“The life we are leading right now is a manifestation of God.”
Zen monk and bestselling author Brad Warner feels called upon to discuss the passionately debated subject of whether there is a God, and travels around the world speaking on the subject. In his newly released book, There Is No God and He Is Always with You: A Search for God in Odd Places (New World Library, June 24, 2013), Warner makes a profound contribution to the debate in his humorous, intimate and conversational style.
While the title is likely to challenge and confuse both the believers and atheists alike, Warner actually produces a full paradigm shift in the typical ways people think of God: as a clearly defined, manageable being that fits into a square box.
“What you think of as God does not exist. It couldn’t possibly exist. No matter what you think of as God, it’s an image you’ve created in your mind,” he writes. “And yet there is something powerful and ineffable that is the ultimate ground of all being and nonbeing. And some people use the word God to talk about that ineffable something. Sometimes I do too.”
Warner compels us to stretch beyond any conceptualization of God to gain a deeper understanding, beyond possession, which is “freezing” him in books, shrines or temples.
Rather, he refers to God as intimate energy that flows through us, is us.
He says that “we tend to think of God as an independent agent who can work magic and fix bad situations,” to whom we can pray for what we want, and if we are good enough we will get what we deserve. And then we are doomed to accept the reverse, that if we don’t get what we want we are deserving of the punishment of not having.
Instead, consider that “our direct experience of life is God. Life is God experiencing God,” that “the life we are leading right now is a manifestation of God.” He recommends the silence of meditation, from which can spring creativity, the infinite possibilities that are the expression of God through you.
God is not the possession of any religion.
“God walks with you. God is you, and God is the very act of walking.” The pain we experience when change occurs in ways we don’t prefer is nature manifesting itself, and even this is a beautiful thing if we learn to dance with it.
“The destructive power of the now, of God, is its way of creating us anew at every moment so that we can be here to enjoy its amazingness.”
We find ourselves in a troubled world in many ways. Warner recommends we think of the universe, of which we are all an intrinsic part, as an expression of life itself, and that understanding this may inspire us to take care of our world and one another.
When we let go of defending a fixed image of ourselves and a solid state of cosmology we are poised to become fluidly responsible beings living creatively in service to one another and our universe.
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Asst. Ed: Moira Madden/Ed: Sara Crolick