On Knowing God

photo from Microsoft Office Image

We see our elders, teachers, leaders, and experts as providers of knowledge. I agree, at least in the role they have played in our lives. But I dare say that the least person we would consider as a source of knowledge is ourselves. This is telling, and we have since disempowered ourselves by believing it our entire lives. And we remain ignorant of our true self. It is awful to see that we avoid countless opportunities of getting in touch with this true knowledge. “Not to know is bad; not to wish to know is worse” says a Nigerian proverb. No wonder Jesus told us first to find God within us – it is our first step. The second one is to know what we have found, even if it is the most challenging to do in our lives.

I am the Truth. Jesus strikingly emphasized the second Agape principle because “The truth shall set you free” (John 8:32). For freedom, truth and knowledge are but different forms of the same essence. Knowing God within us can be very difficult, let alone treacherous. Peeling away the layers of lies of our unworthiness could bring tremendous agony to our minds. Only by unlearning the truth can truth be known. We can only begin by becoming true to ourselves. This is the step to knowing God.

How can we know God’s truth? “Be still and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10). Prayer, meditation, silence, quiet time are just few of various definitions we ascribe to stillness. But more than just pausing from work, it is more of pausing the spirit. We do not need to fast for 40 days and nights; the only thing we need is a genuine commitment to a sacred moment of listening and feeling the God in us, here in his temple and his kingdom.  In this stillness, we confront the mystery we are often afraid to face. This is the realm of the unknown, of fears and of doubts; they are potent forces that stir up our desire to know.

We can start by learning the two pathways to knowing God. First is the external knowledge, which governs our reasoning and intellect. It is the knowledge through which our physical world and material reality are studied. We have all our sciences and philosophies to prove that. These are tools to discover the multiplicity of knowledge. Through them we become aware that God is revealed in different forms from diverse faiths. But it has caused us unnecessary conflicts. The knowledge of God we always know have become a standard to dictate what is truth, which makes others’ truth invalid. We have gone to do atrocious acts against our neighbors in the name of “our truth”. In doing so, we have forgotten God’s truth as it is truly revealed.

…in every person, God’s truth of Love is found.

Internal knowledge, which reveals our intuition and feeling, is the forgotten pathway. It is the tool to know God beneath the illusory surface of life. Despite many “truths”,  our internal knowledge reveals us that they are all connected by one truth. We know this truth in our humanity, our true desire to care and uplift our neighbor. It is the truth that Jesus told us in many ways, echoed in his ultimate commandment: Love. And this is not the Love with typified forms. This is the Love without any conditions. It is Agape in pure power, unbound and unconditional.

photo by PhotoXpress.com

By knowing Love and our capacity for it as God’s ultimate truth leads us to become omnipotent and omniscient in our own right. Because Love knows no boundaries, our knowledge becomes power, as inspired by a famous phrase. “Love your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and with all your strenght and with all your mind; and Love your neighbor as you Love yourself” (Luke 10:27). With this knowledge of Love, we discern God’s truth by Loving him, and Loving him means knowing that we are Love. With this power to Love, we discern our brothers and sisters’ deepest yearnings of Loving and being Loved more. In the heart of our sacred longings, this is the only profound truth that we must know. This is the noblest path of Knowing God: knowing ourselves. The Greek philosopher Socrates, who said “Know Thyself”, was not just playing paradoxes. Knowing oneself is indeed knowing God. Because in every person, God’s truth of Love is found.

“And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever—the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept [God], because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.” (John 14:17). That may sound abstract to most of us, but that truth is Love that lives within us. In this days when what is so-called “truth” is being bent, subdued and suppressed, truth of Love stays true in our hearts and its time to rise has come. Richard Bach’s wise seagull in his children’s book There’s No Such Place as Far Away""put it simply: “But remember that not being known doesn’t stop the truth from being true.” God reveals us the truth—we have to know that we are Love. It continues to be an eternal truth. There is no more truer than that.

Next: On Becoming God

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