Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Finding God

"In the Moment"
- in my meditation garden -

Yesterday afternoon I drove by a local church advertising their upcoming Services. A sign in front of the church read: “This coming Sunday is 'Palm Sunday' – A good day to come to church and find God.” For some reason that sign struck me as being very iconic of the way plenty of people think about “God” – a heavenly “superman” who hides out in churches or temples or mosques. You go to church to “find God.”

Even if you aren’t a religious believer many people think of the spiritual journey as some sort of a personal quest for the holy grail. One engages in this quest in order to find deeper truth, deeper peace, an experience of transcendence.

When I saw that sign about “finding God” it made me think that many people on many different paths of a spiritual journey concoct all sorts of recipes and formulae for finding “God, to make transcendence happen, to make “God” show up. We develop carefully strategized meditation techniques, say specified prayers and engage in various and sometimes elaborate rituals, doing our best to find "God."   However, more often than not, on a spiritual journey, the harder you try and the more you look, the less you often find. There is a Zen saying:

When you look for the ‘way’ you become far from it.
When you seek the ‘way’ you turn away from it all the more

I think the basic problem is that we often get the direction of a spiritual quest reversed.It isn’t so much that we are looking to find God, rather “God” is looking for us. It isn’t so much that we are seeking out Wisdom, rather Wisdom is seeking us out.

In our search for meaning, we need not look so hard or try so hard, but rather just sit quietly, wait, and make ourselves available to whatever comes our way at a church service, at work or school, or in our backyard. When we do this, “Wisdom” comes to us and what we need to do is not resist it.

In a beautiful poem/prayer, Islamic mystic, Rumi, puts it this way:

Listen, O drop, give yourself up without regret
 and in exchange gain the Ocean.
Listen, O drop, bestow upon yourself this honor
and in the arms of the Sea be secure,
Who indeed should be so fortunate?
An Ocean wooing a drop.

What you seek is seeking you!

Holy Week, Easter and Passover are coming up and many people will be looking for “God” in these holy days. It seems to me that this is a good time to rest in a deeper assurance that “God” seeks us even more than we seek “God.”

Who indeed should be so fortunate?
An Ocean is wooing a drop.

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