Let me begin with the acknowledgement that you may substitute any other more palatable word for “God” in this discussion. Many people still see God as the old man in the sky who punishes us if we’re bad and blesses us if we’re good (maybe…if He’s feeling so inclined).
In the New Thought Movement we have a very different concept of God as an intelligence with which we have a direct connection. But, if Spirit, Divine Love, Universal Intelligence, or something else works better for you, I ask that, for the purpose of this discussion, you just substitute that term for God.
When we pray affirmatively we acknowledge the unification of ourselves with God. And yet, even that statement is hollow. “With God” still indicates a separation. How can we be “with” something if we are part of it? How can we be “part of it” if there is only One?
BAM! (That’s the sound of the brick wall with which you may have collided after reading the above paragraph. I dearly hope that you have had your morning coffee before reading this, or at least have been awake for a while!) The confusion and disconnect felt when discussing the Oneness of the Universe stems from two basic reasons: language and perception.
English and most other modern tongues are not languages of inclusion or unification. They are, by the very nature of their structure, a means of communication that exemplifies separation, division and differences. It is not the fault of our languages, for our languages reflect the parameters of our culture. In English we call that frozen white stuff “snow.” One Native Alaskan language has 26 different terms for snow. Why? That area of the world is more affected by snow than other areas.
We talk in metaphysics about the “universality” of God; that God is timeless, endless and infinite. Yet we live in a world of beginnings and endings, and of birth, life and death. We live a linear existence in a holistic universe. The truth is that whenever we finish the sentence, “God is…” with anything we immediately limit God. How can we begin to describe the infinite with words designed to convey the finite? This is a situation in which words alone cannot be the most effective way to communicate. The definition must be felt, internally and personally.
We also describe God as “all-knowing” and “all-powerful.” God is neither. Does that surprise you? You see, if God is all there is then God is not all-knowing; God is Knowledge. God is not all-powerful; God is Power. Re-read this paragraph. Breathe into it. Let it settle into your consciousness and feel your emotions, for words alone cannot effectively conceive this notion.
We must be careful in prayer to acknowledge our unity. But at the same time we would do well to cut ourselves some slack so that we don’t get hung up on worrying about whether or not we are expressing ourselves as universally as we feel we should. You cannot pray the wrong way, though with practice we can make our prayers more effective.
Go with what is in your heart, but at the same time be cognizant of the words you use. What we say is reflective of what we believe. And, what we believe is behind the thoughts we have that result in our experiences.
In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness,