Who is Your Personal God
Sep 28, 2015
Who is your Personal God?
When the football season starts, the sight of the rabid fans of any team brings to mind a question that was asked while I attended a Cursillo in Christianity (a three day retreat where we explored many life questions) many years ago: “To discover your ideal, just observe where your thoughts, your free time, your money and energy go. There is your ideal.”
The answer to that question tells you who you really believe is your personal God. Unfortunately, the answer to that question to a very large percentage of westerners, and I suspect to most of the world, is the mundane things of the world. To many in the western world it is sports, Football in the U.S., and soccer ( or football, as soccer is known in most parts of the world) in many other parts of the world, especially the western world, even though soccer is held in great esteem in almost all of the rest of the world. Of course, hockey, baseball, and basketball hold their grip on many in all parts of the western world, especially hockey to our neighbors to the north, Canada.
The God of Sports
Sports! That seems to be the favorite fever pitch (unless war gets in the way) of the majority of our society. Much spare time, thoughts, money and energy is spent supporting any given sport, and seldom does a thought of the Eternal One, the All in All, the force of Life itself, enter into the discussion. In today’s society, if the discussion is not on sports, it is centered around politics and who will be the next president of the United States.
It is a challenge to all who claim that they believe in a Monotheistic religion, that is that there is only one God above all, even if some claim that there are three persons within that God, but whose lives proclaim otherwise: their working God is out on some field or in some arena and not just some God of Football, but the God of THIS team or THAT team. So the reality is that we can speak of thousands of gods, if we call what ones’ thoughts and energy is devoted to a god, or certainly an ideal, as asked in the opening paragraph.
All of the major prophets, such as Jesus, the Buddha, Mohammad, and all of the prophets throughout history have said the same thing: it is not what you claim you believe is truly what you believe, it is how you live your life that proclaims what you truly believe. Jesus was scathing on those who proclaimed the loudest what they believe (and demanded that others pay attention to how devoted they were) but who lived lives looking only at how holy they were, but Jesus spoke lovingly of those whose lives spoke of their belief, such as the poor widow who gave her all, small as it was, to the synagogue.
A Person’s Life Ideal
When I speak of a person’s Ideal, I am speaking of the sum total of goals that a person lives their life within. It is the combination of all goals that motivates a person and provides the symbol of happiness to each person. We all have a central Ideal, one that all other minor ideals pivot around, either consciously or unconsciously. For some, sports is a minor ideal, something to be enjoyed, and something that does not form the central theme of life. For others, and the football dad who vanishes for months on end before the television to watch the Game, reruns of the Game, and endless analysis of the Game, fits this category, and sports become the end-all of life, living vicariously through the actions of others and failing to have a life of their own. That is, for some of these, football (or whatever sport) becomes a person’s Ideal in life, and life slips by with no real meaning until it ends.
A person’s central ideal contains two key elements, whether known consciously or unconsciously. A central ideal has a vision, and contains motivation that activates the person to achieve that Ideal. If we are to achieve something meaningful in life, we should be able to speak of the vision we have, and the motivation to achieve that vision.
That word, Vision, is the key to living a meaningful life, a life filled with the joy of achievements and the wonders of fulfillment. We need to be able to articulate at least some form of the Vision, as usually the vision expands and becomes clearer as we strive to achieve the goals we have set. The title of Wayne Dyer’s last book, published just before his sudden death, “I can see clearly now”, says it all. He wrote this book talking about how his life has been affected by events and people that seemed to be just happen-chance, but where in reality where turning points in his life. So it is with us. We all have turning points, times when we made decisions sometimes just on a whim, such as my deciding to take the job on Long Island rather than the PhD scholarship at Ohio State because at age 25 I decided I wanted some adventure in my life, that led to changes in my life I could not have imagined at that time.
My vision at that time was small: to see what New York City was like, and earn some ‘real money’, as if 6k per year was large (it actually was for 1959). But as I met the love of my life, married, had children, got involved in leading church activities, my vision grew. I did not, for many years, lay out any definite path, and even today try to live in the ‘Now’ more often than not, but I get feelings and internal ‘nudges’ that points me in new or more complete directions and encourages me to try new adventures, such as retiring to have time to write and lead groups in new spiritual directions, and I have learned to follow these feelings without putting too much concrete expectation in them, but just curiosity and a knowledge that something good will happen, to see where I am being led to live next.
So for myself, when I speak of my Vision, I keep it general and as deep as I can; taking one step at a time, looking for direction as it appears, seeing glimmers of possibilities, listening to my feelings, and keeping my options open as to what I might find next. I would like to publish my book that I have just finished the rough draft. I plan on attending a Writer’s Workshop soon, and see what happens. Will I publish my book? Most likely yes, but I do not know how or when, or by what means.
Has my vision changed? Oh yes. My vision today, mentioned above, was not even on the horizon just a short time ago, that is, three years ago. I had reached most of my dreams, found myself lost in a kind of limbo, repeating myself everyday, and feeling more and more frustrated.
I had lost my feeling of a vision.
I had lost my motivation.
Even this stage of loneliness and emptiness is good, for my soul was empty, searching for the next direction that would come, and once again I rested my being in my God, waiting (though not too patiently) for events to unfold.
As I said, three years ago, I had lost my vision and my motivation. I had been involved with many different groups, usually in some type of leadership or teaching role ever since I was in my thirties, or about 50 years. I found myself without a group, as my thinking had shifted over the years, especially my understanding and knowledge of my God, and I did not know what to do. I felt restless and a strong feeling that I was not fulfilling the task I was given coming to this plane of existence and I was missing something at this time. I had been a highly motivated person all of my life, and had reached a satisfactory level of performance in my role as one of the owners of my company, but had lost the joy of invention, and I had lost all identity with life-giving spiritual groups. I had moved, internally, to a position where my internal beliefs did not match much of the beliefs of the various groups I was in, and had therefore removed myself (or had lost the motivational drive) from any leadership roles and, for most of them, my membership therein.
It was then that “fate”, or what is known as synchronicity, that is, events that just seem to come together at a given time for a unique purpose, stepped in. We all have events that just seem to happen at a special time, out of the blue, that sets a whole new way of thinking in motion. These are the times we must pay attention: God is speaking to us, right here, right now. These events prove to be pivot points in our lives, bringing new directions and new thinking into our lives at just the right moment. We can ignore them, and continue on our way buried in the ordinary things of life, or we can reach for the golden ring and discover a new way of life. I have shared this story before, but it bears repeating again, for it is the story of my God, the Eternal Love, whispering to me ways to fulfill my life’s desires, if I am not fully aware of these desires.
At Christmas 2012, a friend gave a book to Eileen, “No Ordinary Time”, by Jan Phillips. This is, by the way, a book I highly recommend. It covers a one week prayer time, written in a personal style, similar to the “Book of Hours”, containing psalms, reading, and commentaries, all by Jan telling facets of her personal story. Eileen thought I might like it, and gave it to me to read. Lo and behold, I found a kindred spirit, talking the same language that I was thinking. Two months later Eileen received a notice that Jan was leading a week-long retreat only about 50 miles from home. So both of us signed up to go, the first week of August 2013. I was the only male present in about 30 at the retreat. Jan encouraged me, and gave me names of people to talk with about my beliefs, and encouraged me to start to write. As a result, I started my blog, which has evolved into a book, met many new friends who think like I do, and now facilitate two groups that discuss various aspects of this thinking at the First Congregational Church in Binghamton.
Thus visions and motivations change. I have retired, even though still involved as one of the owners of the company, and find my time now filled with many exciting things. It is critical in life to live a life filled with motivation. In some ways, I envy Wayne Dyer. He was still filled with life at 75, giving talks all over the world, and I had expected to hear him at a conference this coming November. But he died in his sleep this past labor day weekend, still filled with motivation to help people and fulfill his mission in life.
Which he did, up to the last day of his life.
This brings up the question: Where do you spend your thoughts, energy, spare time, and those moments that are pauses in your Life? The answer to that question illustrates where your ideal is, or to put it more graphically, where your god is, that is the God of your life, your reality.
The answer to that question tells you where you are in relation to solving the purpose of your life.
My Beloved Wisdom, I bow in gratitude for opening up my eyes to the beauty of Possibilities; those possibilities that you place before me in Your Wisdom, that are like the trail markers on a path in deep woods that show the way to a destination, still shrouded in dim light, but a destination to help our world understand the possibilities of Life. I ask that you open the eyes of my fellow travelers, so that they may see more clearly where their mystical light is leading them in your wonderful and glorious universe. I am still delightfully enthralled by the vision and potential You have laid before me, and I pray that you help all of my fellow travelers to see the wonders that You spread before them. You have filled the world with wondrous gifts, and so many of our poor realm of humanity are still blind to these wonders, and I ask that You help humanity to see their own rich possibilities that fill the life around each person in this wonderful world.