"Created in the image of God"
I thought I would take a moment to share my spiritual journey pre-enlightenment and post-enlightenment. Enlightenment may be the wrong word, but it sounds better than something else.
I have been Catholic my entire life, and still go to a Catholic Church, but over the past year my mind regarding spirituality has shifted. Through deep introspection and examination I have come to the conclusion that what I used to think about religion, and divinity in general, has, well, changed.
I would say the biggest change is my open-mindedness towards other faiths and belief systems. I have intentionally sought, and found; asked, and received – mostly in religious terms, but also regarding life in general.
I have thought about writing a book about my preconceived notions of Biblical scripture before my awakening and re-examining them after. Spiritual awakening, that’s a good term - probably more appropriate than “enlightenment” for this transformation.
Through my studies and self-reflection I have determined all faiths share one eternal truth – we all contain a soul, spirit, true-self that goes beyond the physical. This Being is immortal and has always been and will always be. It will continue long after we are gone from this Earth. This idea was easy to grasp and straight forward, but it led me to begin asking other questions.
During this journey I began contemplating God, what He is, how He is, where He is, who He is. I looked to the Bible, ancient Hindu texts, the wisdom of Buddha, and others. I found again that no matter what religion someone professes to believe is the truth, they all shared the same answer.
God is eternal. God is everywhere. God always has been and always will be. God is light. God is love. In other words, God isn’t an old man with a white beard. I don’t know how that image came to be, but it’s more appropriate for describing Zeus or some other mythological being.
Before I began this process of searching for answers I probably would have described God as a man with a beard that sits in the clouds. I’m sure many others would as well; and probably still do. I, on the other hand, have completely transformed my vision of God.
Today I view him as an invisible source of energy that fills the universe – creator of all that is seen and unseen. This realization led me to pursue this path further. While in meditation one morning a question and ultimately an answer came to mind. The question was based on an accepted theological question by many spiritual teachers, scholars, and believers.
It originated from a simple, yet profound, Bible verse. I thought about my revelation of what God is, and it reminded me of the Book of Genesis. Specifically, Genesis 1:26-27. Genesis states:
1:26 And he said: "Let us make Man to our image and likeness..."
1:27 And God created man to his own image; to the image of God he created him; male and female, he created them."
Knowing what I know God to be, if we are created by God in his image, then we must be an eternal, spiritual, all-loving being also. However, if we look at this from a worldly view we may differ. So in essence, to rectify this situation, we can’t look at ourselves from a purely worldly view.
In other words, we aren’t what we see. We aren’t what we do. We aren’t what we experience. We are more than that. We aren’t our bodies. If we we’re truly created in God’s image than God would have to look like us. God would have to be a human-like being. Maybe this is where the notion of an old man with a white beard originated. I now realize this is a superficial representation of God; however, like I stated before, one that many still have. And sadly, one that many still preach.
If God is light and love and all these other great things we must be that too. And if God is eternal, we must be that too, at least to some degree. And if we look like God - and God doesn’t look like a human being – than our true self, the image God created must not look like a human being either.
So what is our true self that looks like God? It would have to be our spirit, soul, or whatever word you choose to describe that. I feel like I have unlocked this amazing secret. I call it a secret because it wasn’t blatantly told to me before. I feel like I was lead to believe all these things about what God is and what we are and none of it was true. I don’t know if I misinterpreted the information, the facts were misrepresented, or if those teaching and preaching haven’t yet realized the truth.
Either way, I know feel confident that I know who I really am and what God really is. I see myself now as looking at things on a deeper level than before. Not accepting things just because I was told to by someone else. It brings a whole new meaning to the words “seek and ye shall find. Ask and ye shall receive.”
I want to re-iterate, maybe all along I was just confused on what was being said. I wonder if other people feel like they are actively being taught the version of my pre-Spiritual Awakening or the post-Spiritual Awakening. I’m curious if other people agree or disagree with my new stance on this issue.
I really wonder now if other people are actively searching, or just accepting. I really hope others are seeking, asking, and ultimately finding. I know that I am just at the beginning of this incredible journey, but I am looking forward to where it ultimately leads.
How do you know if you are right if you don’t know what others believe?