In George Bernard Shaw’s The Black Girl in Search of God, the central character says to an old man, ‘You don’t have to look for God as He is always at your side.’ When Shaw was writing, God was always referred to as masculine, whereas God is neither male or female nor a person. The closest that we can perhaps get is: ‘God is Love.’ It is a love that surrounds, embraces and upholds us. As the Psalmist wrote, ‘Underneath are the Everlasting Arms.’

We are never alone.


Easter eggs

Once, I was invited to take part in an Easter Egg-painting session. On my egg I painted the words ‘God is a broken egg.’ For the chick inside has no knowledge of the ‘without’, only the ‘within’. It is cramped in a tight, dark space and has no concept of the space and freedom that lie outside. Obeying a primal instinct, the chick begins to peck at the hard shell until it cracks, whereupon it discovers what lies beyond, and with it the freedom to fly. So it is in life; we constantly have to break the outer form in order to make a discovery and so move on. Only then can we embrace the totality of experience.

As Kaneko Shoseki observes in Nature and Origin of Man,

‘Let go of your fixed notions and feelings, indeed, let go completely of your present “I”. Original truth reveals itself only when we give up all preconceived ideas.’    


Letting God in

Once we have overcome our difficulties with the word ‘God’ and learned to let God into our lives, the result can be dramatic. We may be faced with illness, a failure, a setback; but if we wait patiently and allow God to work within us like yeast in a loaf of bread, then the problem is resolved in its own way. We have but to let God in.  


When the waters are rising

Once upon a time there was a huge flood. A man climbed onto his roof to escape the rising waters. A rescue boat appeared with a lifeguard in it, urging him to come on board.

‘God will protect me,’ the man replied, ‘I have lived all my life as a devout believer.’

The waters continued to rise. Twice more the rescue boat returned and twice more the man refused to climb aboard. The boat left to rescue others.

Eventually the flood engulfed the whole house. The roof disappeared beneath the waters, and the man was drowned.

In heaven he encountered God.  Furious that God had not rescued him, he complained loudly: ‘All my life I have been devout. I have obeyed all the commandments. I have given large sums to charity. And the only time I asked for anything you abandoned me.’ 

‘But I sent a boat three times,’ God explained. ‘Why didn’t you get in?’


The one-ness of creation

As John Wheeler, one of the great theoretical physicists wrote, ‘Today we are beginning to suspect that there is a much more intimate tie between mankind and the universe than we hitherto suspected.’

David Bohm agreed with Einstein that ‘God [did]n’t play dice’: there must be some form of order underpinning the seemingly random behaviour of particles. In other words, there is an underlying wholeness, which he termed The Implicate Order.

As Jesus said, ‘We are all one.’


Knowing, not believing

Carl Gustav Jung, in a famous television interview, responded to the question, ‘Do you believe in God?’ with ‘I don’t believe: I know.’ As Jung wrote elsewhere, ‘Suddenly I understood that God was, for me at least, one of the most certain and immediate of experiences.’ Belief in a God is not dependent upon going to church, temple or synagogue, and observing all the rules and regulations, which can be but just a matter of form. It rests upon an inner conviction of a relationship with that which is beyond our intellectual understanding but which, deep down in the very centre of our being, we recognise as the Absolute in our lives.


The many routes

The Sufi master Llewelyn Vaughan-Lee writes in one of his books, ‘There are as many routes to God as there are individuals.’  As the composer John Taverner said, ‘ There is only one absolute being. Whether you call it God, Allah or Brahman, God gave to each tradition different Saviours and Avatars. Christ is God for the Christian world, as Krishna is God for the Hindus.’ We have to go beyond labels to what lies at the very heart of existence. As a small boy, whom I have quoted before, once said to me with passion, ‘God is a feel, not a think!’