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Defining God

"What is God?" We can ask this question from two distinct positions: thought and experience. In the thought approach, we engage our intellect and conceptually ponder the nature and characteristics of the divine - a fascinating though often controversial subject that has produced vast libraries of belief and speculation. When we seek to understand God directly through experience, on the other hand, we enter a space beyond thought, a space we may call mystical consciousness. This heightened, pristine, and thought-free awareness is actually God's consciousness.
From mystical consciousness, we answer the "What is God?" question very differently. Though we still use words, they are few and simple. From deep within the experience of conscious being, we exclaim, "This!" "Everything!" "What is!" "Joy!" "Bliss!" "Love!" "Me!" "You!" "Existence!" "Beauty!" The mystic may later attempt to answer the question from the thought approach, perhaps saying that God is "the consciousness of the universe," "the living fabric of the world," "the very goal of existence," "the nature of all," "infinite and unconditional love," "the holy Presence," "divine energy," "the source of all," "the purest ecstasy," and "the one we already are." These definitions mean almost nothing to us until we experience the divine, then they mean everything. As you can see, the most useful words for knowing God directly are those most closely tied to direct experience. The further up the abstraction ladder we go, the farther we get from the experience of divinity. Sadly our intellectual capacity to define God anyway we wish has lead to endless confusion and suffering, particularly when the ego gets involved with its self-serving purposes and agenda.
Lastly, we might also define God from the perspective of spiritual practice, where our definition becomes simpler yet. Whatever we can directly and intensely experience without the filters of thought, that is God. The object of our focus may be the body, consciousness, a tree, another person, an animal, the sky, or a pencil, for the mystics tell us that during mystical experience, everything is alive and pulsating with divinity - numinous, conscious, intelligent, radiant - one substance thrumming in all things. And one of the places that we can experience this most profoundly is our own being.
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