Connection with God and Humanity
By Leslie Reynolds Benns
A benefit for practicing confession, defined as the ferreting out and releasing previously unconscious or unexamined psychic clutter, we can then realize our connectedness to the universe. We human beings are all connected to each other by virtue of our shared humanity. As Martin Luther King Jr. said so eloquently,
In a real sense, all life is inter-related. All men are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly.
And we are all connected with God, or whatever you call him, her or it, as well as with all creation. God's spirit resides in us and is, as many religions articulate, the very breath we breathed at our birth.
This concept of oneness is central to most world religions. Christianity uses the image of the life-giving vine and its branches to illustrate the nature of this cosmic connection, where Christ is the vine and we are the branches. All attributes of Christ are available to flow to the branches. All attributes are available, regardless of our levels of consciousness. All attributes of whatever you call deity are available.
In Tao-ism, the Tao is similar to the
Christian God in that it is also omnipresent and all powerful. Except that the Tao represents the way, or the path, to oneness and is similar to the Buddhist word "dharma."
Buddhism, rather than advocating looking outside ourselves for God, begins with the assumption of our oneness, which can only be found by letting go of expectations as well as the need to chase after the next experience we believe will produce lasting satisfaction. Oneness is only attainable by being present in the moment with whatever is going on. But to get to that oneness, we must also let go of our attachment to the past, let go of the clutter we have collected in the process of living, similar to Jesus' saying, "Do not worry about tomorrow for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of it's own." (Mt. 6, NIV)
In most Native American religions there is no separation of the natural world from the world of the supernatural. This unity is thought to be beyond the comprehension of mankind and can only be shared in through the practice of rituals.
At the heart of Hindu theology is the paradox of unity and diversity. Hinduism has a large number of individual divinities – 330 million by one estimate. In it, wisdom tends to be found in manyness. (The Hindi Sikhs are the exception believing in a single God.) However underlying everything that exists, is the eternal, unchanging, spiritual essence that is called Brahman, in which all is unified. So ultimately, in this extraordinarily polytheistic religion God is one. Just as beneath the incredible variety of human beings, humanity is ultimately one. God is many and God is one.
Islam has at its hub the oneness of Allah. He holds complete control of the universe even to the most subtle movements of a leaf. "He knows everything-- past, present and future. When there was nothing, He was present. When there will be nothing, He will be present." (Umais Ahmad, www.suite101.com) One essential difference between Islam and Christianity is that while Islam accepts the words of all the prophets of the Bible's Old and New Testament, it doesn't accept Jesus as the Son of God, nor believe that he was crucified, but that he was taken directly into heaven. Islam, like Christianity, that is, the Christianity reflected in the words of Christ in the New Testament, is open to distortions, or in this vernacular, clutter. This clutter can lead mankind to separateness and away from connectedness.
If we are clutter-free as the result of looking inside and releasing previously hidden or unexamined material in our psyche and take a moment to be still with nothing going on, we do come to realize our connection with all humanity on an ongoing basis rather than a momentary insight. We can see that there is no essential difference between us and our fellow human beings. We are irrefutably a part of God.
– Excerpted from Confession is Good for More than the Soul
About the Author
Leslie Reynolds-Benns, PhD, author, most recently of Confession is Good for More than the Soul. Speaker, trainer, workshop leader, community activist and wedding officiant. Sign up for a FR*E*E 4-part mini e-course - CREATING YOUR OWN REALITY - on the sidebar at http://www.lesliereynoldsbenns.com.
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