God has the biggest social network on the planet. Have you joined yet?
I write not of a religious God used to divide people. This concept creates doctrines that turn faith into a members-only club. I write of a God who connects people regardless of culture, religious belief, nationality, sexual preference, race or financial status and who has the ability to empower each of us through love and free will.
Here's my premise, inspired by a song from author Dr. David Cumes:
There is no part of us that is not also a part of God.
If this is true, then three things follow:
I love this thinking because it brings the divine inside our humanity. Spiritual heaven resides here on earth in our every breath. There is no search for God. She was with us all along.
The biggest challenge is turning on our spiritual connectivity.
I think of my laptop. Before I can use Wi-Fi, I must first choose to activate the connection. In a similar fashion, before we can use our natural link to God, we must first choose to open it.
Faith, like love, is a choice. Once I make the choice, it's possible to find new ways to cope with loneliness, despair, doubt, or a lack of meaning. Once I make the choice, it's possible to find new ways to savor life's sweetness and joy, its music and celebration, its depth and resonance. These beautiful qualities lie like smooth, glossy stones -- wet and shining at the tide's edge. They are clearly visible if we only take the opportunity to look.
If it's so easy to connect to God and the rest of humanity, I can hear the skeptics say, then why don't more people do it?
Indeed, we sometimes fear taking charge of all aspects of our lives, using our spiritual bandwidth to its fullest capacity. What if we get it wrong? What if we're shamed or considered blasphemous because we don't do it according to a certain tradition? What if, as atheists like to say, there is really no God at all?
I like to say: What if such "what if" questions simply don't matter; what if they are a distraction from living life fully as we experience it?
Faith matters more than doubt to me because it's so practical. Connection to God leads me to inspiration, solace, hope and energy. Unlike the pejorative modern definition of faith, which conveys rigidity and constraint, I find my belief (and God) amazingly flexible and responsive. To me, faith springs from love, which is the most useful tool for finding purpose and joy. Connecting to God through myself and my experience makes me light on my feet and resilient. Connecting to God makes it easy to feel gratitude, which as our ancestors know well, is the way to happiness.
Others might say, I want to feel like God is a resource, but I don't know how to start or I've never felt like I could do it.
That's where free will comes in. Failure is never the end of the story. Failure is just an opportunity to start again. No matter what, we can always choose to make an effort. We can always state our intention and build from there.
We can say, I want to connect to God, I'm not sure how, but I'm going to find an a comfortable, appropriate time and place and try for a short time every day.
In this way, we leave open the possibility of discovery. We open up the potential that comes with spiritual practice.
Prayer, meditation and song have provided connections to God for thousands of years. I recommend them all. But I would like to suggest one more method. If you want to connect to God, try also to connect to your ancestors. (This includes Mom and Dad, by the way.)
Our modern culture has lost connection with our human past even as it has lost touch with God. What I now understand is that my ancestors -- both my direct kin and all generations who have come before -- are a conduit to God.
During your quiet chats with the God inside you, consider sending your love and gratitude to the people who came before you, the people whose genes you carry, the people who made you possible. Such acknowledgement and appreciation can open your heart to God's light and love, her story and grace.
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