One often hears people say, “There is only one God; the God of the Christians, Jews, or Muslims is the same God. We should all live in peace, because we all worship the same God.”
In my meditation today, I wondered if I agree with this statement.
The God of the Muslims orders his followers to kill infidels. That is literally what one of the sutras (chapters) of the Quran says.
The Christian God, like Zeus, has a child with a human.
The Jewish God is jealous and controlling: He orders the believers around, telling them what to do and what not to do, and threatens them with a long list of punishments and disasters if they do not obey.
Are these three Gods the same?
And than I wondered: Who is my God? None of the above appeals to me. But I do believe in God. Who is my God then?
Two years ago, I joined the Sahaj Marg meditation community (“Sahaj marg” means “the natural way.”) I joined because I thought it would be good for me to learn to meditate.
I got much more than I expected. I found my God.
Let me explain.
This meditation starts off in the morning with a prayer that says, in part: “Oh, Master, You are the true goal of human life, for all we are is slaves to wishes that bar our advancement.”
Let us analyze the prayer.
“The Master” is God. We pray of getting united with Him. What holds us back from becoming one with God are our wishes, our desires, which enslave us and bar our advancement.
Wishes, desires, and expectations are expressions of being dissatisfied with what we have right now. We want, wish, expect something else, something we do not have.
Why do wishes enslave us?
Because wishes, wants, and expectations are a moving target. Whatever we get may satisfy us for a short period of time; then a new wish or want will emerge. It never stops. We are enslaved to this moving target.
We will stop being slaves when we are free of wanting and wishing and expecting.
How will that happen?
What drives wishing and wanting is the ego. And the ego assumes that we are in control of our destiny. It assumes that we can achieve our wants and wishes, and thus find happiness. You might think to yourself, “If I had a million dollars, I would be happy.” But are you sure, or would you then want to have two million, and when you have two, to want five, etc. etc. etc.
We will be free when we cage the ego and remove it from running our lives. When we accept that we are not in control. (You’ve heard the adage, “We plan, but God has other plans for us”––or, “Man plans; God laughs.” How many times you found that this is true?)
We will become united with God when we stop believing that we are in control. And I mean not when we die, as the Jewish and Christian religions believe. No. I mean in this life when we surrender. When we stop wishing.
Does that mean we should just sit there and have no wants, no wishes, and no expectations. Be vegetables? What will we do with ourselves? There will be no progress.
It took me a long time to realize the answer to the above doubts. Finally I understood that what I should do should not be driven by “wants” but by reality, by “what is.”
We will continue to act. We will do. There will be progress. We will not be vegetables. But what we will do will be driven by real needs, the “is,” instead of “wants”, i.e., desires.
Here is a simple example: When I go shopping, should I shop for the things I want, which have no end, or should I shop for the things I need, which are finite.
And the answer is that what I should do––should be driven by “is,” not by “want.”
Now, where is God?
In Sahaj Marg and according to all religions, God dwells in our hearts.
What does this have to do with the first part of this essay?
Think about how different my God is from the God of the Jewish, Christian, or Muslim religions. That God gives you orders and a manual. All you have to do is comply. My God has no manual and does not give me orders. To find him, and to find out what to do, I have to listen to my heart.
Listen to the heart?
It is so much easier to find the Jewish or Christian or Muslim God: Just read the “manual,” whether you believe it is the Old or New Testament or the Quran, and do as instructed.
Listen to the heart? How do I do that?
You will find Him when you give up the “wants”, what you wish were happening, and what you think should be happening. (Research scientists must learn to do this, in order not to bias their results.)
When you remove your biases, when you calm your mind, then you will hear what God has to say. Your heart will speak.
For a long time I could not accept that.
You know why?
Because I did not trust what would be revealed if I stopped to listen to my heart. I was scared to hear it speak.
Because I did not want to surrender to my heart. I lived in my brain not with my heart.
Listening to the heart meant giving up control while I was in control of my mind, or so I believed.
To hear well you have to listen, to stop all other noises which come from your head. That means giving up control.
When you are ready to hear––when you calm your mind and give up your ego, which believes in a false sense of control––your heart will speak to you. God will speak to you.
And when God speaks to you, you will find a kind of peace you’ve never experienced before: peace of mind. You will cultivate a sense of gratitude for whatever you have in your life, once you accept it, for better or worse. Everything is a gift, to learn from and to enjoy. Whatever is, is. And you will want what is, rather than rejecting reality and feeling frustrated that what is, is not what you want.
When our hearts drive our behavior, rather than our egos or minds, God will be there. But to find Him you must be willing to listen. And in order to listen to Him, you have to stop listening to You.
And what will you find if you listen? You will find that God is love, and neither God nor your heart can speak of hate. Ever.
Dr. Ichak Kalderon Adizes