It’s a not uncommon revelation these days, when one of the self-initiated declares that God is, above all else, love. The implication being, usually, that all we have to do is remove our ego obstacles to that realization, open our hungry hearts and there it will be, as it always has been apparently, eager to engulf us in its endless embrace.
That such a state exists I would not argue; I have felt it myself on many occasions. When I discovered the path to (at least temporary) ego dissolution, that shield built of fear and desire, opened the doors to “life all around”, and breathed the big mysterious harmony of the sensual world, I felt the soothing bliss of what might be called “life energy” and the accompanying notion that all sentient beings were, or could be, joined in such a charmed fraternity. But seeing hawks spearing sparrows and cats teasing wounded mice, not to mention the gruesome cruelties of man’s inhumanity to man, tended to undercut the revelation, if not exactly extinguish it.
Later, on what was probably a higher curve of evolution’s spiral, I learned to include death, suffering, ruthless vengeance and wanton destruction along with all the bliss of sentient beings sharing that mystery of universal harmony, that breath of life which transcends all normal exercise of the lungs.
In doing so, and what a long series of experiential detours to a destination it was, I became more and more uncomfortable with the descriptor “love”, not to mention this being others called ‘God”. Perhaps that was due to my writer status, and its precious concerns with polished vocabulary and crafted expression. Undoubtedly, but yet it was more. Terms like “love” and “god” were so appallingly overused they had come to mean little, if anything.
From time to time I would attempt to rejig the notion into something more acceptable, like, “The source of the manifest universe constantly emits waves of energy upon which we can blissfully surf if we stop clinging to our surfboards in mortal terror.” A touch verbose perhaps? Yes, but it avoids the clingy, unreal, and horribly ill-defined romanticism of “God is Love”. The universal energy, the enigmatic power which sustains all life and sentience, has been called many things throughout the history that we know of, each term being dependent on the level of understanding then achieved by those who dared indulge in theological pondering and disputation.
Way back when, or so the story goes, the deity was some holy terror out to destroy unless propitiated by the bloody sacrifice of enemies or innocents. At times God was firmly and irrevocably beyond the ken of both the unlettered peasant, the educated citizen and the foolishly brave mystic philosopher fresh from either the ritualized Mysteries of his culture or some random personal glimpse into eternity from mountaintop or garden. At other times God was Nature in all her radiant and recurring abundance. At others it was the sacred promise of salvation and redemption as guided by whatever son of god messiah was then becoming influential upon the world stage. Some of them claimed not to be anything like the issue of a deity, and much more the manifestation of the supreme emptiness radiating the illusions of thought, emotion and suffering. An emptiness we should immediately set about emulating of course. At others it was Mind, that Universal Mind, that Anima Mundi of which we were all minute map-making participants.
It is that individual participation in the experiential activities of Universal Mind which currently holds my interest. The attribute of self-awareness which seems to come unaided with Universal Mind can easily be called consciousness, and it is as emblems of consciousness that we experience ourselves and all the other animated forms feeling their way towards the further unfoldment of life’s complexities.
That consciousness, that activity of Universal Mind apportioned to each of us, is an awareness which can be amplified or diminished at will, its degree of receptivity dependent on the courage and curiosity of the emblem in question. Is that consciousness the god consciousness? At its most refined I believe it is. Ditching personal concerns we can be conscious at a cosmic level. We can commune with the transcendent, the planetary, the galactic. Now whether we believe what we hear is another story. Does that awareness have qualities, such as the kindness, compassion, mercy and love so often attributed to it? In my experience no, consciousness does not have attributes, other than the ones we sentimentally give it. Consciousness is; the life force is. It continues across the many levels of the universe, as its emblems are swallowed and regurgitated with a ceaseless efficiency that could easily be labelled ruthless. Death and dismemberment is a hallmark of the animal kingdom as much as the human. In short, everything is eating everything else, with survival as the apparent prize.
The consciousness which pervades and sustains all is neutral: it observes, digests, knows. We, as emblems, divert some of that consciousness and turn it into compassion, mercy, and love. We give it qualities without realizing our effortless transmutation; we are more magic than we know. We are magicians with consciousness as our fuel.
God is not love (or compassion, mercy etc.), we are. When we ‘re in the mood. God is, consciousness is; existence and the fuel for existence; the life force forcing itself upon us as we effortlessly comply. We take that consciousness as a given, like light, like breath, and mold it, sometimes under the influence of teachers and traditions and sometimes not, into various qualities we find useful, convenient, worthwhile.
God, consciousness, does not distinguish between worthy and unworthy. Nor does it calibrate the degrees of one’s moral nature. Like the sun, a galactic sales rep if there ever was one, it shines on everyone without distinction. Consciousness feeds all and cares not what you do with its genius, or even if you deign to notice it. Consciousness does not require applause to continue. On whatever level it functions, (self, cosmic, galactic) it is the stage and the actors upon it. It is the landscape with all its communities. It fuels the unseen as well as the seen.
It is us who embalm it with attributes and sentimental preferences and deny its so called darker side. The God consciousness makes no such distinction. Consciousness sustains the timorous and the ruthless alike, cruelty as well as kindness, anger as much as mercy, putrid decay along with radiant growth. Consciousness is the great mystery and the curiosity which fires our exploration of it. Consciousness is the field upon which the divine plan of evolution plays, regardless of which segment we are currently focused with ambitious fascination. Consciousness started us on the trek through forms and experience and will comprise the various constituents of whatever stage we claim as evolution’s pinnacle.
Ultimately, there is nothing but consciousness, endlessly creating and curiously exploring. As some of its many emblems, we can do as we wish; it does not care, for all our actions are as dust in its wind: exhilarating and endless.