I enjoy reading Marianne Williamson. And one of the reasons is that Marianne can bring a concept of Truth into my consciousness with a clarity and brevity few others match as well. Her prose is not elaborate or lengthy, yet it is packed with inspired truth.
As a student of Unity – as so many of us are – we are really seekers of clarity. We want to know Divine truth; to understand with complete faith and confidence that which is ours to live.
Beyond clarity, we seek to move into that promised experience with God. The One-ness that we so often speak of.
And yet, it is the one-ness of our existence that seems so very elusive – as we look in the mirror; as we sense our existence and environment with our taste, smell, and sight; as we experience pain and joy; how is it that we are also united with God as One?
When I began my journey in Unity decades ago, I heard a lot about the One-ness of Spirit and Me. Yet, for some reason, it took decades for me to fully feel into that concept. You see, even when we try to describe our One-ness with God, we still use terms like Spirit and Me, or God and Man, or the Trinity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. However we attempt to teach and absorb the idea of Spiritual unity, we still talk in terms of dualities.
Even scripture did not help mitigate this as Jesus often refers to My Father in Heaven, or My Father in me.
How is it that I can be at one with God, yet still referred to as separate?
I have to sometimes concede that despite all the great literature written over the millenia, the great inspired authors, the huge, expanding vocabulary of the English language, sometimes it seems we still can’t communicate some concepts with a clarity that instantly resonates.
And so it has been in my struggles to not just understand conceptually my relationship to God, but to bring it into a point of clarity of which I can turn and say “a-ha! I get it now.”
Have you ever had one of those “a-ha” moments? Perhaps it was something in school that you just could not get your mind around, then one day, poof! everything came into view for you. Maybe it was some relationship that just seemed not quite complete until at some moment, you understood why the other person was how they were.
I’ve told you of a little practice I have for getting clarity from Divine Mind. As I lay down to sleep at night, I just release whatever concern or deliberation has been heavy in my mind to God. I say, “God, I don’t have a clue as to how to get the best outcome from this. You do. So, I’m going to sleep, and I am grateful to know that you will let me know what I need to do for the highest good for all.”
I suppose, in a sense, this is my version of the Lord’s Prayer. But, please note this: at this point in my spiritual journey, I am still externalizing my communication with God. Although we are One, I am still talking to God as a separate force and power. And that’s okay. But, I believe there will come a time – in this lifetime or beyond – that Divine Mind and my consciousness will be as one.
After I give up my request to God, I go to sleep and in the morning or sometime soon thereafter, I feel the answer. I know intuitively what is mine to do. Without fail.
Note that I never asked God in the sense of saying “please won’t you?” or “God, if it be your will.” I’m not asking for a particular outcome, either. I don’t pray, “God give me such-and-such, or God, please make this or that happen.” My request is simply for guidance to do what is in the highest good for all.
And that’s a concept I want to step aside and discuss for a moment before we get back to the concept of One-ness. I was in one of my online Unity classes I’m taking as part of my credentialing process and the discussion turned to the idea that we can manifest things in our life using our thoughts.
I do believe we can. But if we manifest from our thoughts, we get human-based results and all that comes with that. Let me give you a personal example. Cyndi and I had been talking about getting a BMW X3 for a long time. We’ve never owned a BMW, but we know their reputation and the X3 appeared to be just the right size for us. (And it’s a BMW!) We talked about getting one for so long, you could definitely say that we were visualizing owning one.
Well, last year it came time to trade in our trusted Santa Fe and we went to CarMax to look at used cars first. And, lo and behold, on their lot was a 2019 used X3. White, too, which was the color we wanted. Leather seats, moon roof. The whole thing. There was the car we had visualized for so long. So, we bought it.
And we took it home. Well, as much as we like the X3, we were scheduled to pay a lot more than we had been paying for our Santa Fe and the X3 had far fewer features. The technology was complicated and non-intuitive. The cargo space was much smaller than we were used to, and although it drove extremely well, as we began to really consider it, we missed our Santa Fe. Our visualization came true, but we did not like the results. You see, we had never asked for Divine guidance.
We did then. And upon that guidance, we took the X3 back – CarMax has a 7 day return policy – drove over the nearest Hyundai dealer and bought a brand new Santa Fe with all the bells and whistles. And saved a ton of money in the process. And we love our Santa Fe.
You see, when we turn our concerns and questions over to divine guidance, we get divine answers. Pure and simple. And God never fails you, either. If you ask.
The reason I wanted to tell you about listening to God is because that is how I came to formulate an idea of God that helps me feel truly unified with the Divine. I’m sure I heard something similar at some time, but until I felt it from Divine Mind, it didn’t fully resonate with me.
I call this idea my Glass of God.
Imagine that God is an ocean. A huge, moving, ever-present ocean. Now, if I am at a beach and I dip a glass into the ocean water, what I remove represents me. An individual part of the ocean, yet of the ocean. In fact, the water in me is much like the water from which I dipped my glass.
The glass represents my ego self. It is the outside container of water that presents the Spiritual Me to this world. There have been times when my glass has been quite opaque. Anyone looking at my glass could not see any of the water inside.
I believe that Spirit is like the water in my glass. It’s something I have to be aware of, I need to see into, and I need to allow it to be seen. If I don’t keep my glass clean and clear, then the essence of Divine Spirit cannot shine through or be seen in me.
And as I think into this metaphor, I realize that while my glass is of the God ocean, it is still different from every other glass dipped into the ocean. My water may be 99.99999 percent as close, but it’s still just a slight bit different. My glass may have different minerals or sediment or sand, but it is in essence both the same and yet different than your glass of water might be. That is our individualized expression of the Divine. And if we both dip from the same beach, our waters could be very similar. But if someone dips from a beach on the other side of the ocean, their water might be more dissimilar. Yet still dipped from the ocean of God.
I also feel that each person has the same size glass. We have the same amount of God in our glass, the same amount of Spirit. It’s the clarity of the glass itself that dictates how well we can see into Spirit and allow Spirit to be seen in us.
Now this implies a passive God. A Spirit that exists for us, but doesn’t shove itself through the opaqueness of our glass. And I do believe to an extent that that is true. Our way-shower taught us to ask, seek, and knock – to go TO God.
The way I look at it is that God created us and everything else and set it all in motion to unfold as representing the power and love of God. That grace is not actually God doing anything proactive, but, instead, grace occurs when we allow the power of God to be experienced in our lives. The Amazing Grace that saved a wretch like me is the power of God becoming available and known in my life. God’s power is available to us. We only need ask for it, allow it, and rejoice in it.
So with my glass of God, I can allow God to come into my life by clearing my glass of all that might shade, color, or distort the sight of the water within. The clearer my glass, the better the view. And, the better the view, the more God is seen in my life.
And as God is seen in my life, it means I can see God in others lives, as well. You see, this now moves us to the heart of forgiveness.
You are a glass of God. If I truly know that – which I do – then regardless of how murky or distorted your glass might be, it still contains the same God-water my glass has. We’re both dipped from the same God-ocean. Perhaps I can’t see your God-water because you keep your glass dark. But, maybe it’s because my glass is dark. You see, I’m looking out from my glass at your glass. I can only see your glass through the lens of my glass. So, if we both have glasses that are dirty or murky or dark it makes it difficult for either of us to connect and share on a truly spiritual level of love and forgiveness.
What makes your glass opaque? I know mine has been discolored at times by egotism, anger, anxiety, illness, pettiness, and on and on. My glass has blocked the view of the God-water for most of my life.
Today, though, I feel the glass becoming clearer. My devotion to my spiritual path is gradually cleaning my glass of the many fingerprints and dirt my ego has placed on it. The color of the glass is beginning to lighten.
If you want your glass to become clearer, you have to commit to a spiritual path, a journey of ongoing devotion. You can improve the quality of your glass through study, prayer, and meditation. By devoting to this congregation, you can lift the veil over the God-water bit by bit.
Some of you will clean your glass quite rapidly. Some, like me, may take longer. In fact, maybe lifetimes. It is no doubt a journey. But journeys are never completed without a beginning.
Today could be your beginning. It could be the very day you say to yourself, “I can’t see through my glass to God. Others can’t see my God-water, either.” Today you can make a solemn commitment to yourself to devote your life to your spiritual journey.
This Glass of God is the metaphor that really helped me visualize and internalize my relationship with God. I am both of God, yet apart. At least until I choose to pour my water back into the ocean. Perhaps that occurs when we transition, or when our spirit reaches a level of awareness and understanding that allows us to return to the ocean of God.
Whichever is true doesn’t really matter to me. What I know is True is that I will at some point be pouring my glass back into the ocean and returning fully in unity with God.