July 2, 2011

What Is God’s Will? And How Do We Participate In It?

Participating in God’s will is participating in your daily life.

In the west, we talk a lot about aligning our will with God’s will. However, there’s a loop hole: In the same breath, we say that no one is capable of knowing God’s will. So, it’s a tricky situation to say the least.

Here’s the popular Theistic premise: happiness is a side effect of being in line with God’s will, but God’s will is a vague and enigmatic phenomena—divine information mere mortals are not privileged. Making God’s will the goal, and simultaneously defining it as an unattainable goal places happiness just out of man’s reach. As a result, popular theology resorts to promises of happiness in the next life.

But non-theism reminds us that happiness can be discovered right here, right now. So, what does traditionally theistic traditions look like from a non-theistic point of view?

From where I sit, God’s will is simple enough—perhaps, too simple! Let’s say I am with a group of people, and we are all trying to decide what to do this evening. If they wish to know my will, all they have to do is ask, “Hey Ben what would you like to do tonight?” Step two: listen… God is no different.

Now, I don’t believe that God is a personality. We are not in some ridiculous relationship with a hairy pre-pubescent teenager! As Thomas Merton said, “Our idea of God tells us more about ourselves than about Him.” We project our tendency to use non-communicated expectations upon God, reality, or whatever you want to call it. Reality is more straight-forward than that.

Reality doesn’t speak to us using language. As Thomas Keating once said, “God’s first language is silence.” Reality is God’s will, and God is not other than His will. God and reality are one in the same thing. The will of God is the present moment. From this point of view, there is no sense of fragmentation or conflict.

Sanity is nothing more than thought inspired by the present moment. Far too often we are railroaded by obscene and irrational thoughts. Instead of being inspired by the content of the present moment, these ideas are fear based concoctions with inbred origins. This is insanity.

Thought is inbred when it serves as its own inspiration. An emotionally charged thought arises, and then the obsessive process of thinking about that thought begins. Far from being inspired by the present moment, this thought is twice removed from reality. It is not that this thought, or any thought for that matter, has to be vanquished. But testing these thoughts against the grain of reality is a necessary measure in the healing process. The restoration of sanity is dependent upon challenging the blockages that hinder the expression of sanity. Most often these blockages are a form of fear or insecurity.

Fears are based on deep seated false assumptions. Perhaps we believe that all intimate relationships are doomed to fail, and as a result question whether our significant other is really committed to the relationship. This leads to us constantly starting up “serious’ conversations that seek to invoke a ritual of confirmation. If we would only listen to the relationship…

Right now. What is the relationship saying right now? Your partner is with you. You are on a date, at home, or on the phone. They are talking to you. Fear is nothing more than a thought that pretends it is true, in-spite of all the evidence to the contrary. They are literally with you, telling you they love you, and yet you want to question whether or not this is really true. Or perhaps the opposite is true. Maybe you are in relationship where you keep telling yourself, “H/she really does love me… They just don’t know how to tell me.” Reality suggests that this person is no more committed to this relationship than they are committed to ridding the planet of left handed gloves, but we are willing to put ourselves through pure hell, because we want to identify with a second hand thought inspired by fear.

He have to learn to trust ourselves, our true self—sanity!

There is no need to church up spirituality. God’s will is neither vague nor nebulous. It is right here-right now! Every second of every day we have an opportunity to wake up. Complete and total enlightenment is always a possibility, because testing the assumptions that prevent us from waking is always an option. We always have the opportunity to listen. We can pause and listen. Is this thought true? Does reality confirm this fear? This is meditation. From this point of view, there is no such thing as a problem. Either the fear is little more than inbred hearsay, or it is true. If it is true, we simply need to align our thoughts with reality. We need not bother ourselves with wishful thinking. When our thoughts are inspired by the content of the present moment sanity prevails, and true happiness is a side effect of sanity.

What we like to conveniently label as obstacles are actually life situations that are inviting us into a deeper relationship with ourselves. True meditation is just as possible in the car with your wife or husband as it is on a cushion. The real question is whether or not we are willing to take the leap. Taking that leap is terrifying. It is terrifying, because it means stepping through fear; being willing to open up and expose these fears to the light of day and fully participate in your daily life.

Are we willing to deconstruct the handrails the ego has installed? Are we willing to live in a world that is not child-proofed by fear? Are we willing to lay our self-image aside and  touch the present moment? Or do we prefer to suffer the pains of continuing to nap?

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