May 2, 2016
I was lying in bed last night, and I started to think about the concept of God loving me. Right? It’s one thing to love God, but a whole order of magnitude larger to begin to accept that God loves me. To realize that all my spiritual practice, all my struggle and prayer and meditation and reading and contemplating is really just a way to realize that God loves me. Already. Completely. As I am. It’s that simple.
I’ve had people telling me this in different ways for years. It is actually an important part of the Buddhist tradition, although many Buddhists don’t talk about God, as such. There are Tibetan stories of sages meditating in caves for years, seeking enlightenment, only to realize that enlightenment has been seeking them. I was on a retreat with the spiritual teacher Adyashanti, and one of his students reported the experience of having the Universe bend back around and ask her: “…and who are YOU?” One of my own clients reported a similar experience. He said, “I spent so much of my life seeking God, but the amount of effort I put in was nothing compared to what I received from God.”
In a certain sense I think that Christians may have it a bit easier than Buddhists, in that many Christians seem to know intuitively that God loves them. It has been a much harder road for me. I remember the shock I had several years ago when I realized that the Universe is cognizant. It was like my reality turned inside out. Here I had thought I was this little ball of life in a vast sea of non-life, only to realize that I am just a tiny part of an infinite sea of Life.
When I practice, and pray, and take care of myself, love begins to shine through me. It shines through to my clients, to my family, to people on the street. There are times in my life when I just radiate love. I know this is Divine love. I don’t own it, I am just lucky enough to be the conduit through which it expresses itself.
But here’s the reversal I am trying to perceive, and it comes back to me lying in bed last night. I am starting to feel that all the good things that come to me are blessings. I am very accustomed to think that I am responsible for many of the good things in my life. You know: I’ve worked hard, I got myself into school, I have focused as much as possible on my spiritual practice. Effort leads to results.
I’m not sure that’s true, or at least not in a strictly linear sense. I’m beginning to think it’s more like the blessings are there all the time, pouring down upon me, and all the effort I make is just to open my eyes a tiny bit and see.
But it’s more than that. Somehow all the effort I am making is really God’s effort to reach me. God is moving towards me, not the other way around. He is calling me and has been my whole life. Every “positive” action I have performed has been an answer to that call, and every “negative” action a turning away. Not only does God already love me, I already know it, in that I can feel the effects of this turning towards/turning away. In fact, on some level I have lived my life according to that knowledge.
If only I weren’t so forgetful.