As kids we used to fantasize seeing God. We did it in many ways, like having an imaginary friend. We talked to God and smiled at him and imagine that he was just around. It seems a childish thing to do in our grown-up years, and this is why only a few of us continue to do it. Many of us detest the idea that there is God, after all the crisis, problems and tragedies we had in our lives. Where was God really in those times?, we asked. God did not show up, and we felt dejected and forsaken. Perhaps there is a God but ignores us or there is really no God at all. Despite all these, no one has ever seen God. But most people continue to believe that one day they can find him.
God would not reveal himself until we begin to find him beyond physical form. For God is not a singular physical presence. He is the image and likeness that is present in all of us. As we recognize the existence of our brothers and sisters, God becomes a witness through us . In this space we find God in the experience of Love that we give to ourselves and to our fellow human beings.
I am the way. This is our first Agape principle. Through each of us Love is manifested and God is ultimately found. We are God’s way of becoming present and real in the physical world. “Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and everything shall be added unto you” (Matthew 6:33). Where is this kingdom? “The kingdom of God is within you” (Luke 17:21) In God’s abode within ourselves we can find the rich treasures of life, all of which are manifestations of Love. Through our physical bodies, Love can flow and reach out in an all-embracing experience. It is not surprising that Jesus taught us the first step. The way to God is our way of Love. “He who does not Love does not know God, for God is Love” (I John 4:8). God is found in our willingness to Love.
God is found in our willingness to Love.
Ask anyone you know who believe in God about God’s whereabouts. The first gesture you will see is when they point their index fingers up in the sky. It is always a common answer. Because we picture heaven or kingdom of God as somewhere unreachable, far away from where we are. But only a few of us dare to point our fingers in our hearts. That is because we cannot stand the idea of finding God within us. If Jesus told us that God’s abode is inside of us, why do we keep on putting God outside of us? Because we believe we don’t deserve that truth. We end up rejecting ourselves, and thus we are lost as God is also lost in that illusion of unworthiness.
We can reach God again. In fact, we can always reach him. We can reimagine our friendship with him, and begin to talk to him like how spiritual teacher Neale Donald Walsch did in his books. When we find God inside of us, we can easily find him in everyone and everything. Religion scholar Stephen Mitchell presented in his book, The Gospel According to Jesus, how Jesus shared us that God’s kingdom is just in front of us. It is revealed in every mustard seed that grows into mustard leaves for our food, in the yeast that leavens our bread, in the treasure buried in the fields, in the precious pearls in the hands of a merchant, in a scribe who finds treasure in the old and new. They sound like metaphors, but when we look closer, they tell us that every little and mundane thing in our lives is but God’s image we often ignore. Until we find God’s sacredness in every profane, God remains elusive.
Finding our way to God is not an easy task. “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only few find it” (Matthew 7:13-14). It is not easy to find ourselves back in the labyrinth of our inner spirit. The easier and wider road is often a way to find God and Love in the midst of the material and physical, but they all dissolve into nothingness. The unseen and untouchable God is only ever-present in our hearts, even if the way inside it is a narrow and perilous uncharted region. We will find different obstacles that reveal us all of our inequities and unworthiness. But our journey leads us in the very center of Love within us.
“But when you pray, go to your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” (Matthew 6:6) This room is what the Sufis refer to as the “inner chambers of your heart.” It is within your heart that God reveals himself. It is in discovering this mystery of Love in our hearts that makes God real. At last, we have found our way back to God. We have found our way back home. We have found our way back to Love.
Next: On Knowing God