Dr. H.J. Witteveen
The God Ideal and God’s Reality
Delivered at the Federation of the Message
29 April 2010, San Francisco, California. Click on the audio file link below to listen and follow the text.
The God Ideal and God's Reality
April 29, 2010
Entering the Universel Murad Hassil in Katwijk we see the founding stone on which the following aforism of Hazrat Inayat Khan is written:
“Our soul is blessed with the impresion of the glory of God whenever our lips praise Him.”
So just saying the name of God brings great blessing. That shows the great importance of the God Ideal. But in our present culture not much attention is given to the God Ideal. Many people have lost their belief in God because of the conflict between traditional images of God and the discoveries of modern science. Of course scientists cannot find a God somewhere in the skies nor can they discover a divine soul somewhere in our bodies. Now however this conflict completely disappears by further scientific developments and the development of the mystical God Ideal.
Hazrat Inayat Khan introduces the concept of the God Ideal and he explains that it is important for us to make our own God Ideal, but we must realize that that is not God’s Reality that Reality is far beyond anything that we can intellectually understand or express in words. But the God Ideal can be seen as a staircase along which we can climb up to that Reality. But then the God Ideal must be evolving with our understanding and spiritual evolution. In building such an evolving God Ideal it is important to see that there are so many different aspects of the God Ideal which can inspire us in different situations in our life. The prayer Saum mentions a number of these aspects in a very beautiful way. Very essential is the mystical aspect: Omnipresent, All Pervading, The Only Being. This is a very fundamental thought. We have to let it penetrate deeply into our mind and heart. For it implies that God is within us and also in everything around us and in all beings around us. This mystical aspect of God solves the conflict with modern science, for science has found that the emptiness, the quantum vacuum in which all the micro-particles circulate, creating all matter, is not really empty but full of an invisible and untouchable energy out of which these micro-particles emerge and into which they can also disappear. So that energy is indeed omnipresent and all pervading and it is working to what science calls ‘coherence’, we would say ‘harmony’ and then the parallel with the mystical aspect is clear. This All Pervading aspect is already described beautifully in the Bhagavad Gita: “undivided, He seems to divide into objects and creatures”. And in the Christian scriptures we read “In Him we live and move and have our being”
Now where is this all pervading divine spirit within us and what is it? It is clearly not our physical body that is an instrument with which we can experiemce the earthly life and it is not our psyche with all our thoughts and feelings which change constantly. Out of all our impressions we gradually build a personality. That has a little more constancy. We often identify with it, but that is our big mistake, for this personality is still subject to change and constantly influenced by further events. What is then always remaining? Our consciousness in which all our thoughts and feelings are reflected for a moment and disappear again. Hazrat Inayat Khan says in ‘Metaphysics’ The soul is an undivided portion of the All Pervading consciousness that is our true being, our divine soul.
As the soul is divine it is also divine light and love and creative power.
But very often we are not at all conscious of that because our attention is directed to the outside world with all its impressions and events. The real purpose of our life is to turn within so that we can become conscious of this divine light and love and creative power. That is mysticism, the inner life.
Of course the All Pervading divine being is also everywhere around us. To become conscious of that we must learn to see the beauty in everything: in nature and also in human beings.
We can then let the light and love of our soul shine out so that we can create harmony and beauty and experience the divine creative power working through us. The ideal of the Sufis is therefore to aim for unity between the inner and outer life.
The only being is also Omnipotent, All-powerful. We feel that that must be true, but how can we understand it? It is interesting that science has now also discovered this. In the fascinating book by Lynne McTaggart “The Field” we read: “This means that the total energy of the zero point field exceeds all energy in matter of the creation by a factor of ten to the fortieth power: 1 followed by 40 zeroes.
But we see in human society so much suffering and disharmony, that we can ask: “why does an All-Powerful and loving God allow all this to happen?” Then we must keep in mind that He/She has created man as a free and responsible being, so that man can choose one way or another right or wrong. In that way man develops his or her consciousness because wrong choices will create disharmony and make us unhappy.
But sometimes it can happen that the All-Mighty will act directly – although sometimes invisibly – to change something that could endanger the evolution of humanity. Sometimes this happens through what looks like an accident but there can be divine power behind it. It can be the spirit of guidance. So it is very important for us to learn to recognize the spirit of guidance in our life, to listen to it and to follow it. That will help us also to become conscious of the divine power and fulfilling the meaning of our life.
The Only Being is also Most Merciful and Compassionate. This means that He/She is not indifferent to what happens in His creation and with His/Her human beings. The Only Being lives in all beings, in everything so that He/She feels the joy and pain of all human beings. All their feelings are reflected in the divine heart, therefore that heart will sometimes reach out to a human being to help, console and uplift. That comes from God’s great love and it is a mercy beyond the law of reflection and of cause and effect.
It is a gift that we cannot bring about by our own limited will-power. We can only prepare ourselves to receive it. We can open our heart to let mercy from our own heart work for other people, also breaking through the law of reaction, we can forgive. In God’s mercy the Only Being can then bridge a much longer distance to us than the little way that our longing would lift us upwards.
God is also the perfection of love harmony and beauty. Recognizing God’s love to us, to all beings and in the whole of creation, we can then naturally – also by that law of reflection – develop our love of God which is the strongest force bringing us to union with God.
Iskh Allah Mah’bud Allah
God is love and the Beloved