Tell Me What God Is

I worked with the question “What Is God?” during this past enlightenment intensive and have remained with the question.  I keep hearing the direction in my head for dyads – “tell me what God is.”  Over and over again until I fear I am going to lose my mind.

Fear of going insane and fear of death are two of the blocks to enlightenment from what I understand from the master.  And I have lost my mind in the past.  It is hard to be in the psych ward as much as I have been earlier in my life and not have a fear of going insane, of getting locked up again.  And much of it stems from needing this connection with God so much and feeling like I don’t have it, or have it nearly as much as I want.

Wanting, longing for something, is so hard.  The pain sits in my heart and belly like a huge gaping open wound.  But even though it is painful there is a sweetness to it.  The sweetness is new to me, the pain is old.  The sweetness comes from having a taste of what it is to feel God in me, in the world, in others.  The relief of not having that feeling of isolation and separateness for even microseconds is tremendous.

I decided last night that I need to work on my relationship with God in a different way.  The longing and crying out to God is essential but it is rather vague in some way.  And I need that relationship to be personal.  So I have started my own conversations with God. And giving God all of me – all my thoughts, feelings, and life stuff, all of my struggles.  One of the teachings I have heard is that we have to give all of it to God, even the hate, the anger, the fear, the anguish.  It is hard for me because that is not what I was taught when I was young.  But it is what I am trying to follow now.  It feels much more authentic than pretending not to be angry about life, about how hard the journey is, about how worried I can get, about how alone I feel in this world.  Although truthfully I am feeling less alone now than I ever did.  Slowly, ever so slowly, I am building that sangha, that community.

But for now, my focus is on that connection with God.  A deep and personal connection.  A vision almost that God could hold me much like a child giving me all the comfort and love in the universe.  That feeling is what makes the struggle mean something.

Tell Me What God Is: EI 5

I am reeling having just returned from my 5th enlightenment intensive.  I worked on two questions this time – first “what is life?” and then “what is God?”.  It was by far the most profound experience I have had durning and intensive albiet not a direct experience.

For those who are unfamiliar with an EI, it is a retreat designed to achieve enlightenment or a direct experience of The Truth.  You sit in dyads taking turns being a speaker or a listener.  So someone will sit across from you and give you your direction, in my case this weekend “Tell me what God is”.  Then as the speaker it is your job to contemplate the question and communicate absolutely everything that comes up for you during your contemplation in that five minutes.  This goes on for 18 hours a day with the enlightenment exercises being broken up by meal, snack, walking, work, lecture and sitting contemplations.  There is often social silence imposed during the intensive so you are not communicating with others outside of the dyads.

It does not usually take long for people to fall apart during an EI.  At any various times people may be laughing, sobbing hysterically, screaming.  Its not hard to lose your mind during and intensive.  But that seems to be part of the process to me – losing the mind to directly experience The Truth.

For the first time in my EI experiences, I did in fact completely let go into the technique taught for contemplating and communicating to the point where I was sobbing out for God for several enlightenment exercises spanning 4 or 5 hours.  I was able to get out of my own way to fully feel the painfully sweet longing for God.  I did not have a direct experience which is always somewhat disappointing but it was beautiful nonetheless.  In the agony is the ecstasy.

But coming home and integrating that experience is always a little challenging.  I tend to process things through my body and it affects my sleep and how well I interact in the world.  The process of settling back down into daily life.

And I really must have lost my mind as I have already signed up to do this again in 6 weeks.  It is with fear and excitement that I say – I can’t wait!