Can we know God?

God is a concept that has many different associations and meanings.  God generally refers to a Supreme Being with infinite knowledge and power, immortal in nature, acting as a source of grace and wisdom.  We usually consider knowing something to mean an intellectual understanding

While the scriptures of Yoga do not use the word God specifically, they do describe in detail how we can directly experience a Divine Consciousness that is the essential nature within all things. This Consciousness cannot be defined and understood by the limited mind, but can be experienced as an unchanging peace that is accessible only when the mind is free from movement of thoughts.

Any words we might use to describe this Divine Presence remain as vague and abstract ideas that have little relevance to our lives.  A better way to relate to this Presence is to shift the focus onto the qualities we associate with it.  Saints have described it as a profound peace or bliss beyond our normal idea of happiness.  These descriptions may also seem remote to us, but I believe we have all had moments in which we felt this true nature.

Think of someone you love with all your heart—a partner, child or even a pet.  No matter what they do or what mistakes they make, you still care deeply and are willing to do all you can for them.  Eckhart Tolle describes this feeling as the recognition of oneness in the world of form, and suggests that when we love unconditionally, we give birth to God.

The unbridled joy of children is another example.  Have you ever seen a child bubbling over with delight when it is singing, dancing or laughing?  Even better, can you remember a time when you were totally absorbed in the joy of a special moment?  Some of us may have experienced a sense of deep connection to the web of life, a contentment beyond any reason, or a feeling that all is exactly as it should be.

All of these experiences are expressions of that un-definable Presence of God that is our very nature, but is only known to us when the conditioned patterns of the mind, like clouds blanketing the sky, are quieted enough to allow this Presence to shine through.  That may be why we see a baby with an angelic countenance and why Sri Swami Satchidananda described God simply as peace.  He would remind us of this truth when he advised us, “Peace is your nature.  Do not disturb it.”

With this understanding, we can let go of the mind’s attempts to comprehend that which is beyond it.  Instead, we can focus on giving ourselves wholeheartedly to a spiritual practice, which quiets the ego-centered thinking that normally dominates our lives, and we  can practice serving as instruments of God’s voice and hands.  We may not know God, but we can experience this ineffable Spirit when we serve without reservation, love without condition, or dance with pure joy.

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2016-10-15T01:45:49+00:00 October 9th, 2014|Comments Off on Can we know God?