Whether you think you can or think you can't you are right. (Henry Ford) Such is the nature of beliefs. You get to choose the ones you want. Choose wisely...
Years ago my son made an impromptu appearance this week from boarding school because his dorm was succumbing en masse to the Norovirus. We stayed up till 2 in the morning talking about life and more importantly the meaning of Life.
At that time he drew me out of my blogging dormancy to write to you about what I call Going God. When it comes to believing in a higher power my son said, 'what is the downside?'
Whether we believe in God or not, we have beliefs about Him. Generally speaking, we are first taught what God is then we decide based on that intel whether we choose to believe in Him or not. Clearly this is the most flawed system ever as God is only as good as our teacher(s). How is that possible?
I had some amazingly faulty intel. My teachers had me convinced by the age of 10 that I was not among God’s chosen peeps. I went to a Jewish day school and I peppered the rabbis with questions. How could God make all the people and then decide that some where better than others? That seems pretty cruel. Why would he do that???
I know now that he wouldn’t, but by that time I had already gotten the memo that adults were right and I was an idiot. I was told that questioning God was blasphemy. I was a bad person and a worse Jew. I decided early on that my chances seemed better without Him in my life.
God is a big deal, folks! Our beliefs about how the world works deeply effect our sense of self and our actions. Questions like - Why do we think we are here? What is our purpose? Is there Karma? What happens after I die? What does God do all day? Do I reincarnate? Is there order to the universe or chaos? Why do bad things happen? - were programmed long ago and few of us ever revisit these early acquired beliefs. The answers to these questions though are the determining factors as to whether we live in fear, struggle and avoidance or peace, ease and joy. And we pass this largely unprocessed information in the form of a confused mess on to our kids.
My son’s friend offered that he did not believe in God. He was of the opinion that when you die you’re done. Fade to black. My son responded that if that’s the way you see it, you might as well believe in God, life after death, heaven, reincarnation, all of it, because there is no downside. Why would you believe you just die when you could believe you live forever? Why would you rather believe in nothing when you can believe in something so much better?
Kids are so wise. Why do we hold onto beliefs that were given to us by others when we could simply choose better ones? Beliefs are not truths, they are not even objective, they are conjecture - that means our best guess. All beliefs are made up!!! The world was flat until it was round. As such we should never adopt beliefs that limit us in any way. We are children of God, we have no limits save for the one’s we impose on ourselves. To my son’s point, what is the purpose of that?
Henry Ford said that if you believe you can or believe you can’t you are right. Ergo, if you believe in God or you don’t believe in God you are right. You are not right in the sense that it is objectively true, you are right in the sense that this is now true for you. Whether you believe in life after death or you don’t you are right. So which would you rather choose? And why? This question applies to every belief you hold…..
When it comes to God, the first question we must ask ourselves is not whether we believe in God or not, but what is our ‘acquired’ image of God in the first place. The second question is does this image of God that we have chosen to believe in (and remember you believe in an image of God whether you accept that image or reject it) serve us? In my case, I inherited an image of God that I had to reject to exist. Now I know that the path is not to reject the God we are taught but to choose a God that allows us feel great about ourselves and the world we live in. I hope this blog gives you permission to do just that.
I also want to be very clear that this is not a faith issue as I believed for sooooo long. I realized finally that I had tremendous faith in the God I was exposed to, so much so that I decided to run and hide from him. Putting our faith in something that feels bad isn’t piety, it is self abuse and we will resist it. If we have an understanding of God that is conflicted or painful we cannot put our faith there. There is nothing wrong with our faith but with our beliefs.
Faith is inherent in us. We cannot not have faith. We all have oodles of it. The problem is, if we don’t have a an image of God that we love, that we feel connected to and that we can rely on in every moment of our lives, we don’t know where to put our faith. By default it ends up in our fear. We need just look at our world to know that we believe that fear is the most reliable constant out there. Not God, not goodness, fear.
We have more faith that things will go wrong than go right, hence our need to micromanage, control, plan and pre-empt everything. We have more fear that someone is going to get angry with us, than be kind. We have much more faith that we will decline and start aching than we do in staying healthy and spry. We have a ton of faith in inevitability but not in possibility. We may have hope for things to be different but it is more aligned with doubt than possibility.
Trump symbolizes our collective fear and the country has put its faith in him. We are being called to get our faith out of our fear and change the tides on this planet. To begin the healing process we must individually and collectively Go GOD on it.
With the practices below, I invite you to make a God that you can thrive with, enjoy, talk to. One that you can feel uncompromisingly comfortable putting your faith in. One where you have no conditions you must meet to be worthy of his love and undivided attention, or to feel great about yourself, the world and everyone in it.
God is just one of many beliefs we hold but it is a great place to start reassessing our beliefs - especially since there is no downside.
Step 1: Write down your current beliefs about God.
Step 2: Draw a line through all learned, conditioned, limiting, contradictory or judgmental beliefs you hold regarding God. Cross out all fear based beliefs as God and fear have nothing to do with each other. Next, scratch out all the beliefs that do not serve you, that makes you judge yourself or someone else, that don’t make any sense, or don’t feel good - in short anything you can’t put your faith in.
Step 3: Now, on an index card that you’ll carry with you for God Support, write down all the qualities of a perfect parent or perfect BFF. Put down every beautiful detail. Carry this around for a month and refer to it as often as possible.
Step 4: Notice if you are resisting or judging any of these attributes - feeling that God should be more strict, distant, less indulgent. These are bumping up against your old belief system.
My Stream of Consciousness Example: Unconditionally loving, all powerful and gentle, infinitely patient, unconditionally supportive, ever-present, knows no anger, infinity generous, never wants to be anywhere but with me, kind, playful, affectionate, joyful, quick to laugh, fun, always has time for me, answers my every call, makes my every dream come true, provides for before I even know I have a need, offers gentle guidance but has no demands or expectations, he needs nothing from me (not even my love), gives me complete freedom, lets me make my own choices and never punishes me, makes my life effortless and wants only my happiness. Takes care of my kids too. Nothing is impossible. He sees me and all his children as he created us, whole, perfect and complete. He knows no judgment nor is he ever separated from me, not in birth or death. I remain with forever with him and completely dependent on him. Cheering me on, in my corner. With him I am completely safe and cannot be harmed. I need do nothing but turn to him for help and guidance and comfort. Nothing I can do can change the way God feels about me, all my brothers and sisters are equally and unconditionally worthy of his love in every moment.
How does it feel to connect with your new God?
What would be different in your life if you choose to believe in the God of your choosing over the one you were taught?
What is the downside of believing in this God that you can connect to over the old one?
Are you willing to commit to this new experience of God and the Universe?
It comes to a point in many of my friends and clients lives where they have reached the point where I say “you are not going to like what I have to say but you need to Go God on this one”. You may have been on the receiving end of that. I take you where I have had to go myself. I must admit that I resisted Going God until I was totally out of options. You need not suffer that long. Going God changed my life and continues to do so in unimaginable ways. Have fun with this always remembering that you are effortless…
*Typos happen but only ego judges :-)