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God Is

by Ruth Cherry, PhD

We can’t change God. We can’t piss Him off so badly that He wants to punish us. Likewise, we can’t impress Him so much He will indulge us. God is.

We are becoming. We grow through having experiences. We touch fire and decide not to repeat that experience. We pet a cat and choose to do it again. We act, we decide, we choose. That’s how we grow up. And along the way we make mistakes except that they are not mistakes. We are just learning and growing, doing our own experiments in becoming a human. What else can we do?

At the very core of who we are, God is. We pursue different avenues which lead us into all sorts of experiences, some comfortable, some painful, but we learn from each. We may choose the academic route and earn a doctorate but God is at our center. Or we may choose drug addiction, but, again, God is at our center. We may delve into criminality, still God is our center. Whatever we do with the conscious choices we have, the undeniable, unchanging unconscious reality is that God is our center.

And God is pure love and unconditional acceptance. For the doctor and the drug addict and the criminal. It doesn’t matter to God. God is always the same—loving and accepting. Not a love we can earn or lose. God is and God always says Yes to each one of us. Yes, try that avenue. Yes, dive into that arena. Yes and yes. Do what you will. And through our actions we learn and grow and we continue to choose.

We refine our particular talents and skills and we make our own particular contribution. Each life is to grow into one’s self. And we can do that however we want. Whatever we choose is acceptable. Every choice has consequences and we will pay the consequences. So we learn and we grow.

Getting stuck in self-recrimination or losing sight of the big picture can muddle our thinking. When we decide that what we’ve done is overwhelmingly reprehensible and that we can never forgive ourselves, we block God. God is an ongoing process. When we calcify into self-hate we step outside that process. God doesn’t love us less for what we have done.

How can we learn to look at ourselves the way God looks at us? We must lose our proprietary attitude about our lives and allow God. Do we think it serves God for us to hate ourselves? Don’t we close God off by doing that? When we show up and say, “I am here,” then we allow God. We watch and we don’t know what will happen, but we pay attention.

It’s not our job to punish ourselves. Appropriate guilt is understandable. But there is more. After twenty years of guilt and self-hate, what does God want from us? After all, God needs us to do His work on earth. If He prefers ongoing suffering, so be it. But if not, we’d better pay attention to discern what is asked of us. We are not the judge and jury of ourselves or anyone else. We merely accept what God delivers and say, “Thank you.” Maybe this lifetime we didn’t get the rich and famous contract. Maybe we’re doing loser and degenerate. So be it. Next lifetime will be different. Our job is to show up and to be available to learn. We don’t have to choose correctly or to be good or to be happy. We just say, “Yes, and what am I to learn from this experience?”

All is experience. It’s easier to acknowledge that when things are comfortable and rewarding. The successful doctor may struggle with self-acceptance as the murderer does but she has props from around her to support her. The challenge of the murderer is to truly forgive himself and to find self worth in the minutes of his day. And to go on and not to be defined by his past behavior.

And might that not be a bigger challenge than most of us face with our normal middle-class lives? Contributing to society in obvious ways may prevent us from going to places inside us that the murderer must approach. For him to retire into depression and to give up on himself is to deny God. In trying to go on and to live a decent life, isn’t he accepting a mission of imposing proportions? Isn’t he choosing to say “Yes” to himself when the rest of us say “No” to him? How many of us are satisfied with locking a murderer up and forgetting about him? And what do we do with the challenges in our own lives? Do we shy away from looking at the darkest corners inside ourselves? Are we satisfied to live a two dimensional life and to be nice?

For we could all be the murderer. There is no one among us who is so pure that we can denigrate another no matter how serious his offense. We each have it within ourselves to commit the blackest deeds. Circumstance may offer us a reprieve. But can we judge those who have lived a more intense life just because we fear our own intensity? Perhaps it is because we know that in some place in us, we are the same as the one we judge.

When we allow God, we identify with the God-consciousness that is our core. We see the God- consciousness in everyone else. And we know that is the truth.

Ruth Cherry, PhD, is a clinical psychologist in private practice in San Luis Obispo, CA. Her specialty is midlife when psychological and spiritual dynamics merge. The power of the unconscious at midlife to heal and to transform is tapped in meditation. Besides writing about meditation, Ruth leads guided meditation groups weekly. Her five books and guided meditation CD are available at her web site, midlifepsychology.com.

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