Invisible, unreasonable God

One of the blogs I follow  is The Human Picture by ShimonZ from Israel. In a recent post he wrote about Purim, a Jewish holiday that celebrates “the invisibility of God or the fact that God’s presence in the world is not always obvious or reasonable.”

It’s the second part, that God is not always obvious or reasonable, that I like.

Although every religion has its distinct differences, something that sets it apart from the others, they all share a core philosophy of love, compassion, tolerance. The tolerance part gets lost a lot of times in dogma, but if you look at its origins, it’s there.

I’m not really sure what I think about God. Part of the reason I’m drawn to Buddhism is because of the idea that everything we need to live a happy, peaceful life is already inside us. An atheist can be a Buddhist. Or a Christian, Jew, whatever. It doesn’t matter. A meditation practice and the Buddha’s teachings can help anyone become more present in their life, more compassionate and joyful. Most of the Buddhists I know dismiss the idea of a higher power, something “other” that’s out there in the world.

But I don’t know if I buy that either. I’ve always felt the presence of something else, something invisible, but out there that’s both separate and a part of myself. Buddha nature itself, that indescribable thing that connects all of us could just be another manifestation of God.
The idea of God, for many of us, is the lifeline we hold onto. The part that doesn’t make sense, that seems unreasonable and is certainly invisible. When bad things happen, we tell ourselves that it’s God’s will, or that it’s making way for something better, or it’s karma, or there’s a lesson there we need to learn. But it all comes down to the same thing–some universal, cosmic truth that rules us.

Maybe it’s human nature that we have to attribute human qualities to God in order to understand him/her/it. Hindus have thousands of manifestations of the One. We have our prophets, our enlightened ones, our saviors. Somehow over time, they’ve lost their human flaws and become divine so we have some image of perfection to aspire to.
I used to have a hard time with the wrathful aspect of God. Again, it’s the eastern religions that helped me see that it’s all about balance. In Hinduism as well as in the Vajrayana, Tibetan and Tantric traditions, the opposite of the compassionate bodhisattva is a blood-drinking demon with a necklace of skulls. Although, they might seem horrible, they are not, in fact, considered evil. Rather, they remind us that compassion can take many forms and wear many faces, that things are not always what they seem to be on the surface. They also symbolize the effort it takes to follow a spiritual path, the trials we might encounter, the temptations of the world.

For me, it also serves as a reminder that God, too, can take many forms, and sometimes they might seem unreasonable.



7 thoughts on “Invisible, unreasonable God

  1. Shimon’s view you spoke of in the beginning is interesting indeed.

    At the beginning of last year, I knew I was falling apart. I joined a local Buddhist centre and did a meditation course & meditated after it finished (it was 6 weeks long), every single day, and felt better for it. But when there is a straw that breaks a camel’s back, well, it breaks the camel’s back, & the inevitable, after a long time of building up, occurred.

    Yet, in that space of time that I was present with meditation, it was different. All of life was different, yet the present day difficulties did remain, & did continue to draw me down.

    Me, I do believe in God, but I’ve not said as much on other sites, sites that are only about passing on the belief of God, because I don’t want to be drawn into debating Christianity and so on, which would just take time away from my main goal of my blog. Yet, because of what you shared, I felt okay to let you know my belief – & not be drawn into a ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ argument.

    So you are Buddhist? As I say, I only touched on it, but it was very credible to me, that God is within us all. And yes, all religions seem to have the same core belief – and then they get screwed up by the people.

    Yep, enjoyed this thoughtful post.

    • Thanks so much for your comments, Noeleen.
      Yeah, I would say I’m a Buddhist, although I have a lot of respect for all religions. One of the other things I like about Buddhism is the idea that if it works for you, great. If it doesn’t, find something that does and hold on to it. There are lots of paths to the source. I understand what you’re saying about meditation, too. Life still goes, all the problems don’t go away, but over time we become different and it doesn’t feel like we’re being tossed about by circumstances we can’t control. We learn to be still when things come up. I’ve been enjoying your blog, too, by the way.

  2. Jordan,
    I loved the sentence about the how the opposite of the compassionate God is the blood drinking demon with a necklace of skulls–which illistrates how complex everything is–that not everything is as it seems. We’ve just been at the Paro tshechu in Bhutan, where manifestations of wrathful dieties abound–all with their “other” side–wisdom, compassion, peace. What a world! Gretchen.

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