Often people wonder about existence of God. We all have been taught that God is good and just. Yet in the middle of all worldly unrest, bloodshed, war, and other evils the first doubt that comes to mind is the existence of this just God who is supposedly good, loving, and kind, yet allows such everyday relentless atrocities. On the other side of the coin are the those who have undying faith who believe that there is a reason for everything and all events that we experience is for a greater good. While it is a very unpalatable explanation for those who are experiencing perils of life, it does seem to be true historically. However looking at the bigger picture is hard to do when pain hits home. Overused clichés’ are used to alleviate suffering. These words of advice though used freely and meant to be helpful often do not improve the situation as it is intended to do so ( ‘live and let live’; ‘let go’; ‘forgive and forget’; ‘turn the other cheek’; ‘just live life do not seek’; ‘go with the flow’; ‘just be happy’; etc.).
So why have these words of advice lost their true value? Is it because we search for this good God outside around us? Is it because we fail to acknowledge this good God within us thus we are not able to know and find the Goodness that is God??
Next question then would be, “How can we find this God within?” “How do we acknowledge and know this God within?”
The answer could possibly be a simple 4 step program. Each step is a foundation for the next one. strengthening each step is important for all other steps to build a stable well-balanced system which will unfold itself into the pure manifestation of the ever-eluding Goodness that is God.
- Step 1: Self-Control of actions. To control our actions we need to have a strong awareness of our body in relationship to our space around us. This awareness is our innate sixth sense which is called proprioception. proprioception sense is not taught we just develop it with maturity. Some develop this innate ability and are able to perform incredible acrobatic feat such as tight-rope walking across the Grand Canyon or awe-inspiring acrobatics. While we may not all have such strong sense of proprioception, we still experience it in simple daily activities such as walking, talking, eating, etc. All these skills we develop are based on proprioception skills. We do not have to think about where our foot is planted to take the next step. This awareness of our body in space is our inner God. The ability to perform these actions without thinking. All of these actions require a sense of equilibrium. When equilibrium is upset the action is disrupted. To maintain equilibrium we need a constant and even flow of internal energy or force. This energy or force is life itself which in and of itself is God. Find this God with developing a strong sense of body-space awareness. Yoga Asanas is proven through ages to develop this awareness or body consciousness by promoting even distribution of energy through out the body via the spine which is the highway for distribution of this life force. Thus promoting good physical health. However in the event that health deteriorates it promotes the ability to recuperate or to cope with the circumstances with a cheerful endurance (Saburi). Cheerful endurance also promotes patience and the ability to ‘go with the flow’ attitude. Go with the flow attitude also triggers a sense of contentment which is the recipe for ‘just be happy’.
- Step 2: Maintaining healthy relationships. As long as we are alive relationships are inevitable. Relationship with a friend, with family, with teachers, with employers, with children, with parents, etc. However the most important one of all which we can never escape is the relationship with ourselves. If we are convinced that this life force and the awareness this force is the essence of presence of God, only then can we develop an obligation or responsibility to develop a strong respectful relationship with ourselves. Only when we are convinced that we ourselves are made in the image of God only then can we be convinced that everyone and everything is also made in the same image. We are thus obligated to treat all relationships with the same respect one would expect for us from ourselves and from others. Thus the advice, “In everything, do unto others what you would have them do to you” (Matthew 7:12), would make most most sense. Development of this mutual respect would thus transcend all barriers of race, color, religion, age, socio-economic status, etc. Everyone and everything deserves the same respect one deserves thus egoistic violence, oppression, vandalism, etc would all seem equally heinous in one’s mind.
- Step 3: Self-Control of thoughts. Every thoughts triggers a feeling, every feeling triggers a physiological response inside the body, and every physiological response triggers an action of the body. The action is only the tip of the ice-berg. Thought triggers a cycle of internal events which is a never-ending cycle of body responses. When the body response is conducive to the environment we are praised and when the body response is aversive we are reprimanded. The cyclical nature of thoughts and actions oscillates between good and bad. Control of thoughts before it triggers a feeling is the essence of meditation. The ability to maintain a neutral state of mind which can be sometimes confused for boredom. However at this state there is complete calmness and balance. One can be ‘comfortable in one’s own skin’ only when one is mindful and conscious of this calm state of mind. When one is comfortable in one’s own skin, one is able to ‘love oneself’. When one love’s oneself ‘one can live and let live’. There is room for all in this vast universe, there is no need to step on each other’s toes.
- Step 4: Developing Non-Judgmental Love. The love with which we interact with our babies or when we interact with our pets is pure with no strings attached. The interaction is completely non-judgemental. Even when after we discipline them, the inner love is not tainted later. It is pure inner love that oozes from the depth of our souls. The love is not tainted with conditions. This love is not for personal physical pleasure. It is just love which keeps on giving. Non-judgemental love does not trigger thoughts of good vs. bad or evil. The creation of God is loved at all time with the same intensity because the love is not egoistic. Only when one develops the same non-judgmental love for everyone including our enemies and those who have wronged us, can we then understand the meaning of ‘unconditional love’. This unconditional love is non-judgemental with a strict condition of mutual respect for all. Mutual respect promotes a symbiotic relationship between all God’s creation.
The 4-step program is the basic foundation of finding the knowledge that is God. Acknowledging the awareness of our existence and the life force that gives each creation its identity is the seed that can grow into a tree of knowledge of God. Each of us has an obligation to find the God within us by being centered, to promote a healthier and happier environment, community, county, earth, and universe.