Do you believe that God is a judgmental man in the sky? Is this belief serving you well?
I have learned over my many years of counseling that no one heals without a personal connection to a spiritual source of guidance.
William was struggling with issues of shame and depression. He had struggled with feelings of insecurity and jealousy most of his life, despite years of inner work. While he intellectually knew that he was okay, emotionally he never felt it. This was his first phone session with me.
"William," I asked, "what is your concept of God or a higher power?"
"Oh, you know, the traditional Judeo-Christian concept -- an old dude up in the sky dishing out judgments."
"Is this old dude anything like your father?"
"Yes, exactly like my father."
"So you have projected your father onto your concept of God?"
"Yes, I guess I have."
"William, I wonder if you would be willing to consider a different concept of God."
"My experience of God is that it is the spirit of unconditional love, truth, peace and joy. Just as I know that when I take a breath, the air will come into my lungs, I know that God is always here, and I can experience that love and wisdom whenever my heart is open. Just as there is the law of gravity, there is the law of love. Gravity applies to everyone and so does the love that is God."
"I like that. I never thought of it that way."
"You use your computer to get online and access all the information on the Internet. You would never try to do research on a subject by just using what is programmed into your computer. I think of my mind like my computer -- it is programmed and therefore very limited. But I can use my mind to get online and access the wisdom of the universe. When my intent is to learn about loving myself and others, my heart opens and then I can access the love and wisdom that is always available to all of us. My mind cannot know who I truly am, because it's been programmed by my parents, teachers, peers and the media. But my spiritual guidance knows who I am.
"One of the reasons you continue to feel shame, insecurity and jealousy is because you are allowing your programmed mind to define you instead of your spiritual guidance. But as long as you believe that God is a judgmental man like your father, you cannot open to the truth that is here for you.
"William, right now, breathe into your heart and open to learning about what the truth is about who you are. Ask your higher self, 'What is the truth?'"
William does this. "I see a sweet, sensitive and very smart little boy."
"Is there anything at all wrong with this little boy?"
"So it is your limited mind, your programmed ego wounded self who keeps shaming you, telling you that you are not good enough or lovable enough. Do you want to keep defining yourself by your ego, or are you ready to let your higher self define you?"
William was more than ready to open to learning and allow his higher self to define him.
At our next session, William was a different person. He had started to treat himself with love and found that the more he valued himself, the more outgoing and caring he was with others. This was the first week in years that he had not felt depressed.
William was allowing the law of love to define him and express itself through him.