Posted by: Marie | May 30, 2011

(552) The God thing – Part 2 of 5

Post #552
[Private journal entry written on Wednesday, December 15, 2010 about a conversation between my therapist and me – continued from previous post]

———————–

Edward: If I remember correctly, you also mentioned in your email that you ordered the books I suggested.

Me: Yes, I did. And, I’ve received three of the four books. I’ve received “Return of the Bird Tribes” and two of the “Conversations with God” books. I’ve quickly looked them over and, at first glance, I think they are going to provide valuable insight, given where I am currently in my spiritual journey.

Edward: I want to make sure you know I am in no way asserting these books are authoritative sources. I have no reason to persuade you to believe any particular way. I have no desire to cause you to believe the same as me, or to take on someone else’s truth.

Instead, I’m hoping these books might provide some language for you around what you already know to be true.

Me: I am clear on your intentions. And, just from the little bit I’ve read, I’ve already gained some valuable new insights. That’s a good way to describe it – I’m gaining vocabulary for what I already know is true.

I glanced through the “Return of the Bird Tribes” book. I quickly discovered that it is a book that needs to be read thoughtfully and that it needs to be read starting from the beginning. While flipping through it, it felt like I had been dropped into the middle of a story – it didn’t make any sense. So, I’ll need to be more methodical in my study of that book.

I also cracked open the first volume of the “Conversations with God” books. I started with the first volume because it centers on personal and individual topics. I guess the second book deals with world matters and the third book is about the entire realm of God. It seems the first book is a good place for me to start.

[Editorial note: The “Conversations with God” books capture a series of conversations a man named Neale Donald Walsch believes he had with God. These non-fiction books are written in conversational format.]

I haven’t sat down to really read the first volume, but I have flipped through the first 20 or so pages. I read enough excerpts to know this book is going to be valuable to me and to the defining of my spiritual beliefs. The little bit I read really resonated with me – I think the discovery process this book would facilitate could be life-changing for me.

Edward: Can you give me an idea of the types of things you read that resonate with you?

Photo by Martin Chen

Me: Well, for example, the book says that God talks to us through feelings, through thoughts and through words. The most effective form of communication is through feelings and we should trust our feelings because they most accurately capture and express truth.

We, as a human race, have made a habit of distrusting our own feelings about God and spiritual matters when our experience is at odds with the written Word of God. The written word is the least reliable and effective form of communication, so why would we trust it over our own experience? It seems our own feelings would more accurately indicate the truth, or at least what is true for each of us as individuals.

So, really, it becomes a matter of discerning the underlying source of our experiences. And, I like how the book says what comes from God is that which we experience as joy – defined as highest thought – and truth – defined as the clearest words – and love, which is defined by the grandest feeling.

That really hit home for me.

Edward: So, let me see if I understand you correctly . . . you believe that God can – and does – communicate directly with you?

Me: When I look at it the way the book describes it, then yes, I can buy into the idea that God communicates with me directly – that he is already “talking” to me on a daily basis. I guess the part I’m still not sure about is if the communication is a two-way street – does he hear me? Do my prayers affect anything?

The Science of Mind doctrine teaches that God – or the universe – always say yes. The book supports that idea as well. The difference is that, under the Science of Mind teaching, we have to “do it right” – we have to ask for the good things the right way, otherwise we don’t receive the good things. This is the main issue I have with the Science of Mind doctrine – having to know how to do it “the right way” doesn’t resonate with me. I think it is much simpler than that.

Edward: Do you think prayer is always about asking for something?

Me: Oh, no . . . not at all. In fact, the book touched on that a little bit . . . it states that a “correct” prayer is one of gratitude, not of supplication. My gut says that is true, but my logical brain is a bit fuzzy on how that would be applied practically.

I also read that an important element of prayer is the sponsoring thought behind our prayers . . .

According to the book, our purpose for being here on earth is to remember and recreate who we already are at our core. So, it is appropriate for our prayers to be consistent with that purpose. If the sponsoring thought behind our prayers is a desire to create an easy life, that sponsoring thought, and the resulting prayers, might not be in alignment with our life purpose. Therefore, it seems those prayers would not be effective.

But, I’m still working my way through this matter . . . I haven’t figured it out yet.

Edward: What else in the book resonated with you?

Me: I was struck by the idea that our parents give us our primary definition of “love”. That love is necessarily conditional because our parents are human – humans love conditionally. We believe that God loves the same way, that his love is also conditional. It is a challenge for us to shift our beliefs on this matter.

And, I have believed for the last 20 years that all paths to God – all religions – are valid. I have noticed that they all teach the same core principals of love and respect . . . the book supports this idea that all paths lead to God, as well.

The part of these first 20 or so pages that most impacted me is the assertion that holy scripts such as the Bible are not authoritative sources but rather documentation of people’s highly individualized experiences of God. Those experiences are unique to the person, unique to the culture, unique to the time period . . .

Different people will experience God differently. One person’s experience of God – or the experience of a group of people – should not set a standard of how God should be experienced by others. The fact their experiences are written down – and the fact the documents name themselves absolute authorities – does not make the documents authoritative sources.

I agree that we have handed off to others the responsibility to determine our individual experience of God, despite the fact God has given us feelings and impressions and the ability to think as a way to determine our own experience.

It is a bit shocking to my system to hear other people – other people as in this author, and allegedly even God – state that the Bible is not the ultimate authority on spiritual truths. I’ve been saying that for 20 years. But, saying that still feels so blasphemous to me.

(Laughing a bit) I still have a little bit of fear that God might strike me dead for daring to voice my agreement!

Edward: Well, please take comfort in the fact that many other people believe the same – and they are still alive.

Me: Well, the people who wrote the Bible are dead. But, at least, the people who are writing enlightening books like this one haven’t yet been struck down!

Edward: (Smiling) Yes, Mr. Walch is definitely still very much alive!

[Continued in the next post . . . ]


Responses

  1. I’m interested in how this conversation is developing. I’m impressed that Edward is able to help you put words to this part of your experience.

  2. oops stuffed up my comments subscription

    • Hey, Evan –

      I like that Edward can ask questions that allow me to come up with my own answers . . . it seems he must be walking a tight rope, but he makes it look easy!

      – Marie

  3. It’s easy if you are interested in helping the client sort out their stuff and not just agreeing with you. Which means getting your ego out the way as a therapist – which Edward seems superb at doing – and which is not always easy.


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