Saturday, September 6, 2014

The Four Aspects of God

As we look out on our familiar everyday world, God can seem to be a little hazy at times, like a far off distant memory or a vague image of a possible future. There doesn’t appear to be much of God in this world we believe is our home. Though we hear of others who say they have experienced God directly, most of us rarely, if ever, have this experience. What should we think of this God that seems so far away from our everyday life?
In the Course we learn of a God that is our True Home, the place our Core Self lives and creates. This God is a truly Loving God, one that sees fault in no one and never judges anyone guilty. We are told this God is accessible to us, not out in the world we perceive every day, but within our minds. Through the Holy Spirit, which is our connection to God, we have a direct means of communication that can guide us in the choices we make.
Describing God
So how should we describe this God? The first thing we have to realize is this God is Pure Oneness and we live in a world of duality. This means we can never fully describe God through words. While living in this world, we can only briefly experience God directly, and only by stepping outside our world for a time. These brief experiences can be wonderful, but it is also important to have some concept of what God is like while we live our everyday lives.
In this regard it’s helpful to try as best we can, within the limitations of language, to describe God using words. By doing so, we will be better able to understand what God is about and be better able to make choices within the world we believe we live today. There are many descriptive statements which might be made about God, but it will be sufficient to consider the following four aspects of God.
1 - God is All That Is, Everything. There is nothing that is not God.
2 - God is Mind, Thoughts, Ideas and nothing but Mind.
3 - God is Pure Love. All experiences of God are Loving.
4 - God Creates. God is not static, but is in a constant state of Creating.
If there were complete acceptance and belief in these four aspects, there would be nothing for us to learn. It is the goal of the Course to help us discover the barriers which prevent us from believing these ideas and to teach us how to remove those barriers.
1 – God is All That Is, Everything
Rather than just being omnipresent, in the Course God is everything. Nothing exists outside of God. If we believe we are experiencing something which is not God, we are simply fooling ourselves. Specifically this means the belief we are bodies or souls living in this world, and God is an entity outside of us, is an illusion. It is this fundamental illusion, the illusion of separation, that is at the heart of all of the negative experience in our world.
2 – God is Mind
One of the more radical concepts in the Course is that God is only Mind. The only true experiences are ideas in the Mind of God, and since only Mind is real, anything material, physical, corporeal, etc. must be an illusion. The entire physical world with all of its complexity is just an illusory thought, and if we believe something is solid, permanent, or objective, we are deluding ourselves. In the Course everything happens in our minds, and any change we want to see must take place in our minds.
3 – God is Pure Love
In our world it is difficult to imagine an experience of Pure Love, but it is fundamental to the Course that God is only Love. If we think we are experiencing a God which is in any way less than a Loving God, then that ‘God’ is another illusion. One of the barriers to the experience of God is to see a ‘God’ that is not Loving. A ‘God’ that is judgmental, punishing, or merely too remote and abstract to experience is not a Loving God and must be illusory.
4 – God Creates
It is important not to see God as a static experience. God is the Source of our being – our True Self is God’s creation, and this creation takes place in the Mind of God, which is the only place it can happen. Once created, this Self is fundamentally a co-creator extending the experience of God. Those creations occur in the Mind of God and therefore only exist and are only experienced in the Mind of God.
Through understanding and accepting this description of God, we will be better able to see the illusions of our world. Thinking about each of these four aspects will show us the contradiction the idea of separation presents us. If these aspects are reality, how can we be separate from a God of Everything? How can we believe in an external world while being part of a God of Mind? How can we see anything but Love in a God of Pure Love? How can we not have a purpose as co-creators with God?
Removing the Barriers
It is our job to learn to remove the barriers to the complete experience of God. These barriers are the non-loving thoughts we have in our minds which the ego uses to keep us focused on our belief in our separateness. These are our thoughts of anger, guilt, fear, pain, attack, etc. that mask the love that exists all around us. It is these thoughts that trap us in the illusion of a body living in an unpredictable and chaotic external world.
Fortunately the Course teaches us an antidote for all of these non-loving thoughts, the practice of forgiveness. This practice has the power to bring us closer to the God described by these four aspects. It has the power to remove the barriers and reveal the Love that exists within all of us. By following a simple three-step process, we can remove each non-loving thought and reveal the wonder of a truly loving reality.
This process of forgiveness begins with selecting a non-loving thought to forgive. Then take a moment to touch the place within where you can find the Holy Spirit, your connection to God. Then say “I forgive…” followed first by the names of everyone involved, followed by a description of the illusory event, and once more followed by “myself.” Pass all the negative emotions associated with the non-loving thought to the Holy Spirit. This part of your mind knows the illusory nature of this thought, and with this help, you will be free of these emotions.
Ultimately as we continue to forgive, we will come closer to accepting and truly believing the four aspects of God. And in time this will lead us beyond these dualistic descriptions of God to experiencing the True Oneness of God. When we reach that point, our True Home will reveal itself and all the craziness of the ego’s world will disappear. The four aspects of God will become the one aspect of our Self within the Loving Mind of God.

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