Sunday, November 2, 2008

A Good Parent, Part II...

Hmm... Ever since I wrote the last post, this has been in my mind. I guess because it is foundational to how I view parents... Here's the thing...

"Don't bargain with God. Be direct. Ask for what you need. This is not a cat-and-mouse, hide-and-seek game we're in. If your little boy asks for a serving of fish, do you scare him with a live snake on his plate? If your little girl asks for an egg, do you trick her with a spider? As bad as you are, you wouldn't think of such a thing - you're at least decent to your own children. And don't you think the father who conceived you in love will give the Holy Spirit when you ask him?" Luke 11:10-13 (Message)
This verse has always bothered me. It is supposed to be a statement - an illustration that gives hope - peace - that Papa God will not trick us and play games with us. But it has never had that effect on me. This week, I think I understand why - and why it is hard to trust the idea of a 'good' parent. See, I can imagine my mother (and even, on occasion, my father) playing this kind of trick on me. And finding it uproariously funny and not even noticing that it caused hurt and confusion. They were both, in different ways, practical jokers. Mom, especially, would go to great lengths to set up elaborate and complicated practical jokes all for that moment - the payoff - when the person - the victim - gets had - the look on their face - their reaction. And there is not any consideration of how this might affect them - if it might hurt them. All for the fleeting moment of triumph - gotcha - that is achieved. 

So... I struggle with the concept that Papa God will not lead me on to play a trick on me - and then leave me with no recourse, stranded and alone. Like I said in last week's post, I know He is not like that... but I am not 100% sure - I don't trust it... yet... I am not to the place where the little girl inside trusts that Papa God will not just use her for His own ends, too...


J. Davidson said...

Katherine it may be that the problem is the way you have come to view or understand "God". For me, and I can only speak for myself, I see "God" in a much different light than some. I'll try to explain my view in hopes it may be of help to you.

God is the Source and Substance of all that is. God manifests as and transcends all reality. God is not other than creation, nor is God limited to creation.

Self. The individual is a manifestation of God. We are to God as rays of sunlight are to the sun. Sunlight is simply the sun manifest in time and space. It is not other than the sun nor is it all of the sun. You and I are rays of God. We are not all of God, nor are we other than God. This is what the Bible means when it says we are created in the image and likeness of God.

When you know who you are as the image and likeness of God you live from love with love. You embrace each moment with gratitude, and each being with justice and compassion. Living this way is heaven. Living any other way is hell.

When we are in spacious mind we are awake to God in, with, and as all reality; we identify with all life, and find ourselves embraced by and living from ahava rabba, infinite love. In spacious mind there is no Jew or Gentile, male or female, slave or free, saved or damned. There is only God manifest in infinite variety. In spacious mind we live freely, lovingly, fearlessly, with compassion and hospitality toward all we meet. This is heaven.

When we are in narrow mind we are locked in the prison of ego, and imagine ourselves to be separate from God and creation. We live in perpetual fear, and engage life without trust, love, and compassion. In narrow mind we divide and judge, calling some chosen or saved and others infidels or damned. In narrow mind differences, God’s infinite creativity, scare us, and we worship the idol of conformity. In narrow mind we imagine ourselves to be alone, afraid, and adrift. This is hell.

We move into and out of heaven and hell depending on our state of mind. The purpose of authentic spiritual practice is to open us to heaven and spacious mind. Too often, however, we worship at the altar of ego and end up in the hell of narrow mind. It has nothing to do with God rewarding or punishing us. It has everything to do with our willingness to see what is true.

I am to God as a wave to the ocean. Each wave is unique and distinct, yet all waves are nothing other than the ocean in which they arise. Each being is unique and distinct, and yet not other than God who is all that is.

God to me is, as the Bible says, “Ehyeh asher Ehyeh,” (Exodus 3:14) the I AM that is all being and becoming. God is the water than embraces both ocean and the wave. God is the nondual Reality that embraces and transcends the duality of absolute and relative, I and Thou, front and back, good and evil. There is nothing that is other than God. Nothing that is apart from God.

For me, and again I can only speak for me, when my views of "God" help me to have zero anxiety about "God" and if "God" would do something to me.

To me God is not a thing that can be just or unjust, good or evil. God is Reality, and Reality can be both just and unjust, both loving and cruel. But these are human concepts. Nature is neither good or evil, it is just what it is. We humans call things good and evil depending on whether or not they serve our interests. What I am saying is that when I see myself and all beings are part of the nondual Reality I call God, I see the wisdom of engaging life with love, compassion, empathy, and justice toward all beings.

I hope this may help you in some way.

J. Davidson said...

And one other thing to ponder if you wish:

Something to ponder:

When the ancient rabbis spoke of hearing the word of God they used the term Bat Kol, the Daughter’s Voice. When they spoke of sensing the spirit of God around and within them they used the term Shekhinah, a feminine noun. When the author of Proverbs described the first moments of creation he said that Chochma, a feminine noun meaning Wisdom, was the first of God’s manifestations.

Erin said...

I think it is human nature to view God through the lens of our earthly parents. I know I do, and it's a challenge to unlearn it, but only then can we begin to view God's true heart. Maybe the problem lies for some of us the heavy emphasis in the church on the parental imagery used for God.

abmo said...

Hi Katherine,
I agree with Erin. The thing is, God chooses to reveal Himself as a Father. When we are confronted with the Unknown, we always latch on "what is known" and work from that. That is why we use our earthly parents as a view to God. Actually any person with authority in our lives will do.

They, however, are not God and are a bad reflection of Him. I do not believe He plays games and uses us as pawns. I do however believe He plays games with us knowing that He is playing, and we laughing with Him. There are so many barriers in us that prevents us from playing with Him. There is so much joy we can give those around us, but only when we know the God who laughs.

Above all, give yourself some time. We usually are the ones who play hide and seek. He is waiting behind the sofa, ready to be found :)

Love ya! God bless.

Sue said...

Ahhh, yes. It's amazing how distorted our lenses become, isn't it? Also how subconscious some of our thoughts about God can be, too.

Ahh, what a mess we are, dear KG :) But it's a comfort to know that everyone is just as messed up, just in different ways, and that our redemption comes.

Some days, all you can hang onto is, "one day". Which sucks, really, don't it :)

Katherine Gunn said...

Sorry that it's taken so long to respond...

J, thanks for the thoughts. Interesting things to ponder.

Erin, yeah, but a part of me desperately needs a good parent - a daddy... and a mommy. Hmm... I have quick looking for them in my family.

Abmo, Hi! Thanks for the imagery! I like the idea of a playful Papa...

Sue, Ahhh, yes, we do get things distorted. And I have been wavering for the last few days between being angry at all the bullshit I have been fed and apathetic - tired - and just wanting to rest. This, too, shall pass... eventually. :-)

Tyler Dawn said...

Hey babe, my dad was the same way and I struggled with this too!

His favorite trick was to come up behind you while you were relaxing in a chair or quickly yank it backwards, never dumping me on the ground, but terrifying me. Soon I just couldn't relax at all, while he would say, "Loosen up, don't be such a wimp." Amazing how this never got old for him, and never stopped scaring me. So yes, I understand this. They get a momentary rush and thrill and we learn to never trust a parent.

Katherine Gunn said...

Tyler, I am sorry. {Hug} My dad (when he was even mentally present) would do the fake vomit kind of thing.

My mom, on the other hand, would plan elaborate schemes that had the goal of not just playing a joke, but publicly humiliating the recipient. Her little brother (who is my age) actually borders on hating her because of this.

For me, one of the results of this was that I didn't dare tell her anything important that I was feeling or thinking - it would be used against me later. Makes it hard to open up and let people really see...

jON said...

knock, knock.