in the world when it comes to our gods.

But here is the thing; our gods are smarter than we are, they are cunning and sly like a fox.

My gods, that I’m beginning to see, are largely hidden neatly beneath the surface of our lives, out of sight… out of mind…

I hear you.

“What the heck is he talkin’ about?”

“I serve ONE God and none other”

“Thou shalt put no other Gods before me”

“For I am a jealous God”

“I am an atheist, I don’t believe in God”

I hear you, loud and clear.

These are some of the same voices that arise within me.

These are the same challenges and queries I have put forth to my Inner Teacher, my Inner Light, as my eyes began to open.

What am I talking about when I say “God” or “god”?

I guess the dictionary is a good place to start. Here is one from Meriam-Webster (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/god)

definition of god:

1 capitalized : the supreme or ultimate reality: as a : the Being perfect in power, wisdom, and goodness who is worshipped as creator and ruler of the universe b Christian Science : the incorporeal divine Principle ruling over all as eternal Spirit : infinite Mind

2: a being or object believed to have more than natural attributes and powers and to require human worship; specifically : one controlling a particular aspect or part of reality

3: a person or thing of supreme value

4: a powerful ruler

So what i am proposing is that we tend say “I worship One God”. And yes, we do, worship, IN WORD, One God. But, IN DEED, we have many many gods.

Sometimes: Our gods are invisible… to others

Sometimes: Our gods are invisible… to ourselves!

Sometimes: Our gods are invisible… although we are conscious of them.

Sometimes: We are conscious of them and willing to face them.

Sometimes: We are conscious of them but unwilling to face them.

Sometimes: Our gods are invisible… and we are totally unconscious and unaware of them,

as they exist in our subconscious,

… beneath the surface of our conscious lives

… raising havoc in our conscious lives.

Often, our gods are so cunning that we simply do not See them

… without doing the inner work opening our eyes, of going deeper,

… the inner work of discernment

… and the courage to face our gods.

What is “ultimate” in our lives?

What is it that drives our lives?

What is it that we base our whole lives on?

What is it that we worship, that gets our undivided attention?

What is it that we bow to?

What is most important?

These are straight forward questions when we look at the surface.

But these are slippery questions when we peal back the layers and look below the surface.

How do we uncover those cunning and sly gods that have usurped the position of being ultimate in our lives?

“A person will worship something — have no doubt about that. We may think our tribute is paid in secret in the dark recesses of our hearts — but it will come out. That which dominates our imaginations and our thoughts will determine our lives, and character. Therefore, it behooves us to be careful what we worship, for what we are worshiping we are becoming.”  (Ralph Waldo Emerson)

For me, as usual, it is the questions, the deeper life queries, that best guide me.

DEEDS:

What do I spend most of my time doing?

If I laid out my schedule and assigned percentages to the time I spend doing what I do, what would that look like?

Wouldn’t our priorities impact our activities throughout the day?

And wouldn’t those priorities reflect what I worship and believe in as ultimate and absolute?

THOUGHTS:

What do I spend most of my time worrying about?

What desires occupy my mind most of the day?

When I observe my racing, monkey-mind, what do those constant thoughts tell me about my gods?

WORDS:

Do my words align with my actions? Or am I all talk when it comes to what is of ultimate concern in my life (i.e., that which I worship)

Do the things I say I believe reflect what everyone else sees in my life?

INTEGRITY:

Does my ROLE align with my SOUL?

Am I who I say I am?

Am I who I think I am?

LISTENING AND WAITING ON GOD:

Do I listen, in total silence, to God?

How much time each day do I wait on God, in silence, in sustained listening to God?

In light of this, who or what do I worship… really?

No one can answer these question about me, except for me.

No one can every try, except me.

I can even choose to ignore the ultimate driving forces in my life if I choose.

It is a lot easier to turn away from what is beneath the surface

… than to face the gods and the monsters in the murky waters deep in my soul.

I propose that human nature tends toward that which is easier and most comfortable; which creates its own god of comfortableness.

In those clear moments, when I can See, I find that many of my gods reflect what is preached to me in the media and driven by our culture:

comfortableness, certainty, security, personal peace, affluence, possessions,

creating my identity by my possessions or accomplishments.

I am also beginning to See that much of what we do in our religions and churches are simply reflections of those gods also.

We create programs within the safety of walls and time limitations so we do not have to take great risk to our person peace in order to “love” and serve God.

We hire clergy, and pay them, to do the dirty work of loving and reaching out to the undesirables. After all, it is much more comfortable for us to sit on a padded pew and put money in the offering plate than it is to listen to the irritating voice of depression from the single parent three doors down, droning on and on. After all, I have things to do. Isn’t this what we pay the professionals to do?

Who is it that I worship?

In word AND in deed?

Who is it that organized religion worships?

In word AND in deed?

… and the greater question is

are we willing to do the inner work necessary

to uncover and FACE OUR GODS???

FINAL THOUGHT:

Our gods are human constructs.

We conjure them up so that we can live life our own way.

Then we submerge them beneath the surface of our lives,

either hiding them or forgetting about them.

Then we say, “gods? what gods? I worship the one and only God.

There seems to be an issue of integrity in our world, our culture, our communities, and our religions.

A CHALLENGING QUERY:

It seems that there is a tendency toward these things, no matter the religion; whether it is one of the Great Wisdom Traditions of Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, or Hinduism; or whether it is belief systems like Atheism or Agnosticism.

What do you think?

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