Do you believe in God?
You know…. That higher power that watches over and is part of all things?
A former teacher of mine recently shocked me by saying they didn’t believe in God. That God was, more or less, a fairy tale to make people feel better about themselves and their lives. This teacher went on to say that if God did exist, then God must be evil or not care about the world.
This bothered me. It bothered me because I studied many aspects of the metaphysical and spiritual life under this particular teacher. I could not reconcile in my head how someone who is teaching New Age Spirituality cannot believe in God. How is that possible?
I can never, not believe in God. It’s not who I am. I may have my fights with God, I may get angry at God, I may seek help from God, and I may give thanks to God…. but I could never, not believe in God. Nor do I think God is evil or uncaring. In fact, I personally believe that God has a way of working through all people. When we are suffering, sad, alone and someone comes along and says the right thing, or does the right thing, or helps us overcome or feel better… I don’t think for a moment that any of that comes just because a person is a good person. I think, yes they may be a good person, but something higher and something far more than what I could ever be aware of is working through them.
I also personally believe that every single person alive has a spark of God within them. They may or may not choose to acknowledge and access this Divine spark – but I do believe all people are born with it. I believe that when one does acknowledge and learns how to access that inner spark of God that they are capable of amazing things. Some people call that Divine spark Christ Consciousness. Other people have other names for it, such as the higher self, higher mind, God mind, Christ mind, etc. Regardless, I think it is very much alive and well.
I also personally believe that God created everything and that everything God created is good. This means I believe that all people are born good. Now that doesn’t mean that people may not do bad things in the physical world, they certainly may and eventually will, but that’s their free will decision (and many time because they are not tuned into their inner spark of the Divine) that determines that. This also certainly doesn’t mean bad things don’t or aren’t going to happen in our world. Life is life. There’s always going to be good things and bad things that happen. There will always be natural disasters. There will always be divisions among the races, the rich and poor, even the republican and democrat. I believe the world was designed this way. Designed this way so that in our physical form we can grow, learn, evolve, and learn the true concepts of love, faith, and hope among other things.
So if a spark of God is in everyone and God creates all things good why is there evil in the world? Why do bad things happen to good people? Why can’t life be perfect?
Evil is in the world because people choose to allow it in the world and choose to behave in the physical world in such a manner. As I said earlier, this mostly happens when a person isn’t capable of accessing that inner spark of the Divine. In Christianity this free will decision to do bad is called sin.
People choose to murder, have war, steal, lie, cheat, and be mean. People choose to not help others and ignore others. People choose not to accept help or to feel ashamed for accepting it. People allow themselves to be revenge oriented and constantly feel they have to do one better than someone else. People get jealous and can’t stand when someone has something better than them, regardless of if they earned it or not. In fact, most of the evil which is in our world is there because people allow it to be there and choose it over good. The rest is because of random life events which we have no control over, but with which we beat ourselves up because we wish we had control over them. Even then, people choose to not ask for help or people choose to not help those experiencing and going through those events.
Why, though? Why do people choose evil or sin? Why do people choose to ignore that spark of God within? Because they are human. Because they have an ego which dictates things. Because there is an egoistic need for each individual to be “right” and for anyone else to be “wrong,” The ego is powerful. The ego in and of itself is not evil or bad, but too much of anything is never a good thing, and the same is true of ego.
So how do we overcome this? How do we become, for lack of a better phrase, better people? How do we foster the God spark within? How do we learn to be with God instead of against God?
Through the process of accepting that, we have an ego. By acknowledging that the ego can be a problem and by being alert to that fact. Here are five ways to balance the ego.
- Listen carefully to what other people say and resist the urge to defend yourself. Learn to thank people for providing insights, and yes, even correcting you. While such times may be hard on the ego and while the natural instinct is to say “you’re wrong,” stomp our feet and pout – we have to learn to acknowledge that regardless of if another is right or wrong we’re in life together as a team.
Some religions believe that all of us because we share this spark of the Divine, are one experiencing life as an individualistic thought of the multiple thoughts of the One Divine Energy. If this is true, then everything another person says to us, hurtful to the ego or not, has the potential for soul growth.
- Start working on your personal beliefs in the higher power, whatever you may call it. Again, I say God. I have a very close relationship with God. We fight, argue, disagree – but I also find strength, support, love, guidance and so many other amazing things from that close personal connection.
One of the best ways to develop this personal relationship is through the two-fold method of communicating – talking and listening.
We talk to the Higher Power when we pray, speak to it, journal, and use positive affirmations. We listen when we meditate, read, reflect, and pay attention to what we hear from others.
How often do you talk and how often do you listen? Do you talk more than listen? Do you listen more than talk? There must be a balance. Most of us only talk to the Higher Power when we really want something (vs. need) and when we really are grateful for something amazing. Would you treat your best friend that way? Only call them when you want something or want to say thank you for something they did for you? Of course not!
Work on talking often. Talking about your day, your ups, your downs, the good things, the things you wish could improve, etc. Listen more often too. Wisdom can come from so many places – yet most of us get stuck in thinking it can only come to us via one means…. When you talk and listen, repeatedly over time, you develop strong relations.
Not enough can be said for positive affirmations, for this very special method of communicating with the God within has the greatest potential to change outer circumstances.
- Learn to apologize to your fellow humans. None of us like having to do this. It’s an ego check for anyone to have to say sorry. We should say sorry often though and mean it. We should also resolve to not allow whatever we are apologizing for to happen again. When something happens once, it is a mistake. When it happens repeatedly it is no longer a mistake, but a problem. When something becomes a problem we need help – be we like it or not.
- Learn to give to others. Be it a financial donation, clothing, food, a place to stay for a few hours, your time, your love….. learn to give. A very important teacher once told me that a person should never loan anything to other people or invest in other people.
Both of these are ego driven for we end up feeling that we must get something back for doing so. Rather we should train ourselves to give to other people. Give unconditionally and without expecting anything in return. This is one of the deepest expressions of love – to give without expecting. This also activates a very powerful spiritual law which ensures that we will consistently and constantly be receiving back too.
This law is called the law of circulation. Essentially, what the law says is that what you give out you must receive back in some form, at some point, in equal or of greater value.
- Likewise, we must learn to accept from others too. When someone offers to do something for you is your instinct to say no, I can handle it? When someone wants and offers to buy you dinner, do you fight them on it and try to be the one paying for both of you? When someone wants to talk to you, do you find a way to push them away?
Accepting is the other part of giving. We can’t just give, we have to accept to. If you’re saying right now “I’m the one always giving, and nobody ever offers to do anything for me,” then you’re not aware enough to realize that yes, they have. Optionally, you may be giving because you’re expecting that someone will do something for you and if that’s the case you’re not giving, but you’re investing or loaning in hopes that it’s repaid.
Additionally, it only makes sense that if everyone has a spark of God within them that when other people want to do for us, it is because the Higher Power is behind it. Who in their right mind would turn down an offer from the Higher Power? That’s like the story of the man and the flood.
He prayed that he would be saved from the flood. A police officer comes by and recommends that he evacuates. He responds “God will save me!” The flood comes, and he can’t go anywhere. A man in a boat comes by and asks him if he wants to be taken to safety. The man responds “God will save me!” The flood covers the house, and the man is now on the roof. A helicopter comes by, and someone drops a ladder and tells him to climb aboard the helicopter. “God will save me!” The man finally dies.
He is now in Heaven. He asks God, “Lord, why didn’t you save me?!” God tells him “I sent you a police officer, a boat, and a helicopter, what more could I do?”
This story is an example of how God works through everyone and how each of us holds within us the answers to someone’s prayers and needs. It is also a marvelous example of how sometimes we believe we should get those things we pray for, or that Spirit will help us, yet fail to take action on our part.
It’s never good enough to just pray. It’s never enough to just meditate. It’s never enough to just study. There must be constant and consistent action; preferably action which is somehow tied to and focused on the very goal, concept, or idea that we focus our spiritual disciplines on.
I personally believe that when we keep these factors in mind, we go long ways in helping to make the world a better place and in becoming more spiritual in our life journey.
I hope this has been insightful and helpful.