Knowing God: Is it Possible?
There is no religious belief that, once you know it or say you believe it, will magically unlock the door to God. So, I would advise you to remember this: the impulse you feel to know God…that impulse IS God. But, having said that, don’t get too attached even to the impulse because, the truth is, God is more than any impulse you feel. I realize it sounds like I’m speaking from both sides of the mouth and I suppose I am. It’s a great paradox, but I know of no other way to put it.
Start with the impulse because that’s closer to the truth of who God is than anything else. By giving your attention to the impulse, it’ll grow and expand. There is nothing more you need to do in order to know God. God’s presence is not the reward you get for believing the “right” things. If you will follow the inner longing you feel to know the living God, you will become conscious of God. Just try this and see what happens.
Knowing God: Is it Probable
Albert Einstein once said, “I want to know the mind of God; everthing else are details.” I have often wondered whether he recognized the significance of his own words. The desire to know the mind of God is to know God. There is no need to make a problem of this. Yet, most religions do. God wants to be known. Why would she make it difficult? It is religion that complicates knowing God, saddling it with a carload of beliefs as onerous as the proverbial Sears catalogue. The prophet Jeremiah put it this way: “I (meaning, God) will put my law within them—write it on their hearts…they’ll know me firsthand.” It doesn’t get much simpler than this.
The prophet Isaiah once said, “Seek the Lord while he may be found…” On the surface, that sounds like good advice to give a spiritual seeker. But, upon closer examination, it’s not so wise either. To seek God implies effort, even struggle and neither is necessary in God’s Kingdom.
It is true Jesus said, “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.” But, these words have been greatly misunderstood by Christians, as have most of the other words attributed to him. Even very devoted followers of the Christian path assume Jesus meant we are to ask, seek, and knock, and continue doing so, as if there’s some kind of Divine resistance which can only be overcome by our persistence.
Knowing God: Is it Permissible?
To the contrary. God desires that you know her, which is precisely why you feel the inner impulse to pursue him. So, again, start with the inner impulse. Know that, as you do, you have met with Mystery already. St. Francis of Assisi put it this way, “What you are looking for is what is looking!” Jesus provides his own clarification, too:
“Don’t bargain with God. Be direct…This isn’t a cat-and-mouse, hide-and-seek game we’re in. If your child asks for bread, do you trick him with sawdust? If he asks for fish, do you scare him with a live snake on his plate?…You wouldn’t think of such a thing. You’re at least decent to your own children. So don’t you think that God who conceived you in love will be even better?
There’s a line in A Course in Miracles that goes, “When we are ready, God will take the final step in our return to him.” When you ask, seek, and knock, it is not to overcome God’s resistance. You ask to know God, and keep asking, you seek to know God, and keep seeking only because, as you do, the result is an ever-expanding awareness of this Presence you know already. That is to say, the asking, seeking, and knocking are the spiritual practices necessary to grow in God-consciousness…to live a God-realized life.
Knowing God: It isn’t a Problem!
You can make knowing God a struggle, if you’d like. I did for most of my early adult life. What’s more, most religions, including Christianity, have succeeded in making a personal relationship with God into a problem. Know, however, that it takes no effort to know God. Yet, if you ask many religious people about their faith experience, they will say things like, “I’m trying to be a good follower.” This is so unnecessary, as I gratefully learned on the Sunday afternoon of my own awakening.
“God is not difficult to find; God is impossible to avoid.”
— Deepak Chopra
Being Christian is simply the recognition of and response to the inclination you feel to know God. That’s it. Everything else are details. Take a step today toward what you feel, and you will likely discover that what you feel is the God you wish to know. Add anything else and you’ve made it into a religion and not a relationship. Responding to the inclination brings you face-to-face with Inspiration. To be inspired is to be “in-Spirit,” a word made up of two others, the prefix in and the root word spirare meaning “to breathe.” Hence, to know God is as simple, indeed as natural, as “breathing in.” Whether you are conscious of it or not, with every inhalation, you are literally breathing in the presence of God. Remind yourself of this today and celebrate.
This is the Mystery that is God, the miracle of God’s grace: the desire you feel to know God can only mean one thing: a spiritual awakening has occurred in you…
You know God already.