An Overview: Intimacy through Identity
“I am THAT, you are THAT, all this is THAT.” If I am THAT, as the Upanishads long ago unwaveringly stated, then I am mysteriously a part of the great mystery that is God. I have an absolute and astonishing share in the infinite and eternal. In trying to shed some light on the mystery, the ancient writer said, “Not what the tongue speaks, but that by which the tongue speaks, THAT IS GOD....Not what the mind conceives, but that by which the mind conceives, THAT IS GOD.” Whatever I know or love or do is not as important as that BY WHICH I experience any of these. So then, THAT is simply that by which I am. God is the light by which I know and love and do. God is my consciousness. It is THAT-GOD in which we live and have our being and becoming. Direct knowledge of the Absolute Being can be had only by direct union. Such a union gives each of us an identity with God creating an intimacy that will take forever to realize.
What God is is an incomprehensible mystery. It baffles the mind trying to explain or grasp His/Her/Its Reality. But now, I too, am baffled by what I really am. As with God, there is so much about myself that I cannot comprehend.
Not knowing can be sublime, for I am greater than I ever thought I could be! All is grander than what I thought possible. Recognizing such a grand mystery that embraces me brings unspeakable peace and joy into my life. Thought could not get me there, only unquestioning direct experience. It’s an interior realization that’s uncompromising. A psychic force is released that carries beyond the intellectual, and I cannot tell how I got there. It allows me to sink into a conviction, a certainty that puts to rest all searching.
I like to recite a prayer, with the first line borrowed from the Bible and the last from St. Catherine of Genoa, that touches upon what I really am: “Be still and know that I am God. Be still my will, and know no doubt, that God is becoming myself. Myself is becoming all things. All things are mine as they merge in me. My me is God, nor do I recognize any other me, except my God Himself.”
I cannot fully know what I am, but I do know without dispute that I AM. The emphasis is on existence, on being. That being is the source of my consciousness and the springboard of my love. It is “living water,” a power that springs up to life eternal permanently ending thirst. It is a psychic force that enables me to make sense of the world and allows me to say, “All is well.” Peace lies in being.
God is a vast mystery. As many have said, God cannot be known, but He can be loved. Since my life is so bound up with God, I cannot be fully known either. But I can love in a way surpassing what I have experienced because of the new interior conviction that I also am God. Love has less to do with understanding than with respecting the mystery. Applied to the human level, it means respecting the mystery of the other. We have to allow the individual, indwelling mystery to unfold, whether in another or in myself.
Acceptance of what is can be difficult. Acceptance doesn’t mean approval; it’s granting reality it’s inevitable way. It means meeting each happening unframed, that is, without representation from the past or expectation for the future. Going a step further is to say, “I need what happens to me.” Seeing it that way may be the wisest thing I can do. It is “going with the flow.”
What is often missed about faith is its human dimension. Faith requires engagement, trust and commitment. We naturally use these in our occupation and in our love life, but seem unaware of the role we need to give them in matters of faith. These factors comprise a singular experience and depend on one thing: the will. I need to ask myself whether I have the will to be involved in such an action of giving myself. The will centers the complete person and carries into the heart. Is my mind sturdy enough to survive living in my heart? Where do I choose to live? The universe is no wider than the heart. The heart is our home. If the heart is where one’s life is, he or she can always be and work at home.
Hearing about God from others holds us in check until our own creative psychic force releases and we can trust our own exploratory ventures. Each of us is a spiritual embryo, having a teacher within as part of our nature. We all are young spiritually. “Have no fear” appears hundreds of times in the Bible. God wants me to be self-reliant and trust my ability to work things out. Trusting my own wisdom brings control over my life. I revere God’s gift of mind and will and therefore respect the integrity of my own nature which He gave to be my controlling and directing agent. This creative psychic force transports us beyond the merely intellectual to the essential spiritual food needed for nourishment and growth. Independence is not static but a continuous conquest. Everyone gets to heaven his or her own way.
I have to find and declare what and where God is. He will hardly appear to me as a Father in the sky. God can reveal Himself only in terms of my reaction to his revelation.
Watching and listening are not enough. Seeking answers from others without trusting our inborn resources blocks us from internal sureness and cuts back our freedom. Trust in the inner self is the foundation of self-reliance. Each must create in himself the organizing principles for directing his life. Inner order is necessary to find our identity and to see meaning in existence. We grow by experimenting and doing. We cannot grow in needed independence unless we feel secure. Reason alone is not enough. Involvement sprung by the will taps energy that produces the vitality to develop our own creative nature. Our misty consciousness becomes clear and directed like never before. Seeking our own core of energy and satisfaction is the key that unlocks our own achievement pattern. My strength is within; I must believe in and trust myself. That road is paved for me when I realize that my life was known before I was born.
The source deep within each of us that allows knowing and loving is rooted in God. Can there be a more intimate bond? Such an intimacy is to be explored eternally for it is greater than seeing God. I know myself, but also I don’t know myself. I know God, but also I don’t know God. Much awaits us all.
As Jesus promised, “Believe me,...you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem....the hour...is now here when real worshippers will worship the Father in Spirit and truth,” (John 4:21-23). Jesus is not contrasting external worship with internal worship. It is the Spirit of God that worships God in us, the Spirit IN US AS US
Early Christian writers had the conviction of their Oneness with the Spirit: “The Spirit too comes to help us in our weakness. For when we cannot choose words in order to pray properly, the Spirit himself expresses our pleas in a way that could never be put into words, and God who knows everything in our hearts knows perfectly well what he means, and that the pleas of the saints expressed by the Spirit are according to the mind of God,” (Romans 8:26-27).
These writings are a challenge to our limited understanding of the nature of Spirit for Spirit occupies no space or time. I regard this as a classical acknowledgment that God and I are one. It appears that this identity of God with me is clear and a pinnacle of Christian revelation.
The mysterious will of God congeals in the human will to become a creative power. Self-realization and God-realization are one. We become ourselves by discovering, creating and being satisfied with ourselves.
There is no God and I. God manifests as individual being. God is me. I am God, not as He is, but as I am. Being comes before doing, and Being is One. Only a transcendent completely Other can be immanent without being changed by the becoming of that in which it lives. The nature of the One Supreme Reality dwelling in me and in all cannot be known from someone else. It must be known by one’s own spiritual perception.
Existence uncovered is Absolute Bliss Consciousness. And so, THAT is what I am. My I.D. is illumined doing.
In pure consciousness insights appear. In pure consciousness the I disappears. Perpetual inspiration comes from sources beyond the personal self. And the means are human goodness leading to love. Your life is not all yours; it is the delegated harmony of God. Love helps us get beyond the impasse of God’s transcendence and immanence that we can never fully understand. God is personal as well as supra-personal.
When I want and seek, I am making myself the center. When I love, there is no center in me, for the witness has become the lover.
God needs us to love us. Loving is God’s nature. In turn, God’s imprint in each of us is the need to love.
Anything I do requires the cooperation of the universe I live in. Anything includes everything else. We have to work things out together: God, neighbor and me.
“The man who has faith in me will perform the same works I perform. In fact, he will perform far greater than these” (John 14:12). Do I know that I can and perhaps already do perform works greater than Christ’s? We have Jesus’ own words for it.
God cannot do anything that would not benefit me. Who says so? I must be willing to say so. Nobody can do for me what I must do for myself.
Myself becomes all things. All things are mine as they merge in me. To be is to be God.
I need to perceive God without images, without comparison, without a medium. I must get to that emptiness, that being beyond description, beyond all categories. It’s where the mind must plunge to be dissolved, to be called beyond itself. To perceive Him without a medium I must become Him and He must become me. This “He” and this “I” become one “Is.” and this is-ness eternally performs one work. What I love is God, Father, Unbegotten, and I who love is God, Son, Begotten. In loving I am God. Can I meet every situation, everything that arises in my life, with Love? Stories of myself and others play out in my mind. Can I let the story of the world, of the universe, play out in me?
We keep trying to understand what happens to us and around us, which results in putting our own meaning on people, things and events. Unfortunately, the effect is to make us fearful. While the effort at meaning is necessary, for our own peace we also need to see if a broader base can better explain the situation. Any passionate interest absorbs the mind and governs subsequent decisions. If we can let go of our interpretations we could overcome fear.
Fear is not part of my nature, but awareness and love are part of my very being. So if I fear, it means I have not brought loving and witnessing to perfection, to their own fulfillment. The opposite of love is not hate but fear, the fear of losing love.
Trust can play a huge part in restoring equilibrium. Trust is not a belief but an experience that comes from relinquishing the mind’s dividing and overriding tendency. Everything is and happening. Consciousness needs nothing to exist but itself. Space/consciousness is self-supporting. We need to trust that we can get to that level, that higher ground that sees things as they really are without our spin on them. When I am afraid, a reminder from Jesus uplifts me so that I don’t need to be frightened: “Not a sparrow falls to the ground without your Father knowing it. Why, the very hairs of your head are numbered. You don’t need to be afraid. You are more valuable than hundreds of sparrows,” (Matthew 10: 28-31).
All is one. So life and death are not two, war and peace are not two. Both items are one unfolding mystery. It is not difficult to see how “two” and “one” exist together. We live as many nations on several continents but only in one world. I have five fingers on one hand. Many organs live in my one body. Two concentric circles have one and the same center. The planet earth and the Milky Way illustrate the point dramatically. What seems to be two distant and separate realities are part of one and the same galaxy, the Milky Way. When I first read Ramana Maharshi’s statement, I thought it was contradictory: “The world is illusory: God alone is real, God is the world.” I later realized the whole quotation must be accepted as it is, for the way things appear may not be the way they really are. An example from religion shows how spirits can be one. Jesus said, “The Father is greater than I,” and “The Father and I are one.”
While we live simultaneously in “two” worlds and “one” world, it is love that can bring the two together. Love has less to do with understanding than with respecting the mystery of the other. Love may not “like everyone,” but love supports accepting and respecting the humanness of another. The more we can allow the individual, indwelling mystery to unfold—whether in another or myself—the more we love, even without understanding it. God is unfolding in each of us. “Love and need are one”—Robert Frost. Love is the cause of everything, from our begetting to our unfolding. Love unlocks the Mystery. I AM. What am I? I AM LOVE.
It is not easy to let the dreams of the intellect die at the doorstep of the heart. Is my mind sturdy enough to survive living in my heart? In one way or another that is the question everyone of us has to answer. Do I choose love above all else or not? The history of the suffering of the world from time immemorial shows what the answer has been. “He who does not love does not know God,” (John 1:4:8). God is ever moving us to greater love, to undivided Oneness.
Nothing is ever done without the notion that it is good for someone or something. Even murder is seen as beneficial, however perverted the perpetrator.
I was privileged to see the laid-back approach of a woman I admired who exuded love from her very being. She found within herself that which fills the other’s inner lack—how he or she craves love—and addresses that in the other. In her own quiet way she saw the hurt and removed whatever threatens the other person. She found a way of tapping a power in herself to let her own loving compassion go out from her. She lived out in her own way her conviction that spirit does not take up any time or space. Love just goes out to the other to accept the other as another self.
Life is the effortless awakening into the infinite. On a more personal level, life is the discovery of what we really are which is God uncovering Himself as us. God is not someone or something out there but our very energy and consciousness. An earlier published poem, “If I were God,” puts it this way:
If I were God creating me,
Nothing would I withhold,
“No more can I give you,
My all into yourself enfold.”
God grants everything I need. I must take ownership of what is mine, and acknowledge that life is a process of growing in my own power. My truth makes me stronger and so I must discover it.
How do I know that I am one with God? When I seek only the good, doing the loving thing. Growing in love is a lifelong journey. Allowing ourselves to love and grow eventually removes all fear, even the fear of making mistakes.
Do I want the Whole or just a part? I can get the “point” of something and miss the “all.” The Whole is ours when we free our consciousness from the tyranny of the mind, and the divine and the human become one. The dualist mind tends to want a God “out there.” We cannot conceive of God being unified with our inner soul, assuming that we are not enough. The ”separated self” is the source of anxiety and the cycle of fear begins. In seeking God to alleviate this alienation, we’ve missed the truth that God is us becoming real. The purpose of the soul is to manifest both God and each of us in a unique way.
Regarding God, the worshiper says, “I am Yours;” the theologian says, “You are mine;” the mystic says, “We are one.” As long as we are conscious of a separate self, that is an obstacle to higher realization. I need to ask, “What is my realization of God?” All objects as well as all knowledge are either temporary or eternal. Nothing can be absolutely real unless it lasts forever. Rising to higher consciousness of reality is not a matter of thought but of experience. I must see (experience) what works for me. Any method that works is right. God realization and self realization are the same. All is One, God in all.
Once I know I am THAT, I need to uncover HOW I am THAT. The inquisitor wants what is it’s own. And the honest inquisitor knows there must be a connection between the life as he lives it with what is greater than himself. There has to be an expansion of self, of one’s own consciousness. What must be avoided is separating one’s self from what one encounters. If all is One, we must not make separate entities of subject and object. The answer must be found within as it is not an object out there. The method has to be self-discovery or it wouldn’t be one’s own. And wanting to be better he asks, “What is a good that I can do in my life as I live it?” Each must uncover for him/herself how to connect with what makes him/her One with the All. Once found, there will be a positive direction in his/her life.
I think the simple answer is that unless one comes from love, understanding will always be deficient. Understanding is a part of love, for that all-embracing passion longs to know in the fullest sense the thing relished. Only when the object is fully possessed will it be fully known. The intellect can feast only after interest and desire have brought to its table the food to be consumed. One has to believe in the power of love, which comes from the realization that the heart is a transforming force. Steeped in love (goodness), whatever vocation one chooses will profit him as well as the universe. It could be as simple as honest work done for his own good, his family and his community. It may be in any field he finds available. Or he may choose to be a lifelong learner to ever grow in common sense and discretion in one or many areas. She may choose the path of loving devotion for someone or for something. Yet another path is that of concentration and meditation, of rising to ever higher levels of consciousness.
It has been demonstrated that prayer works whether one believes in God or not. It’s a matter of one person doing something good for another. Some have said that if we knew how prayer works and how well, we would pray more and longer.
God’s sensitivities=God’s incarnations.
In this study of Intimacy through Identity, we must pursue Oneness to its radical conclusion. There is no God and another. There is no God and me. Such would be absolute duality. If I see God as separate from me, I am affirming duality. There is only God expressed as particular being. I can truly say I am God, as can every other creature. What is God? God is the only “I” for all creation. God is the life of the individual. There is but one universal “I,” and everyone is it. God is the being of everything. To think otherwise is to put limits on God. It is easier to “see” if we let love guide us. When we love something or especially someone, we know how important that subject is to us. It expands my own being to the extent of decreasing all else. Everything hides God until we find a way to make things transparent, which then opens them to our viewing. Love is the requirement which the world needs for it to be seen as it is. God’s works were made to serve love, and so reality belongs more to the heart than to the mind. What Jesus taught was not something out there and separate from myself. He was talking about the truth of my own being. The voice of the Kingdom sounds in everyone. Divine consciousness in everyone awaits its uncovering. To find what God is, I have to find what I am.
The experience of God is an individual one. It is singular and personal. The realization of God must come as an individual experience, as an uncovering within. God is what I am. To reveal God I must discover what I am. I must be unwilling to accept any authority outside of my own interior revelation. God is my life, my very being. True spirituality is an organic part of my daily life, not something dispensed by others however well-intentioned. True spirituality is a liberation from delusions of any kind, founded on the indispensable fact that “I AM.” Jesus’ use of “I AM” in the Synoptic Gospels and especially the frequency He uses it in John demonstrate how He sees himself and how He reproduces Himself in us. God’s dwelling in us gives a greater intimacy than seeing God. Each one of us is a unique son or daughter of God. I cannot become aware of anything outside the realm of my own mind. God is the core of each and everything.
The grand Mystery that we live in is always amazing to me. There is so much I know, yet far more to be discovered. The secrets we have uncovered about our universe beckons us go ever further.
I love to meditate on the wonders of what all this means. It affirms that God is always present everywhere all the time, a kind of perpetual incarnation. For the world it is a kind of physical presence, as spirit weds all that is. It enabled me to sit comfortably in the “two worlds” of spirit and matter now made One.
It also highlights the sensitivity of God to let Himself be soul and substance of all that is. “I am God, you are God, all this is God.”
Since nothing is enough until I am enough, the only thing that can satisfy me is direct and personal experience of what I am. “That art Thou” of the Upanishads needs also to be seen and experienced as I AM, for all is One.
In the pursuit of radical Oneness, I have borrowed from and expanded on the three excellent works of Joel S. Goldsmith: PRACTICING THE PRESENCE; THE ART OF MEDITATION; LIVING THE INFINITE WAY. In his Introduction to the first book he says they “reveal all that has happened to me in my entire spiritual career, and not only to me but to all those who have been taught in this way, whether by me or by any other spiritual teacher on this particular path.”
I do not write to give my opinion or to say what to do. I write to give the opinions and actions of many so that the reader can make up her own mind and do what she thinks best. The uniqueness of each of us is always to be respected.