Many of us know God from what we have been taught in church, or by family and friends. Now, we are told that our religions have taught us falsely that God is outside us. Because of this, many of us have never had a direct experience of God, of the God inside us. I read this article a long time ago, and periodically I return to it. Today is one of those days.
Many people say they believe in God, but believing in God is not the same as having a direct experience of God. Direct means first-hand—not second-hand. It is not hearsay or conjecture. Direct means something happens to you. You go through something, and then you can say you have had an experience. Throughout history, belief in God has resulted in people gathering for worship in churches, mosques and temples. All over the world people still congregate based on similar beliefs about God. But how many can really say they know God?
Love and faith are the two most important qualities that make a substantial relationship with God possible. Love pulls you to the Divine Being; faith expects that something real will happen. Love connects you and God together; faith brings trust that God will respond to your hopes. Love creates the opening for something genuine to occur in relationship with God; faith reaches out beyond what is comfortable, stretching you to feel and see what you long for with your whole heart, mind and soul.
A direct experience of God requires love and faith, both of which play integral roles in preparing you to meet God. With love and faith, you let the Divine Being know you care enough so that God will come and give you God’s Self. You have to silence the mind and the emotions and develop a stillness that can wait for a response from God. With meditation and prayer, a person can clear the mind of the world and the distractions of the senses in preparation for this meeting with God. God will come when you have cleared away all the other gods in your life, and this takes work, patient, and diligent effort.
The initial phase of this preparation can be somewhat discouraging because the most dark and detrimental parts of your nature show up for review. You just can’t ask God to come into a place soiled with dirt, confusion, and negative energy, so you will have to make a clean and wholesome space before you invite God to reside in you. Often you will need a Teacher–someone who has had a direct experience of God, who can see what needs to be drawn out of you–to help you clear the space within you.
All the mystics and saints have described direct experience of God in much the same ways. Each describes experiencing the love of their life in the embrace of God’s kiss and God’s presence. No fear can exist in the presence of God since God is all love and light. God is inside you and is loving you with every ounce you are willing to receive, and this experience will move you from belief to knowing. When you come into a direct experience of the God at the center of your being, it will change you completely, and you will know a profound peace that cannot be disturbed by the confusion of the world.
Innerchange • May/June 2009 21