Junior Ganymede
We endeavor to give satisfaction

“God’s DNA”: Looking for God within, as well as without

June 16th, 2015 by Bruce Charlton

God is within us as well as without us: He is within us, built-into us, because we are His children.

(A mortal analogy would be that every child contains his parents’ DNA – thus, each of us contains ‘God’s DNA’.)

Perhaps this fact is neglected in our spiritual lives?

We pray, of course, as best we may – we give thanks, we ask for guidance, we petition. Also in prayer we seek confirmation and encouragement.

Sometimes, however, prayer ‘doesn’t work’ – or doesn’t feel as if it is working. Then, perhaps, might be a good time to remember God is also within us – and to look-within, meditatively, rather than looking ‘outwards’, as in prayer.

The method and result of this distinctively Christian meditation (a meditation done in knowledge of, and directed towards, our loving Heavenly Father within) provides another, qualitatively different, potentially valuable spiritual ‘exercise’ – along with a life of prayer.

*

(Of course, we might consider meditation to be simply one variety of prayer itself – but perhaps it is helpful to regard meditation as inward-directed, in contrast to prayer as outward-directed; in order that if we are failing to do one of them properly, or have become fatigued, or seem not to be getting what we need – we might try again with the other.)

Comments (49)
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June 16th, 2015 23:12:44
49 comments

David
June 17, 2015

Just what I needed to hear. At times prayers can seem to have diminishing returns, whereas connecting with an inner peace and awareness of the divine can be nourishing spiritually. I sort of stopped meditating when i became a Christian (formerly a lay Buddhist) and replaced my regular meditation practice exclusively with prayer, but I can see now that both approaches are consistent with a Christian approach that are worth pursuing. I will give it a go. Could you recommend any accessible texts to guide a Christian Meditative/Contemplative practice Bruce? Thanks for this post.


Bookslinger
June 17, 2015

I liked the book “Do Your Prayers Bounce Off the Ceiling?” by Grant Worth. (Usually available used from ebay or Amazon.)

Another way that God is within us is the Light of Christ, a.k.a. our Conscience. This is also accessible through meditation, and through _listening_ during and after prayer. The Light of Christ/Conscience is a semi-regular topic of LDS General Conference talks. See http://www.lds.org/conference.


Bruce Charlton
June 17, 2015

Zen
June 17, 2015

CS Lewis likened this to learning to walk – that God sometimes withdraws His presence so we can try to do it on our own. This is a measure of his trust, faith and confidence in us. He is helping us grow, and seeing what we do on our own.


crow
June 17, 2015

Wanting nothing leads to wanting for nothing. Which is why what is generally considered to be prayer, works so poorly, so often.
Meditation, by contrast, looks for nothing that is not already there. Best kept secret in life!


Vader
June 17, 2015

I think it is impossible to love without finding that you are wanting. You love your children; you find that you are wanting in providing for them emotionally, mentally, and materially.

Hence, proper prayer is associated with a loving relationship with God.


G.
June 18, 2015

Wanting nothing leads to nothing. God offers All to those who desire All.


crow
June 18, 2015

I see inversion has claimed Christians just like it has claimed everybody else. R.I.P religion.
Meanwhile, God remains blissfully unmoved by the antics of his erstwhile adherents, who, demonstrably adhere to nothing more than their own gain.


Jack Lewis
June 18, 2015

It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.


Andrew
June 18, 2015

Crow – Christ shed tears for Lazarus.


crow
June 18, 2015

Jesus was a human, not yet free from emotion.
God, aka Reality, has no such weakness.


Andrew
June 18, 2015

Crow – I’m not a Mormon, but my understanding is that they do not believe God is free from emotion. There is a book by Terryl Givens titled “The God Who Weeps: How Mormonism Makes Sense of Life”.


Vader
June 18, 2015

Indeed. Mormonism emphatically rejects the notion of God as the complete Other.


MC
June 18, 2015

“Jesus was a human, not yet free from emotion.”

Not yet? I suppose the poor fellow has gotten over those pesky feelings of love and concern for Lazarus and all the rest of us by now. What a relief.


crow
June 18, 2015

My wife has a quaint way of saying: “As long as it makes you happy, dear”, in an old-lady-ish accent.
Sure. Why not ridicule Jesus, too. Who among you would even recognize him, on his next fly-by, let alone give his words any credence? Those words would have to fit the current narrative, wouldn’t they? And you can be very sure they wouldn’t.


Spock
June 18, 2015

While a laudable goal, logic, and a reading of the Scriptures would dictate that God has emotion, and yet has “overcome the World”. He has overcome or conquered all evil in emotion. Which is perhaps (?) what you meant.


crow
June 18, 2015

No. What I meant was what I said. In the realms of God, emotion is a non-event. There isn’t any. Emotion is a purely flesh and blood thing, chemically driven, and over indulged in, like so many other chemicals.
Having been there, I am now orders of magnitude less emotional than I once was, but like Jesus, not yet immune.
To assign emotion to God, you’d have to seriously believe God is a human. How likely do you feel that is?
Thou shalt have no idols before me: especially not ones portraying yourselves as your God.


Zen
June 18, 2015

Crow – I would be interested in seeing your take on verses like “Jesus wept” or verses indicating God was angry, or pleased in the New Testament.

Are you saying there are no good emotions? Joy, pleasure, love, etc ?


crow
June 18, 2015

Literal language for human understanding of things beyond understanding. In the realms of God, understanding neither exists, nor has any reason to exist. This is the nature of Reality. It is what it is.
Only humans make something of something, assigning positive or negative value to it.
There is no mind, no brain, no understanding, no emotion and no discrete ‘identity’. Yet it is perfect in every respect.
Eye of the needle…
Nothing is small enough to pass through, but one’s divine soul, unhindered by anything else.


crow
June 18, 2015

I should add: this is, of course, the primary goal of meditation. To unhinder oneself, to the near-impossible point of de-facto death, with the option to continue living.
Enlightenment, that state hardcore meditators take aim at, is a preview of death. A worthy goal, that can illustrate the value of casting aside all goals.
Amusing to consider God having goals, no?
Let it be!


Vader
June 18, 2015

Mormonism also emphatically rejects mysticism.


crow
June 18, 2015

Well that’s smart. A journey towards truth where no truth is allowed.
But I know nothing about Mormonism, in contrast to knowing plenty about truth.
Is this a Mormon site? I should know that, I suppose.


Zen
June 18, 2015

If God is incapable of explaining Reality, then He is a sub-par deity.

And if God has no mind or brain… he isn’t a god at all in any substantive respect. Or at least He would not be capable of any intelligent action.

I appreciate you sharing that, but I have experienced (in fantastically small amounts) the Love of God, as well as his caring and his understanding. And since God is not a God of lies, but a God of Truth, I can only conclude that what He has is infinitely more perfect and refined than what I have.


Zen
June 18, 2015

Vader – I would not be quite so dogmatic about that. In many respects, Joseph was a mystic.

But don’t read too much into that. I say this, while rejecting neo-gnosticism and New Age unhinged belief.

With all due respect, Crow.


crow
June 18, 2015

The thing that will continue to hinder you, and your notion of your God, is seeing that God in human terms.
Nothing is human beyond human death. Not even humans.
And since God was never human, beyond mortality as humans know it, God is still not a human.
Jesus was a human, who saw the same things I have seen, as a result of the same process.
He spoke of it in the language of that time, to people of that time, and did his best to convey what he knew.
As I do now.
I concede, in his day, he probably had more success than I do in the present.
But whatever. I deal in certain knowledge, gained through experience. Those who have a use for it, will heed. Those who don’t, won’t.


Vader
June 18, 2015

Zen,

Hugh Nibley wrote a good essay once on the distinction between mysticism and prophecy. He, too, concluded that mysticism has nothing to do with true revelation. I think part of the problem is that mysticism in the narrow philosophical sense I am using here, which applies fully to what crow is sharing, is rather different from mysticism in the vernacular sense.

Crow,

You have hinted that your mystical experiences have been crucial to overcoming some form of substance abuse. I am hesitant to speak against anything that has helped you break the grip of an addiction.

But I feel the need to say that my own experience with God has been very different from anything you or any other mystic has described. My experiences have been of a deeply personal nature; by which I mean an interaction with a real Person whose love for me is overwhelming. At those moments, I have felt my intellect magnified, my negative feelings subdued, and my positive feelings enhanced to a degree I have experienced in no other way. I become more loving to everyone around me and more moved to do good. It seems to me that this experience is in perfect harmony with the New Testament, which among other things tells us that God is love.

I have anger management issues. Nothing has helped me with them more than these personal experiences of God.

And from my reading of the New Testament, I do not myself find credible the notion of Jesus as Zen Master. (Jesus as Zen’s Master is another matter.)


crow
June 18, 2015

You inferred substance abuse all by yourself. I’ve had no such issues, other than one episode with hospital morphine, while being almost completely dead šŸ™‚
My reference to having ‘been there’, described being with, of, and actually God. In the presence-of, as well as being inseparable from it.
Not a mind-thing, nor a drug thing. Not an any kind of ‘thing’. For real, only more-so.

Funnily enough, I was left with the impression that people might be interested in such a thing, but it would seem not. Now that really is mysterious.


Vader
June 18, 2015

I might, but your experience of God is very different from mine, and I suspect from most the community here.

Candidly, in comparison, I don’t find your description of your experience very appealing.


crow
June 18, 2015

Quite so. It involves ego-death, and ego is far more important to your average joe than God is.
I mean, without ego, what would average joe have left?
The only God he might run to subscribing to would be the kind that had joe’s personal problems and welfare, in the forefront of his non-existent mind.

Ego death is freedom unimaginable. And the only possible way to experience God while still living.
It’s far too simple for most people, complicated as they are. Which, incidentally, was what the bible referred to by ‘the poor’. Simple people. Not caught up with big dreams, desires, goals and other neuroses.

Blessed are the simpletons, the fools, and the humble.
Those whose minds are empty.
Especially of preconceptions.


Vader
June 18, 2015

I still fail to see the appeal. All you’ve offered are an experience of God, which you can’t describe well enough to suggest why it might be desirable, and “freedom unimaginable”, which I think is quite literally true.

I am not sure I understand this freedom. I don’t think it means the power to act, which is how I understand freedom, but rather freedom from … well, basically everything. Which is nihilism.

What you are describing is the extinguishing of awareness. If you find the burden of Being to be that unbearable, then I pity you.


crow
June 18, 2015

Thank you. Your pity is better than overt insult.
We have nothing further to discuss.


Vader
June 18, 2015

You are, of course, free to leave any time you like.

Our comment forums are open. That makes this site analogous to Adam G.’s front porch, where friends, family, and neighbors are always free to drop by and join the bull session.

It is, nevertheless, Adam’s porch.

When a stranger comes up and plops himself down in one of the rocker chairs, then tries to take over the conversation without much bothering to introduce himself, to get to know Adam and his neighbors, to understand what kind of community he has joined, or even to pay much mind to what conversation we were having (other than to latch onto the first phrase he hears and run with it in an entirely different direction) our eyebrows kind of go up.

Yes. You should have known this was a Mormon site rather sooner than your eighth post. It suggests that you weren’t all that much interested in the conversation we were having before you dropped in.

We’re fairly welcoming to strangers. After all, no one is stranger than I am. But we do appreciate some simple courtesies.


crow
June 18, 2015

I’ll take your advice and leave forthwith.
Now I know more of Mormons than I did.
I’m even less impressed with you than are you with me.
Happy trails.


Zen
June 19, 2015

Crow,

a bit of your problem, is that you are trying to entice to the unimaginable and unexplainable, by trying to explain and getting us to imagine it. Most of what you have said is what God is not. If the ultimate goal is Nothing, then that doesn’t bear much resemblance to the eternal mansions promised in Holy Writ.

I have also felt this Eternal Presence, His love, concern, His patience and mercy. And while we also seek ultimate humility, my experience is, that for everything I give up, God gives me something better, even if not immediately.


Andrew
June 19, 2015

Crow – I used to follow your blog years ago. My understanding is that you have feelings of nurturing, love, and compassion towards animals. You seem to be implying those actions and feelings are meaningless or pointless, whereas Mormonism takes the reverse position and holds our best nature as ideal in pursuing to be like God.

Mormons don’t dismiss human qualities as meaningless, but believe love is of eternal and universal importance.


G.
June 19, 2015

“My experiences have been of a deeply personal nature; by which I mean an interaction with a real Person whose love for me is overwhelming. At those moments, I have felt my intellect magnified, my negative feelings subdued, and my positive feelings enhanced to a degree I have experienced in no other way. I become more loving to everyone around me and more moved to do good. It seems to me that this experience is in perfect harmony with the New Testament, which among other things tells us that God is love.”

Very well put.

***

In general, I have hard time seeing how the view that emotions are nothing but chemicals can be reconciled with either the view that emotions aren’t part of reality or the view that God exists (i.e., that we don’t inhabit a purely material universe).

If emotions are just chemicals, then in a material universe, they are part of reality. Alternatively, the only way chemicals couldn’t be part of reality is if you deny the material world altogether. In that case, it makes no sense to speak of emotions being caused by chemicals. Instead, emotions are part of consciousness and are part of reality.


Vader
June 19, 2015

crow tried to make this a very different conversation than the one we were having. Nevertheless, he’s inadvertently contributed to that conversation, by illustrating a potential pitfall to the notion of meditation as looking for God within.

The problem being that you lose the vital component of a frame of reference.

I am all for pondering, which I think is rather a different think than meditation, and does indeed involve some inwards looking.


crow
June 19, 2015

No pitfall, instead, an essential component.
What you lose is the misunderstanding of the process.
You lose identity. It is identity that sits back and judges all it perceives, thereby separating itself from that which it contemplates.
As long as identity reigns, consciousness can not.

There comes a moment of sheer terror, when self realizes that to go further will result in death. How devoted are you? Is your devotion focused enough to give up your life? You will continue on, or flee in fear.

And you do die, if you choose not to flee. You can never come back. The former you is gone for good, and the new you is born. Born again. Sound familiar?

Instead of contemplating God as a separate entity, the separation is gone, and you know God, and that you are God, and that God is everything. There is nothing to understand. It is mystery, and mystery is the natural state of this thing.

None of this is important, in the greater picture, but to the born again soul, it is sublime. God doesn’t care about you, because to God, there is no you. There is only God.

Try not to invert all of this to further demonstrate your inability to understand English. It is truth. It may not align with what you currently consider to be truth, but that does not make it untrue. There is nothing so spectacularly unimportant as the things that people think.


Andrew
June 19, 2015

Crow – You should realize that Mormons, and Christians in general, believe in a personal relationship with God as a loving Father. Many Mormons have personal experience and testimony that verifies this as reality, as written above – it isn’t mere speculation.

At this point you’re essentially trolling, and completely talking past the people you claim to talk to. If you’re truly free from attachment and thought, etc., why bother? What is your motivation to spread the “truth”?


crow
June 19, 2015

So, as usual, I’m a troll. Fine. Nice knowing you.
EOL


Vader
June 20, 2015

“So, as usual, Iā€™m a troll.”

I sense you have had this conversation before, at other sites.

I do not myself consider you a troll. I think you actually believe what you are touting. Trolling is not your plan.

What I find disturbing is your failure to hear anything anyone else here has said, except “Meditation good”. In other words, you rode in on your hobby horse and tried to hijack the thread.

You’re welcome to drop by again, but only if you’re dropping by to join our conversation rather than commandeer it.


Bookslinger
June 20, 2015

Crow, I find that attempting to take higher dimensions of space and time into accounts helps link God to our reality. If God were a 4th-dimensional being (or higher), what would his attributes, capabilities, and powers be, as viewed from a 3D-bound standpoint by 3D creatures such as us? What are the characteristics of 4D matter as viewed from 3D space?

Carl Sagan’s “Flatland” presentation on Youtube helped prod my imagination.

And, what if there are multiple dimensions of time? We are on a one-dimensional time-line. But what would/could the attributes, characteristics, and powers be of a being who resides in, or has access to or can access two or more dimensions of time?

What if moving in a 4th (or higher) physical dimension is related to moving or looking through/across a 2nd (or higher) dimension of time?

Such speculation and an illustration of 2 dimensional time was given by Kurt Vonnegut in one of his novels. I think it was Slaughterhouse Five. I think it was the one with Trafalmador.

There was also a very cool dialogue in one of the Star Trek Deep Space Nine episodes, between Cisco and the “Worm Hole Aliens” that gave tremendous insights into what our one-dimensional-time-bound world must look like to beings who live “outside of” or “above” our time-line, or our space-time.

One of the main reasons we can’t seem to reconcile God to our existence is that both religionists and scientists have failed to educated us about higher dimensions. We seem to think only in 3D space and in linear time. (And most people only think in 2D space, let alone 3D.) And religionists have parsed and shrouded the Judeo-Christian scriptural descriptions of God in such mystical wishy-washy nonsense, that the likely connections to higher dimensions are hidden.


crow
June 21, 2015

Make up your collective minds. Either you wish to discuss with me, or you don’t. I’m fine with both. I’m not selling anything, and whether or not what I have to say is listened to, is neither here nor there.
Fact is, wherever I show up, all hell breaks loose. I say things people can’t cope with. If I didn’t, there would be nothing to say.

Bookslinger: time is nothing like humans think of it.
Everything, everywhere, always, is the state of enlightenment. All of time, now. Everything, here. Everywhere at once. This is what God is. A state of what exists.
Humans live behind a wall of thick insulation. Almost nothing gets through it. Yet they don’t have to live in such a way.
If you wish to know God, you can. Not in your imagination, and positive thoughts, but beyond thought, and out into the reaches of infinity.

And now: make me welcome, or stop poking me. I am not your enemy.


Vader
June 21, 2015

I’m happy to discuss with you. But I’m not interested in what you have insisted on discussing so far. It’s classical mysticism, which I decided I wasn’t interested in long ago.

“Fact is, wherever I show up, all hell breaks loose.”

Yes. However, your explanation for why this is so seems inadequate to me. You may wish to reflect on this.


G.
June 21, 2015

Crow,
the common factor in everywhere you’ve showed up is you. Be civilized, stop preaching de haut-en-bas, or vamoose.


crow
June 21, 2015

I shouldn’t exist, then? For the comfort of all people, everywhere? Actually, the common factor is mindless twits unable to not be agreed-with in their familiar delusions, and obvious self-importance.
I speak of what I know, nothing more. It suggests to me how very little others know. They are unable to conceive of anything other than opinion and dogma.
Yea, verily, after seven days of toil, did I form the flat earth.
How hopeless humans are. No wonder God vacated the parts in which they dwell.


Andrew
June 21, 2015

Crow – You’re accusing others of the same behavior you engage in.


crow
June 21, 2015

Did I start out attacking anyone? No.
People consistently confuse a breathtaking defense for an initial attack.
See how you accuse me. Accuse me of accusing. Accusations are the usual stock in trade for anyone encountering anyone remotely unusual who is able to adequately stand up for himself, and for what he knows to be true.
And, ironically, such people are always the first to champion the crazy notion of ‘equality’.

It took somebody else’s comment, some time back, to clarify things for me.
“Look at him,” he wrote. “He’s spectacular. He mops the floor with all of you, without even trying, and you’re all so wrapped up in yourselves that you don’t even notice. You’re all addicted to him…”

I’ve never, ever, initiated conflict. But I’ve had, through my life, to become very practiced at dealing with it, once it comes my way. One of my little areas of expertise, as is meditation, which is what this thread was about, before you started in on me for not being exactly like you.

By the way, ‘G’:
Do you deliver lines like that to your pastor? Would you to, say, Jesus?
Probably it wouldn’t appear to you that others were talking down to you, if you knew your stuff, and were more confident in what you are.
It’s actually very common for one who knows what the listener manifestly doesn’t, to attempt to explain what he knows to the listener.
The only reason you see so little of that is, the spectacular lack of knowledge inherent in contemporary examples of mankind.

So if you fine examples of Mormonism actually want me to disappear, it’s easily achieved. Resist the urge to comment at, or about me. Decline to attack. Refuse to abuse. Or, in internet parlance: Do Not Feed The Troll.


Vader
June 21, 2015

crow,

Contrary to your assertion, when I look back over my thread, it is clear to me that you are the one who initiated the conflict.

So I’ve decided I was mistaken, and Andrew was correct. You really are a troll, escalating the provocation with every response you provoke.

So you’re done here.

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