Printed in the Conscious Creation Journal
Perspectives Of God: How the Universe Works – Part One
by William Gunderson
Introductory Note… Most of our problems in this physical experience are the result of our resisting the natural flow of good that the universe is always sending our way. We erect barriers that stop the flow. We desire good and at the same time disallow it. The book in progress from which these articles are adapted is aimed at teaching frustrated “resisters”, who think they will never make a breakthrough, about that part of them that is the center of resistance. It describes the fear and separation from which it stems. It describes the defense mechanisms and thinking style associated with fear and separation. Why? Because, it’s all the result of a massive illusion and once it is exposed, it can be seen as silly, and then, finally released.
I know. I thought I was the world champ resister; I could not allow myself to experience joy and fulfilling peace of mind. I experienced ups and downs over which I “seemed” to have no control. I began seeking answers over 25 years ago, to little avail. My roller coaster ride did not seem to really change much. I began to think I would never “get it”. So then the question became why this information helped to transform some but not others. I eventually discovered that my efforts actually were causing my life’s circumstances to deteriorate. There is an explanation for that. Though I intellectually understood the teachings, I could not apply them. Finally things became so bad that all outer action produced little but undesirable results. I decided this is ridiculous. I ceased all “action” and began to study anew. Eventually I began to see more clearly. It’s a process of evolvement. I began to learn how to create again.
Who Or What We Believe God To Be Influences Our Life Experiences
When considering the age old questions of why are we here; what is our purpose; who are we, we often conclude that the answers lie in a “higher power”. In one form or another, that higher power is thought of as god. From there, religions arise, developing dogma that attempts to define the nature of god and our relationship to that superior being. Many of us who study metaphysics often have an assessment of that higher power that is quite different from that of mainstream religion. Because many of our teachings hold that god is not someone separate from, higher than and outside of us, we may not relate to god in the same solemn, worshipful, or devout manner as practitioners of many traditional religious sects tend to.
Since most of us in this physical world generally conclude that we are part of something larger than our mere physical selves and accordingly that there is a larger purpose to our being, it is useful for us to take a look at how our approaches to god might affect our lives. Presumably we all have a desire to lead happy fulfilled lives. Hence, we seek guidance for living in such a way that will lead to that end. To a great extent, that is the reason most people are members of a religion or study philosophy.
Clearly, as suggested in the first paragraph, there are different takes on the nature of god and it is my view that one’s perspective of god has quite significant implications as regards the course of one’s life. In this book, we have discussed the idea accepted by many that one’s beliefs determine his /her personal experiences (or stated another way, one’s personal reality). For that reason, I feel it is useful to examine our ideas about god.
Not “if” God; Rather “which” God
What’s interesting to me is that for those who hold traditional views, the meat of the matter is mostly whether one believes in God or not. This suggests that for them, there really is only one view of God possible and that it’s just a matter of convincing people to believe in God, (by which they mean the one that they believe in). In my view this misses the point. As I see it, the issue is, “What is the nature of God?” Whether or not one believes in God, in my estimation, is less consequential than “what” god does one believe in.
The two differing views of God I refer to are the traditional Judeo- Christian God of Scripture and one that is more personal, apart from religion, often referred to as Infinite Mind (as well as many other terms). These two general views mirror two different approaches to life that we will discuss in greater detail. For now, let me provide an example. When it comes to prayer, those who hold the first view of God might pray that He might have mercy on them and grant them relief from some difficulty. It is a sort of asking that one might be granted some thing or condition that he does not now have. From the second perspective, however, prayer also is a form of asking, but more asking that the person might become more open within his /her own heart to accepting and allowing that which already has been given. It comes from a position that the individual is already an extension of God and that the universe is loving and always ready to provide. Thus, it is more an issue of asking for guidance in learning how to allow oneself to receive.
It has been suggested by countless others that God (especially the one of the former view) has been personified. This simply means that man has attributed to God, physical and emotional characteristics that he is familiar with, i.e., human characteristics. Thus, in our culture, we see portrayals of God as this imperial, stern, older, bearded authority figure. Perceptions of God, however, vary throughout the world and across time. Man projects into his concept of God all of his own emotions and reasoning.
Meanwhile most individuals really haven’t made a conscious choice of their religious beliefs since they were introduced to them at a very young age by their families and institutions. The child is taught to fear the evil nature of man, the indomitable human condition and the Almighty, Himself. In essence, he is taught to fear life itself. Then, he is taught the remedies for relief of that fear as presented by his religion. Some, such as author Deepak Chopra, see the differing perceptions of God in terms of levels (or realms) which correlate with different ways of relating to or experiencing God. Chopra, in his book, How To Know God, in fact describes seven realms of experience, each one moving closer to a unified oneness with God. This is a useful model that can assist us in our understanding. The lowest level (though this low-high spectrum is not a very satisfactory portrayal) is the God that protects us from evil and dangers in our environment. This God could be seen as the all powerful, jealous, temperamental, capricious one of the Old Testament. At the highest level according to Chopra, we “end with unity consciousness, through which we can experience the divine in all things, living and inert”. For the sake of simplicity, the two views I refer to are sort of opposite ends of a continuum (and roughly akin to the two just described) from limited consciousness to expanded consciousness. The latter is a more personal God, independent of religions. This is not a totally adequate representation, of course, because in truth, the universe consists of infinite variations. This means that the purported ends of the continuum are not true ends. And, in between the metaphorical ends are infinite variations. Thus, thinking about it in this way, Chopra’s seven points are simply arbitrary stops between the so-called ends.
When the terms “higher” and “lower” are applied to consciousness, higher would imply holding ideas that are expanded, more harmonious, closer to unity (or oneness) with God. Accordingly, lower would suggest ideas of limitation, sin, evil, disharmony and separation from God. Some other ways people make these distinctions are: inner-self / outer-self, true- self / false-self, little- self / bigger-self.
How “Levels” Of Consciousness Correlate To Perceptions Of God
The idea that differing views of God are associated with points of consciousness is an intriguing one that has enormous significance in this discussion. As an example, if the limited God experience is aroused by fear of danger, as well as of evil, the god that is invoked is the one who can protect. As suggested earlier, this God is usually perceived to be the judgmental authoritative one of the Old Testament. It follows that the individual who is drawn to this experience of God feels powerless to create his own experience. He feels vulnerable to evil and to the world as a whole. Thus he supplicates himself to the will of this almighty, though wrathful God, uttering prayers in pleas for mercy and forgiveness for his sinful nature. He lives his life with the intention of obtaining salvation from the fires of hell in the “afterlife”.
The believers in this God see everyone as vulnerable. They are inclined to feel that while they themselves may be doing God’s will, if others in the society anger God, they will then still be vulnerable to His wrath. Therefore it is in their interest and the interest of society if everyone submits to the will of God (as they believe it to be). This is the point where things begin to get a little dicey. This response to God goes beyond the personal and private realm, to where its adherents try to compel others to accept their view and often act with intolerance toward those who won’t.
Now we should be clear that not all who consider themselves religious, are committed to such a fundamentalist approach. Some may find great wisdom within the teachings of Christ by viewing the stories as symbolic. For them, Christ can be an inner experience. To the extent that this is so, they are oriented toward an expanded rather than a limited experience of God. The teachings consistent with an expanded consciousness are not contrary to religion. Fundamentalism, however, rejects such teachings precisely for the reason that they are not consistent with literal interpretations. More precisely, they do more than reject these ideas; they assertively push against them.
Clearly, the limited response to God is not a private personal one. If it were, its believers would not be critical or concerned about ideas of God that differ from their own. The religions built around this relationship to God become very insistent that others follow the same moral rules they do. This invokes a reaction from those who don’t see God in this way. They complain that this is tantamount to those who we might describe as “outer focused”, imposing their morality upon others. While non-literalists may believe that rules and laws are a necessary and good thing for an orderly society, at the same time they believe that their relationship to God can and should remain a private matter.
Compare the outer focused response to that of the God of unity. This is a mostly private experience motivated by inner empowerment and peace and love. (This experience is a little bit more difficult to define precisely because it is an individual one, not subject to dogma.) Love has a particular spiritual meaning inseparable from the idea of unity. The focus upon unity and love negates fear, since fear is a symptom of disunity. Here God is an inner power. Prayers, rather than being a plea for mercy, are an affirmation of the individual’s oneness with this power. These affirmation prayers are utilized to attune oneself with Infinite Mind toward attainment of inner peace. The motivation to remain united (in love) is not to seek protection but rather because it feels good. In this experience of God, feeling good is a cue that one is in harmony with spiritual laws.
Those who experience God in this way, know that the circumstances of their lives are under their own control. They understand that they create their life experience and are not victims of outer conditions or other people. They don’t view man as inherently evil. They view evil as an illusion, simply an outgrowth of errors in thinking. Therefore they have no inclination to control others or to make them think as they do. They are not obsessed with judging others. When they catch themselves doing it, they realize that they are engaging in thoughts which will only cause separation within themselves. They understand that their private work in the spiritual realm is to become more tolerant and more allowing, more loving, i.e., less focused upon others.
This leads me to make clear that when we discuss the limited view of god, it is to make comparisons—not to criticize it. We may prefer the God of expanded consciousness but that does not mean that we wish to suppress or push against other views. First we realize that attempting to push against ideas we don’t prefer only produces more manifestations of them. Secondly, we know that other’s reality is none of our business; it is simply a matter of their own thoughts and choices. Now, of course, this is the whole point, isn’t it? We can choose thoughts of fear or thoughts of love. Fear thoughts are based upon illusions of the ego while love is based upon Universal Cosmic Truth. So the teachings of expanded consciousness are aimed at moving us away from the illusions of the ego. We may think this direction is “better” but that does not mean that we have any stake in assessing other views as wrong.
If That God Isn’t God, Then Who; The God That Religion Created
According to many of the teachings of the expanded view, we came into this world knowing that all is well. Then, quite soon after, through the socialization processes, we began to lose touch with that knowing to the degree that we forgot who we are. Many of us were trained to fear an authoritative and vengeful God threatening us with eternal pain beyond comprehension. God was unknowable, above and separate from us. But we had little doubt that this god was also extremely powerful—all powerful. It seemed a good idea that our best stance in his presence would be a supplicating one. When we became separate from our source (God), we became separate from our true selves.
For centuries, religions have acted to obscure the nature of God in convoluted dogma. The reasons for this are complex and the story cannot be summed up in a few sentences. Much of it involves politics and the personal agendas of religious and imperial leaders throughout those centuries. At any rate, we now spend perhaps more centuries stripping away the layers of confusion. One of the outgrowths of the distorted image of God is that we have a difficult time separating the word “god” from feelings of fear and unworthiness. In fact, that word attached to the Ultimate Power is so loaded with baggage (stern and vengeful and demanding and punishing and unpredictable), that it is not a bad idea to use other terms. Let’s look at some that have been used by others. We are using these terms interchangeably throughout this book so that your own, possibly limited concept of God, can be set free. Obviously, there are many other terms that could be included in the following list if we considered those from the many religions around the world. I am limiting this list to ones commonly found within the Western world and the English language.
All That Is
Universal Mind Substance
Beliefs Behind The Limited View
Let’s examine some of the factors that are behind the limited view of God. Literal interpretations of the Bible assert that man is born a sinner and has an evil nature. It suggests there is nothing he can do about that except to submit to God and obey His rules. By doing this he can attain salvation in a life after physical death. Those who hold this view of man find solace in the absolute rules that they identify in the sacred writings. These absolute laws serve as a device to control the potential for evil which man perceives is inherent within him. Where he is inclined toward a belief in God, it is the God who promises to punish those who succumb to the temptations of their evil nature or otherwise defy his commands.
This notion demonstrates a belief that man is separate from and “lesser than” God. From the other perspective (the one of unity), this is an illusory belief. The illusion leads man to think that his “self” is defined by the boundaries of his skin, that he is no more than his physical mind-body. He sees himself separate from others as well as from the divine. This self that sees itself as limited, we have referred to as the ego or the lower self or the false self. It is made up of false beliefs absorbed from mass consciousness. Feeling so separated, man feels vulnerable—especially to the dangers of the evil nature of his fellow beings. Succinctly, he is fearful. And feeling fearful, he is more than willing to submit to an enforced morality consisting of prescribed rules.
On the face of it, this standardization of morals serves the purpose of maintaining a civilized society. In addition, man feels somewhat protected and has some hope for salvation from his sinful nature. However, below the surface, we find that the advantages come at a high price. We are deceived into giving up the truth of our greater purpose. We close ourselves off from the awesome and wonderful creative urges of our Inner Beings (our spiritual selves) to pursue our individual purpose. We restrict ourselves to certain prescribed thoughts about certain subject matter. Having succumbed to this grand illusion, man is barely conscious of the price. To the extent that he is conscious of it, he rationalizes that it is worth it because, clearly, it feels more comfortable if everyone is in agreement. Free thinking is discouraged. And as most of us agree to pay the price, we end up living not our own thoughts, but those of others–which is to say that we end up creating not our own lives but adopt and repeat those conceived by others. When we conform to absolute standards of behavior, we give our power away. We live by directions from the outer rather than from inner guidance. We buy into the limitations of mass consciousness. The result is an unfulfilled life.
Resurrecting The Truth About God
Now we ask is this concept of God and the existence of evil really based in truth? What if this judging, punishing God was simply part of the illusion of the separated self, a myth that we carried forth by habits reinforced over centuries. What if, in truth, God was really a force of powerful, conscious, intelligent love energy?
And, as for the truth about us, what if we were actually extensions of that energy, expressions of that intelligence? And further, what if there were laws but that they weren’t based upon arbitrary views of morality (changing according to time or place). And what if there were no such thing as punishment for error (from a demanding and authority wielding God) but rather just a working of cause and effect.
Imagine a universe in which the laws, once understood, are even more effective at keeping individuals civilized and focused upon good (rather than evil) than by the means which mankind has contrived. And imagine that at the same time, both your purposes and God’s purposes are best served by you seeking joy and discovering your creative abilities and utilizing them to the best of your abilities. And imagine that you, judging your neighbor, actually works against you rather than for you and vice versa. Imagine that what we conceive as evil is in reality a manifestation of negative, angry, jealous, resentful and hateful thoughts. And imagine that it is there that the laws come into play–not from law enforcement, but rather from one’s own choice to disconnect from one’s God Source. And that it is in that way that one experiences negative conditions, brought upon oneself, until such time as he/she decides to change his mind (her thoughts) and reconnect with the one source.
Well, read on as we proceed to reveal a God, beautiful and loving beyond comprehension, a God within you, of which you are a part– not separate from.
End Part 1
©2001, William Gunderson. All Rights Reserved. Printed in the Conscious Creation Journal. http://www.consciouscreation.com (Feel free to duplicate this article for personal use – please include this copyright notice and the URL.)
About William Gunderson… Current and/or past roles include designer of experiments in research psych, advertising and corporate assignment photographer in San Francisco, Operations Director in start-up ventures, skydive instructor, patent holder and product developer, start-up venture helmsman. Too many interests and no specialties seemed a curse. He has since come to peace with the fact that working through failures and frustration were actually part of the unfolding of his individual divine gift. (We all have them without exception.) His happens to be wonderful problem solving abilities. “The overview perspective, seeing the inter-relationships of many disciplines was supposed to be my thing after all.” William now lives in Southern California assisting businesses, as opportunities arise, with product development, co-creators, marketing, vision and just being student and teacher, as we all are in this evolutionary process. If you would like to email William, the address is [email protected].