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Embracing Godliness is not easy. It can be, but for most people it is not. That’s because most of us do not want to give up what we have to give up in order to “get Godly.”
As I look at those words I realize that to many, even the idea sounds arrogant. Do we really think that we can “become as God?”, or emulate the Divine? Isn’t that what Lucifer is said to have tried? Wasn’t he punished with everlasting damnation for his hubris in imagining that he could be equal to God? What right do we have to think that we could or should even try it?
Let’s assume for the sake of this discussion that it is “okay” with God for us to get as close to Godliness as we can. It’s okay for us to work toward that. (It may not be okay for us to actually get there, to actually become equal in Godliness to God Himself, but it is okay for us to try.)
If this is true, the mind then asks, “What does it take for us to do this?” We all want to know how to be better people. Of course, the world’s religions have been telling us how from the beginning of time, so it is not a question of insufficient information. It is a question of insufficient will.
Interestingly, the New Spirituality, which is what I write about here, extends to humanity the same invitation as more traditional religions. That invitation is to answer affirmatively the following questions:
Can I be patient? Can I be kind? Can I be compassionate, caring, sensitive, forgiving, gentle, accepting? Can I be encouraging, supportive, uplifting, inspiring? Can I be truthful, genuine, authentic? Can I be open, available, accessible? Can I be non-defensive, non-attacking, non-separate from others in every way? Can I be…truly be… loving?
The major difference between the New Spirituality and Old Time Religion is that most traditional religions invite us to embrace these behaviors as a means of moving toward perfection so that we can be worthy of returning to the presence of God in heaven, whereas the New Spirituality invites us to embrace these behaviors as a means of demonstrating that we are already in the presence of God; that, in fact, God lives in us, as us, though us.
This, then, is the defining characteristic of the messages of the New Spirituality: Lack of separation from God. The defining characteristic of the teachings of most religions is: Total separation from God, both now and perhaps even forevermore, depending upon our behavior.
So in the paradigm of Old Time Religion we act a certain way to get to God, and within the New Spirituality we act a certain way to experience that we never left God; that God never separated Divinity and Humanity, and that the two are One.
Yet the question implicitly folded into both thought systems is the same: What does it take to be the things we want to be? To be patient, kind, compassionate, caring, sensitive, forgiving, gentle, accepting, encouraging, supportive, uplifting, inspiring, truthful, genuine, authentic, open, available, accessible, non-defensive, non-attacking, non-separate, and truly loving?
That is the question. And the answer is the same for both old and new spiritual traditions. It takes Will. It takes a commitment to live a particular kind of life, to be a particular kind of person. It takes determination. And courage. And clarity as to what you are doing and why you are doing it. And it takes, yes, love. First, self-love–for. being humans who have believed for so long that we are not one with God, we will not doubt fail more often than we will succeed, especially in the “early going.” Then, love for others. The kind that knows no condition. The kind of love that God has for us.
And it takes a love of Life Itself. I mean, the whole process that we call Life. The ups, the downs, the in-betweens. The highs, the lows, the middle ground. It takes a willingness and an ability to see the entire life process, from birth to death, as an opportunity, not a travail, as an invitation, not a test, as a series of moments in which we can create, not a series of moments in which we can only react.
It is difficult sometimes. It can be very difficult. When life is full of pain, when life is covered with disappointment, when life is colored by hurt, when life, in short, does not seem worth living, we have to fight to re-discover a reason to go on, a reason for everything happening the way it is happening.
And the biggest challenge comes when we learn that things don’t “happen for a reason;” that God is not “up there” somewhere, deciding what to throw at us or what to present to us as a gift, in an ongoing celestial “game” of Let’s See What She Does With This. The real challenge is when we find out that things do not happen for a “reason” created by Someone Else, but that things do happen for a “purpose”–and that purpose is the purpose of all of Life: to create an ongoing context within which we get to announce and declare, enact and express, become and experience Who We Really Are, by deciding in each moment Who We Now Choose to Be.
There is more to say on this; I have more to say here. And so, until next time…I send you love.