THEOSOPHY, Vol. 12, No. 10, August, 1924
(Pages 466-468; Size: 7K)
WHERE SHALL WE FIND GOD?
IN our search for that unknown God which we instinctively feel must be somewhere, but where, we know not, we look anywhere but where He may be found. At those rare times when a man gives thought to Deity, he regards It as a Being somewhere else, some other time; not as a living Presence in the heart of man himself, so strongly race ideas hold all men in sway. The idea of a far-off God is engendered by teachings and by the example set in the lives of those we have been pleased to call our teachers, but who themselves are as ignorant as the taught as to where God may be found.
How can God be afar off? If He is a being, then we and all other beings must be outside of God. If God is one thing and we another, then all beings are not God, but apart from Him. If they are outside Him, how can they ever know anything of Him except from the outside? If God is a Being, however vast or powerful He may be, He must be finite, conditioned, limited, for He cannot be omnipresent. Such a being, however powerful in knowledge and beneficence, in range and reach of action, could not be fundamental; could be known to us only by hearsay, by testimony at second hand. Unless we set aside the concept that the Deity is a being of any kind, it is plain that the Deity must in the very nature of things remain to us forever unknown and unfound.
Let us take another view. Whatever we are and whatever we may think of ourselves or of Nature, the nearest, the most familiar, the most intimate thing that can possibly be for us is our life. Yet, we are so acidulated by the sense of separateness induced by the conception of God as a being outside us and far off from us that even when we think of ourselves we make a division; when we say "our life," we imply that our life is one thing and we are something else. To say "I" is simply to speak of the life here present which is myself; there is identity between "me" and my life. To grasp that idea is to have made a distinct approach to the Unknown God -- unknown, only because of our ignorance of our own real, true natures.
If we broaden our view of that Life which is in each one of us, can we not see that the Life in this body and the Life in that body is one and the same Life? that the matter in this form and the matter of which that form is composed is one and the same matter? If so, then we are able to distinguish between the substance and the shadow, between the form and the reality; for the reality in one body is the Life that inhabits it; the reality in all other bodies is the Life that inhabits them, and all the time it is one and the same Life. There is a distinction between one form and another form, whether physical or mental; there is no difference in the matter of which those forms are composed. The real of an object is the substance of which all objects are formed.
Now, to take a third step: Approach the Life within a body through any of its gates. Knock at the doors of sight. Whatever presents itself before our eyes, instantly our whole consciousness becomes an image. Knock at the gates of speech; instantly the whole consciousness reacts to sound. How quickly the gates of sound, our hearing, and our gates of sight, our power of perception, are thrown hospitably wide to sympathetic approach! Such is the approach of love, in the world below man, in the world of man, or in worlds higher than man. He who comes to me loving me, seeking naught but to do me service, always finds my casements flung wide for his entry; but, if the life which surrounds us is none other than identical with the life within us, how can we know the life outside of us, looking on it with suspicion? In all religions God is a thing to be worshipped; that is, to get from Him what we desire. God, surnamed the Devil, is a thing to flee. How can the man with that kind of ideas gain any conception of where God may be found? But if we were to attune our powers of perception to the Life that is ourselves and to the Life that is in all these other forms, and to the Life that is in the sun, and in the moon; and in the stars, and in the earth; in the air, in the water, in the fire; if we were to listen to Life, do you think we should fail to hear the still small voice of Life itself? Do you think we should fail to find the God which is, in very fact, ourselves? It is not that God is unknowable; it is that God is unknown.
How often our hearts swell, pollenized by some great and noble truth which we feel! We literally become impregnated, fecund; yet, when we try to convey to another through words that which we know in a sense altogether different from the ordinary conception of knowledge, what does that other grasp? It is difficult to help those who most need help. But if we were able to address the Life in each other directly, there would be no need of speech. Life addressed direct answers like the nerve in the body, and rises to the level of Life behind form, reaching whatever distance in time or space.
When a man realizes that the life pulsating in his body is no more his life than the tide which pulses on the sands of the shore is his tide, and that the waves of thought and feeling and desire throbbing and dying and throbbing again the livelong day are no more his life than the breaking waves of that tide are the tide or are the sea, then he loses sight of bodies, of the senses, of the differences between one mind and another, and Life becomes his speech. He speaks directly with his fellow lives, for they are One with himself. He sees that God is not outside or separate from himself, but that verily he is in his innermost nature that God which he searches for; and all other beings are also God. He realizes what Christ must have meant when He said, "I and my Father are one, even as you and your Father are one." He searches no more for God; the Unknown God is found.
Studies in Karma
(Part 8 of a 60-part series.)
Back to the
complete list of articles.
Back to the full listing containing all of the
"Additional Categories of Articles".