I said, ‘You are “gods”; you are all expressions (children/creations) of the Most High.
Psalm 82: 6
Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your Law, ‘I have said you are “gods”’. If Abwoon called them ‘gods,’ to whom the word of Abwoon came—and Scripture cannot be set aside— what about the one whom the Creator set apart as his very own and sent into the world? Why then do you accuse me of blasphemy because I said, ‘I am the Creator’s Son’? Do not believe me unless I do the works of my Creator. But if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, so that you may know and understand that the Creator is in me, and I in the Creator.” 39 Again they tried to seize him, but he escaped their grasp.
John 10: 34-39
Since the inception of Authentic Freedom in 2003, I have been teaching what Jesus taught – that we are ONE with God in love and that remembering this Oneness is the balm that heals us and restores us to inner peace in the face of the challenges and struggles of the human experience. Authentic Freedom was developed as a process and a protocol for inner alchemy – returning to this original state of Oneness, thereby bringing us into wholeness within ourselves and achieving what alchemists would call the philosopher’s stone, what psychologists refer to as “self-actualization” and what the religious recognize as “mature faith or mature spiritual development.” Here we know who we are, we know our unique giftedness and we are empowered to share these gifts for the sake of our own fulfillment and in support of the betterment of the world.
It is one thing to know that we are one with God. It is another thing to KNOW that we are one with God. The former is an intellectual knowing, the latter is an embodied knowing recognized in the felt sense of this ONENESS which is further known by a deep state of inner peace, wholeness, and love. One is centered in the mind. The other, is a true KNOWING -centered in the heart and felt in the entire body. Here one is grounded, whole, complete, content, unflappable. THIS is the “kingdom of God” that Jesus often referred to and the GOAL of our human experience – to be fully human while KNOWING this state of unflappable contentment. Jesus knew this. The Dalai Lama knows this. Amma knows this. We too are invited to know this.
For twenty-three years, after first getting a glimpse of this Oneness with God, I have practiced the HOW. I have meditated, entered into contemplation and deep reflection, read and studied scripture. I have practiced movement meditation (Chi Qong and Yoga). I have listened to meditative music, practiced journaling and meditative drawing. I have voraciously read every book I could get my hands on describing the spiritual journey, inner alchemy, the psychology of transformation, etc. etc. etc. I have DONE IT ALL. After (and while) doing, I created a curriculum and taught. And then I wrote a few books. In this journey, I learned of Jesus’ oneness teachings and built the foundation of all my practices, courses and writings on this teaching. I knew I was One with God, and in the course of this work have gotten glimpses and fleeting experiences of this Oneness. But I didn’t truly KNOW it.
Now I do. (at least for now, because the Irish in me knows that this KNOWING might very well be a moving target and a fleeting sensation….but for now, it feels really good and in truth, quite stable.)
My experience of getting to this place of KNOWING I am One with God and that the Divine dwells within me as ME has been no easy task! It has been very much as Jesus described, like trying to fit a camel through the eye of a needle! In order to fit through that needle’s eye, I have had to let go of EVERYTHING I have built my life upon, EVERYTHING I thought I knew about myself, EVERTHING which has felt, if not safe and secure, at least familiar. In this process, I have had to let go of dreams of fame, riches (or just plain financial stability for that matter!), notoriety, the illusion of good health, perfection, self-righteousness, pride. I have been made to let go of century-old grudges, forgive those undeserving of forgiveness, and made to learn how to love my enemy. I lost my health and entered into a 6 month process of healing and then surrendering to medical support that I have spent 16 years trying to avoid. Currently, portions of my business are dying and I’m losing the home I have come to love and am forced to find lodgings elsewhere – something I’m finding is no easy task for a family of 3 in a university town. In short, I have been pushed to the place of having to LET GO of EVERYTHING I have come to know about myself, my vocation and my day-to-day life. I have also had to ask for help in more ways than I have ever had to ask before.
This has been my journey for the past 19 months. Letting go. Letting go. And letting go some more. Emptying. Emptying. Emptying. All the while HOPING that this emptying was taking place so that something amazing could come in. I had no idea that this something amazing might be God.
Then it happened. First in a dream. Sunday night/Monday morning I had a crazy dream. In the dream were all the animal totems who had previously come to me in dreams, visions, meditation – wolf, panther, owl, bat and dragon. At first the dream was about the externals, but the more I meditated, the more I realized the totems were all aspects of my own inner gifts – wolf = magic, safety and security and the support of the pack. Panther = my own inner strength and power to protect and defend myself. Owl represents my own inner wisdom and gifts of seeing and hearing. Bat is the part of me comfortable and secure in working in the shadows – in confronting and transforming fear, darkness, that which we suppress and repress. Dragon is my Soul’s power and the inner force that carries me.
Then, yesterday morning, while meditating on Jeremiah:
“For I am with you, to deliver and rescue you, says the Lord. I will free you from the hand of the wicked, and rescue you from the grasp of the violent.”
I pleaded with God that this would be so….that God would rescue me from the pain I have been experiencing as the letting go continues. Suddenly, while allowing myself to “hear” the God out-there say these words to me, the God out there was no longer out there. Instead, the voice of comfort came from within me – originating in the place somewhere in the center of my heart, but feeling as if it was coming from my whole being. And, I no longer saw God as “the old man in the sky,” instead “God” was ME – a bigger, more substantial, whole, confident, content, secure, complete, version of ME. In this experience, I felt whole, complete, as if I was suddenly my whole and true self – I was Me and it was MYSELF who is the source of peace and comfort within me. No longer is the source of comfort “out there” in some fickle god who “giveth and then taketh away.” God is ME within MYSELF but even more than simply being within, God is ME.
Now I understand and KNOW the ONENESS about which Jesus spoke. God is me and I am God.
But this ONENESS is not just for me. As the Psalmist and Jesus both say above, what is true for me is also true for you, for we are all God – God in me and God in you. God is me and God is you.
How are you invited to KNOW the God that is you?