(Photo by Thomas Bennie on Unsplash)

In this modern age, filled with conflict, chaos and doubt, the youth want to raise above these conflicts and come together as one global family. We have been dividing ourselves and separating ourselves in so many hundreds of ways. These man-made divisions are in the name of race, religion, community, gender, country, language, to name a few. And no one seems to be really happy with having distinctions cause divisions. But communities like Findhorn and Yogaville, and many others can help to bring about spiritual unity, oneness of heart.

We talk a lot about God, about communion with God, but unfortunately, in the name of communion, we don’t seem to be able to develop the all-important communion with our fellow beings. The Bible asks us to love our neighbors as our own selves. That means to have communion with our neighbors. “Love thy neighbor as thy own self.” That neighbor is not necessarily a human being. It could be your furniture, your pets, plants and everything that is near to you.

If we cannot expand our love to each and every neighbor how are we going to know God, who is very close to us. In the Hindu scriptures this is expressed as, “Tat Tvam Asi; Thou art That.” We areThat”—God. This same idea is expressed in the Bible: “God created man in His own image.” I don’t know when it happened or why, but we seem to have forgotten that we are the images of God.

But it really doesn’t matter that we have forgotten this truth, because even if somebody tried to remind you by saying to you, “You are That,” you are not going to believe or understand it. So let us at least know, with the intellect, that we are the image of God. And to see the image of God where would that image come from? To see an image you need to have a reflecting surface; a mirror. And how are you going to see a correct, true image? That is only possible through a clean mirror, not a dirty or crooked mirror.

If you can get a clean and straight mirror you can see an image correctly. God, being Spirit, is more abstract. It’s hard to see the abstract God reflected on a physical mirror. It needs an equally abstract mirror. And fortunately the very same God, who created us, has also given us an abstract mirror and it is our own mind. As long as we keep it clean, it will reflect the Spirit of God, the image of God. Even though we may think of God as Father, from our level of being God’s children, we don’t really understand what or who God is.

You cannot pinpoint and say, “God is He or She or It,” because God, is “No thing.” There is a great Truth behind that. Let me explain to you why I say, “God is nothing.” Let’s take the very word God: G O D. What is at the very center of God? A big zero is right in the middle. And zero is not only a zero. It is also a complete whole; a zero is something complete. That’s why this world is complete. Every planet is round; that fullness is there. So, God is full or complete and at the same time nothing. God is not limited; God is unlimited. The Hindu scriptures say, “Om Pūrnam-Adah Pūrnam-Idam Pūrnāt-Pūrnam-Udacyate.” The translation of that Vedic prayer is: That is fullness, This also is fullness, and This fullness came out of That fullness. Even though This fullness came from out of That fullness, That fullness remains always full. That is the prayer and it’s a full and complete prayer.

So, God is a whole and unlimited. That’s why the very center is a zero. Zero also stands for neutrality. God is totally neutral. And our interest is in seeing the very center, the core of God. If you cannot remain in the center, at least let us take the right side of God, not the wrong side. What is the right side of God? It begins with “G.” So people who see God from the right side, read: G O D. Sometimes people who stand on the wrong side and read God, see: D O G. The only difference is the angle. Read from the right angle. All the people who read God from the other angle bark at each other!

It may be a pun, but it really gives the essential truth: everything is God. And it’s not just that God made man in God’s own image, God made everything in that image. The Bible worded it that way because the Bible was written by men! In the beginning there was only God and nothing but God. There was only Cosmic Consciousness, which is beyond the mind’s understanding. There are Sanskrit slokas, or prayers, that express this and the meaning is: Not inside knowledge, not outside knowledge, not knowledge itself, not ignorance. This means that God cannot be understood with the mind. And that is because you cannot de-fine God because God is completely fine! That is the reason why if you lose all your definitions, you are a re-fined person. Or, in another words, you were fine because you are the image of God. Somehow you got into the notion that you were nothing and you wanted to be something and that something defined you. The minute you become something you are no longer everything. 

God created you as just a plain simple “I.” Then you wanted to become something. That means, you limited yourself. For example, if I ask: “Who are you?” “I am an American, I am French, I’m a professor, I’m a man,” and so on. There are so many hundreds of definitions. These makes you a de-fined person but not a re-fined person. When will you become refined? When you take out all the definitions and go back to your fineness.

To experience ourselves as the image of God we need to have let go of ego-identification and have a healthy ego. How do we make the ego healthy and be certain that it doesn’t possess anything for itself? Let go of “I, me and mine.” See the difference between I/llness and We/llness? When you learn to live a selfless life, a dedicated life, you lighten the ego and make it healthy. Living a life dedicated to “we-ness” frees us from our social ills and our own limitations so we may become unlimited, like God.

By Sri Swami Satchidananda