God in a Box

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by Aubrey

So, why Buddhism?

Let’s start off with God. I hope no one gets offended by this, but I have found that most people, including me, have spent, and do spend, most of their time thinking about a God that they want God to be. I always used to say to myself, “People just think whatever they want about God;” a Christian God, a Jewish God, a God who makes them score touchdowns and gives them success, or saves them from harm at the right moment. God was always created at the spur of the moment!

I had questions. If God could be seen, why hadn’t I seen him? If God could be heard, why hadn’t I heard him? If God could be felt, more importantly, how come I hadn’t felt him? The truth is, I stopped and just said, “God is whatever God is. God does whatever God does.” Who can say God is this, or God is that? Or, God does this or does that? Or, God chooses them, but not them? Some people will say prophets, and some will say, proudly, “God is Love.” But, I’ve been trying, just like anyone else, all this time, to fit God in a box; specifically, whatever box made me feel the best. So, I stopped. I let go of “God in this box, God in that box,” and started addressing the problem of the box I was trying to fit God into. There was no suitable box to put God in. No hearing, no seeing, no secret spiritual feeling, no knowing, no this or that, no this religion, no that religion- no box. These boxes were just a place in my mind, places in books, a place to please my desire to know, see, touch, hear, of feel God; the way I wanted to feel God. God was this figure, or cloud, or some kind of something I imagined or put somewhere.

So, then, God became define-less, un-thinkable, un-seeable, un-touchable and un-knowable. God couldn’t prefer a particular religion over another because he didn’t speak, because God couldn’t be fully heard. God didn’t manifest, because God fully could not be seen. God wasn’t there, because God fully couldn’t be anywhere that any of my senses could offer as truth. The senses were the enemy (I called it The Ego).

Then, this summer, I found the Buddha. A man; a person, just like you and me, who was in touch with reality. I found out that I wasn’t the only one who thought my senses could not be counted on to tell me the truth; about God, or about anything!–Think about it, every one of our senses are relative; every one of them has a vanishing point. How can we trust them?–It was this amazing letting go, and I didn’t even feel as if I had lost God. God wasn’t anywhere to begin with, he hadn’t gone anywhere or came from anywhere. God was all of a sudden more awesome than I could have ever imagined…literally! I stopped trying to see God, know God, feel God or hear God; I knew I would never get the full thing, I would never fit God into any one of those senses or find God in any religion or set of books unless I just let God be God. It was foolish of me to think God could fit inside such a small space as my sight, or my thinking, words, or anything I could come up with or anyone could come up with! I had not been giving God–God’s due.

The Buddha did not teach anyone to not believe in God. What he taught me was to stop believing in a God I created; a God I wanted to create. He taught me to stop being blinded of God’s true oneness and fullness, our true nature, and start believing in a God who defeated every possible definition. He taught me to let go…

So, what’s your box?

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2 responses »

  1. I agree with many things you’ve said, though I must admit the context is a bit different. I agree that many of us (if not all of us) put God in a box. It’s all we’ve done all our lives with everything else, so why is God any different, right? It’s part of our human nature to define things. I am growing to learn though, that this is part of our imperfection. Speaking as a Christian, we learn (through theory & experience) that God is beyond our control, our senses, and our imagination. Even so, we also learn that He is somewhat tangible in some ways – through formal and informal prayer, through others, things in the world He created, and that he WANTS to connect with us deeply, with one step at a time. Separating my opinion here, I believe it’s a consciousness thing. We each see things differently, yes, which is why it is relative, but God never changes. This is the thing I find so lovely. I’ve heard it explained that God is currently physically “invisible” because He wants us to choose Him, because He’s already chosen all of us individually (I believe you made reference to this as well, the comment about whom He “chooses”). You also mentioned Buddha being a man just like us. What I love about Catholicism is that Christ did just that – fully divine and fully human all at once, to bridge the gap. (Again, beyond our comprehension… haha) But just because we can’t know all of Him, isn’t He worth knowing in some ways? I do believe He revels Himself, because He does desire relationship with us. I realize though, that many do not share this thought. Yes – letting go is key. Letting go of what we assume God is, but not so much leaving the idea alone, but embracing what He is trying to reveal to each of us in time.

    To answer your question – years ago I was guilty of putting God in the “He’s too divine” box… now it’s the case of seeing Him too much as a human. These will definitely change, I’m learning about Hm every day.

  2. Thanks for your comment, and I totally get where you’re coming from.

    You said, “But just because we can’t know all of Him, isn’t He worth knowing in some ways?”

    And to answer your question:

    Yes! There are ways to know the Ultimate/God in small relative ways. Such as seeing a sunset and seeing it’s beauty, or a newborn baby, in each other…and even, sometimes, the bad things that happen like war and our own nature to show hatred, etc.

    But, I believe, we have to 1) be totally honest and unbiased about these aspects and must be open to them all (which is tough all on its own). And, 2) we have to admit that those small relative things are a glimpse of something which is, in it’s fullness, incomprehensible by those senses, and to be completely honest and unbiased about that too.

    When I look at any “thing” in the world, I think “that’s a part of God.” I can’t pick and choose that this is the Devil, this is me, and this is God- it’s all God, we’re all God, everything is in God and God is in it, and it is all made of God.

    And, thinking like that has consequences for the many convictions of who, what, how and where God is….

    -Aubrey

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