Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Terror and Joy of Finding God in the Dark

A friend recently asked me if I really 'believed' that God is darkness as much as light. Here is the simple answer, without getting into definitions of what 'God' means, or monotheisms, polytheisms and pantheisms, etc.:
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For me, if God is all there is - then all there is must be God.

That means God is heart, head, body, life, death, friend, foe, light, dark and all in between. (Read Bhagavad Gita chapter 11)

We humans choose, or are chosen by, that aspect or experience of God we prefer or need most at a given moment in time, and then call that 'God.' Those who live from the heart call God 'the Heart.' Those who live by rational thought call God 'the Mind.' Those who live by the body call God 'the Physical.' Those who live by laws call God 'the Law.' Those who live by the sword call God 'the Sword.'

We carve God up into pieces by saying God prefers heart over head, or law over freedom, or compassion over consequences, or sword over diplomacy. If the Cosmos is truly a school for souls - then all aspects of life are necessary and equal. All aspects are normal and efficacious in their purpose of making souls. It is we humans who decide in a given day or decade in our life which part is more God than another based on our limited experiences and feelings.

The parts of God that we don't recognize are in the shadows for us, unseen; and that is different for each of us. The Heart-centered, Compassionate person (often Democrats) has a hard time seeing how suffering or hardship could be an aspect of God that makes a deep soul. His/her shadow is the failure to recognize darkness, and suffering as God. This person often condemns the cruel, insensitive Conservatives.

The Consequences-centered, Personal Responsibility person (often Republicans) has a hard time seeing how rescuing people from their problems can be an aspect of God that makes a deep soul. His/her shadow is the failure to recognize bailing people out and rescuing them from their difficult lessons can be God. This person often condemns the co-dependent, messianic Liberals.

In the Hindu Bhagavad Gita, after Arjuna sees Death and Life, darkness and light as part of God, he says, "
O Lord of lords, O refuge of the worlds, please be gracious to me. I cannot keep my balance seeing thus Your blazing deathlike faces and awful teeth. In all directions I am bewildered...O Lord of lords, so fierce of form, please tell me who You are. I offer my devotion unto You; please be gracious to me. I do not know what Your mission is, and I desire to hear of it." ~ Verse 11:25, 31

Lord Krishna responds, "O best of the Kuru warriors, no one before you has ever seen this universal form of Mine, for neither by studying the Vedas, nor by performing sacrifices, nor by charities or similar activities can this form be seen. Only you have seen this. Your mind has been perturbed upon seeing this horrible feature of Mine." ~ 11:48,49

For many, this is a dreadful realization. We prefer our God/s to be loving, compassionate and healing - as we understand those terms, which means removal of pain and difficulties. Spiritual maturity and deep soul-making requires us to incorporate all of life into our cosmic vision. The most miserable people in the world are those who consistently expect to be happy all of the time. Paradoxically, the most joyful people in the world are those who see the all encompassing hand of the Divine in every circumstance.

The Yin/Yang symbology sees both Light and Dark as Eternal ('God' if you prefer). The goal of life is for each developing human soul to realize and incorporate the opposite into their character in order to become fully Human. It is a long, often rigorous and difficult process for most of us to gaze beyond our dogmatic but limited ideas of 'what God is' and 'how God thinks.' Of course God sees and thinks like we see and think, until we yield to our role under the All.

2 comments:

MandyArwen said...

Hello Michael...I appreciate your thoughts. I do not think there is any darkness in God at all but I do believe that God experiences compassion for us and therefore God experiences all that our hearts experience...joy and happiness, peace and even sorrow when we experience grief and heart break. If God experiences through our experiences...then that would have to be true.
But darkness...I don't know about that...it doesn't seem possible...do you mean evil by saying darkness?
If evil...I say No No NO. God is pure light. And yet compassionate towards us. God feels our hearts and experiences all we experience. We ARE God...this would have to be true if we are God.
Thanks for your great insights!

sfauthor said...

Nice posting. Do you know about this edition of the Gita?

http://www.YogaVidya.com/gita.html