Finding Your Own Personal God
Western religion has traditionally taught the concept of a personal God in which he (and God is invariably seen as male), is taught to be a spiritual entity of unlimited power that transcends his creation but is still capable of interacting with it.
Additionally, this entity exhibits emotions like jealousy, wrath, sorrow, compassion, mercy, judgment, and even uncertainty, making it in all ways a “person” complete with a unique personality, a specific set of moral beliefs, and a will of its own. Finally, in being omnipotent and omniscient, this being is believed to be incapable of error and so must be obeyed without question; a belief that has been a foundational tenet of Christianity, Islam, and Judaism for thousands of years and continues to be believed by billions of people today.
The Problem with the Personal God
The problem in perceiving God as a “person”, however, is in trying to figure out what this entity wants. While the Bible, Koran and Torah have no problem addressing this issue at some length, their answers don’t always agree, creating a picture of God who appears very different based upon one’s faith tradition.
Naturally, these differences in discerning God’s will has been a source of considerable tension between the three faiths that has frequently resulted in considerable blood being shed over the centuries, even though all three belief structures supposedly worship the same God. To those outside these faith structures, it appears that each faith has simply created an idea of what God is like based upon their own cultural prerequisites and fears, which they then try to market as the only “true” God. Of course, this is where the problem comes in: when one worships the only “real” God, all other gods must be, by default, frauds and pretenders whose followers must be repressed, exiled, or, if necessary, even killed to protect the one true faith.
It could be argued, then, that the entire idea of God being a distinct, unique, and individualized “person” has done great damage not only to each other’s faith, but to the concept of God itself.
Eastern religion takes a different approach to God. Instead of seeing God as a spirit being separate from its creation, it sees God as a life force that permeates all matter and indwells the cosmos with a universal, collective consciousness. Naturally, this eliminates all the haggling over whose God is the one true God by replacing the pantheon of deities with something more closely approaching “the Force” of Star Wars fame. But that only creates a new set of problems, the most obvious being the difficulty of having a relationship with what is, in essence, formless, nameless energy.
It’s like trying to befriend electricity or gravity. One can appreciate the power of such forces, but how does one seek solace from them, or ask for wisdom, or feel their love? That’s something only a personal God can provide.
Enter the Individualized God
So what’s the solution? It’s actually quite simple. One only needs to create a God that corresponds to our personal needs and individual personality. In other words, we visualize an imaginary being that can serve as a conduit between ourselves and the universal consciousness that indwells the cosmos by fashioning an entity that understands us intimately, loves us unconditionally, and is always there for us.
It can be either male or female—or neither—and can speak to us in a language we understand, using our vocabulary and mirroring our own prejudices and desires. It can even change, evolve, and grow as we do, echoing our own psyche in ways no externally objective spirit being ever could.
While such a being may sound a little bit like an imaginary friend from childhood, the important thing to remember is that the love and wisdom it emanates is not imaginary. It’s as real as any human love or wisdom, but one fashioned for our particular sensibilities, making it something we can identify with at our current level of spiritual understanding. It permits us to interact with divine consciousness directly by, in effect, reducing God to a size a regular person can comprehend. In fact, this is exactly what humans who have developed a relationship with a personal God have been doing for thousands of years. They may believe they are in fellowship with an external, spiritual entity but in fact they are interacting with a product of their own creative intelligence which, if you think about it, is the only way a universal consciousness could interact with us on a personal level.
It’s also why your concept of what God is like so seldom corresponds to another person’s idea of what God is like; just as you have different personalities, so you perceive a different God. In the end, we are all left with a choice. Worship a God we can keep at arm’s length but which we can never really know in any meaningful way, or permit the divine light of consciousness into our lives through the unique gift of our imagination, and in so doing create a symbiotic relationship with Spirit itself.
The second option may not be “safe” and could even be fraught with danger, but it may be the only way to come to know God in all its beauty and light.
The choice, as it has been from the dawn of time, is up to us.
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