For many people around the world, there is such frustration with the traditional religious approach to connection with God; so much so that many people are not only walking away from churches but walking away from any belief or conscious experience of what God is. As Martin Cecil said on one occasion, if our understanding of what is meant by the word God is false, that misunderstanding elicits a lack of faith. So I believe it’s important to look at how we have seen our relationship with the very source of life and the very source of love and understanding that lies within us.
All too often, the presentation of God that is made through religion is of an aloof and often punitive Supreme Being. There may be an attempt to worship or pray to that God. On that basis, there is little experience of communion. There’s a reaching out to this supposedly aloof God who dwells, we know not where—somewhere up there, for most people. Sometimes there is enough religious fervor that a connection is made. But how quickly that fades for so many.
Others have sought an approach to spirituality through meditation and yoga, looking for enlightenment. And yet, still the spiritual experience that is sought often seems remote.
I want to propose to you that this presentation of God and what it means to commune with God is altogether false. Within it is a false premise as to what is actually happening in our experience as human beings.
We seek to worship a God that seems to ignore us. I want to propose that the reality of worship is a two-way street. In the common use of the word, worship is our attempt as lowly human beings to honor and glorify a seemingly remote God. But long before any human being ever sought to worship God, the reality of the source of life and of love and all power in the human experience was worshipping at the altar of them as human beings. If you think of this from a factual standpoint, what I have just said is an absolute statement of fact, because the power and the love of the Universe was invested in that one cell that was the beginning for every person who comes into the world. There was no conscious worship from us at that point. There was no religion. But nonetheless, if the word worship means to honor—and the root of it does—is not the investment of the Power of Creation in that one cell an act of worship? God so cherishes the substance of that one cell that He invests it with His own Being. And He never ceases to do that for the form of the human being as long as a person is alive.
The reality of whatever God is comes into us and has, all our lives. It has come into our hearts. Any feeling of love that you have originated in that source. Is it not true? Not on a religious basis—on a scientific basis. The power of the Universe is what fuels you. You have no other power. It is in your atoms; it is in your cells, your tissues and organs. It is that power that is moving through your emotional body. It is that power that’s moving through your mind. What other power would there be?
Is that not evidence that the power of the Universe has come to you, is communing with you now, in this moment, and always has been? It is loving and honoring you so much that it is energizing and sustaining your life experience.
The Cosmic Power within you loves you, honors you, worships you, adores you, cherishes you, relishes entering you as a human being. It is, right now, cherishing every tissue, gland and organ within your body. It is stimulating your thoughts with the light of Universal Intelligence. The same intelligence that created all the Universe is now stimulating your thoughts.
We as human beings seem to do a pretty good job of blocking the intelligence of the Cosmos as it seeks to come through us, but yet it comes through in undeniable ways. Our apparent ability to block Cosmic Intelligence does not prove the lack of its presence. All it proves is the magnitude of human resistance to that wisdom. Nonetheless, the Cosmic Intelligence is so loving our mental capacity, even now, that it is shedding its Light into our mental capacity—because after all, what other energy is there that would stimulate our mental capacity, other than the energy of the Cosmos? There is no other energy.
The reality of God is honoring us and worshipping at our altar. If we build a church and we go to that church, that church is our place of worship. We’re not worshipping the church, but we’re going to that church, or wherever we go to worship, to worship the spirit of what’s in that church. We as human beings were made to be God’s church. We are where God comes to worship.
I don’t think that we have the illusion that in this process God has, in any way, compromised His character by worshipping at our church. We may have compromised the expression of what God is. We may have compromised the spirit of God as it has come through us, and colored it and so distorted it. That is what happened for Dylann Roof, the shooter in South Carolina. And yet I can assure you that the spirit of God is with that young man even now, forgiving him without even having to make a decision to do so. It is, quite apparently, the nature of the source of life within us to give of itself to us, even as it is giving to that young man right now, without regard to what he has done. He has the same opportunity that any person on the face of this earth has, which is to repent—to change—and acknowledge that God is worshipping at the altar of his Being, in his church, and that he could receive that and then pass it on without distorting it, without coloring it.
It is glorious when a person has the same attitude that the source of life within us all has already. Anthony Thompson, the husband of one of the victims in South Carolina, said this to Dylann Roof:
I forgive you. My family forgives you. We would like you to take this opportunity to repent…. Do that, and you’ll be better off than you are right now.
The fact is that most people color what comes from inside them. And why? There are many, many factors, but does it not make sense that if I believe in an aloof and punitive God that I am trying to worship—that I am holding up as the epitome of Being—that I would, in the living of my life, unconsciously emulate that aloof and punitive God, and that I would relate to other people in an aloof and punitive way? Apparently, Dylann Roof fell prey to this pattern, but he is in good company in that regard. We don’t all go out and get a gun, but it’s so prevalent in our world for people to approach others in an aloof and punitive way, in a way that doesn’t acknowledge that we, just like the God that’s within us, are already in communion with the people in our world.
Believing in an aloof God who demands our worship, we believe, These people need to come worship me, adore me. Like I believe God is thinking about me, they have to somehow come to me and do some extraordinary thing to be in communion with me.
Profound experiences of communion with other people are often seen as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I remember I had an experience of love once. It was on a beach once, back when I was twenty-three years old… And we hold up a single experience when our defenses broke down enough that we knew oneness as an extraordinary thing. And then it happened!
I say we are already in communion with all the people around us. If God is in communion with them and with us, and if that God is finding expression through us to whatever degree, are we not drawn into communion, into oneness, by that one reality of energy and intelligence that’s flowing through us and through all people, all the time, however distorted it may come out?
In the United States of America, we just celebrated our independence from England. A major factor in the history of our country was that King George believed in an aloof and punitive God and then acted like one towards the colonies. In the process, he totally underestimated the impact that that was going to have on his heretofore loyal subjects in the colonies. He thought he could continue in his own aloof and punitive rule and get away with it. It apparently didn’t enter his head that people in America could have a radically different view of God and therefore of themselves.
We have the opportunity to allow our consciousness to be penetrated by the already-existing fact of the communion that’s present within our own Being. Experiences of deep communion and deep prayer can break down the hardness of the human heart, so that consciousness can crack open and we can realize the already-existing fact, the already-existing reality. That fact is that the Holy Spirit is within us, not as the spirit of an aloof and punitive God but as the holiness of the spirit of the Creator that is at our core. It is present, seeking to be acknowledged and seen for what it is.
Can you imagine if you were God and there was a human being who was trying to worship you, and devoutly going to a church and praying, believing you were far off and punitive, and not recognizing that you had already worshipped them and honored and loved and cherished them? You might look at that human being, almost heartbroken, and think, How could you? How could you be so ungrateful for what’s already been given?
Then we wait for enlightenment. We wait for Jesus to save us, or God to forgive us. It’s not hard to see how the efforts of human beings to be religious, or even spiritual, so often cut across the already-existing reality of the presence of what God is, if that word God has any meaning at all. And what really has to happen for there to be a change in human experience is a breakdown of whatever veil there is in the human mind and heart that doesn’t understand and doesn’t see how the reality of God is worshipping them now, already.
Knowing that you’ve been worshipped, is worship of God an effort? Do we have to go through some great ritual, ceremony, or reach some high religious fervor in order to worship God? If we need rituals and ceremony, it’s to break down the veil that’s present in our own heart—the veil of unseeingness, the veil of ingratitude—so that we can know what’s already true: we are being loved, we are being worshipped. Knowing that you are loved, knowing that you are worshipped, is it hard to love and worship back? Is that an effort? Not at all. It’s just reciprocity, the natural response to having received such a great gift.
I was observing and pondering the way we relate as men and women. I believe that what I observed relates to all relationships, but comes to focus between men and women in a particular way. Being a man, I’ll take responsibility for the man’s side of the equation.
It seems to me that we, as men, have a way of being with women that mirrors our own underlying belief about God. We believe that God is aloof and punitive. Or perhaps we believe that God doesn’t exist. (That is about as aloof as God can become in the human experience—nonexistent.) Then, as men, who see God that way, we act in that same way toward women. And so we are aloof and maybe even punitive. Or perhaps we treat women like they don’t exist.
We applaud the men who aren’t punitive and who are only aloof. But surely, being aloof is not a recipe for creative relationships between people. And how else would a man be when he sees God as being aloof and punitive? How else would he be but that way with everyone in his life?
A man who knows that the spirit and the reality of God is pervasive—within himself, within his own heart and within his own mind and in his own body, and then within all people, and within all of Creation—knows that the spirit that lives in him, the spirit of his God, is already within all people and within all women. He’s already in communion; he’s already not aloof. He doesn’t have to try to connect, go to communication school or take relationship classes. Communication school can be good, and relationship training might be useful. But what a man who knows that he’s penetrated by the spirit of God knows is that the spirit that he is is within all people everywhere. So he’s already in communion, he’s already connected, he’s already one. He’s not trying to connect… Yes, there are efforts to be made at a social level. But that’s a confirmation of what’s already true inside. You can’t make it true outside if it’s not true inside. When I know it’s already true inside that you and I are one, then all the social niceties are a confirmation of a truth that’s already true.
The following words were transcribed while Uranda was in the Rocky Mountains with several people. There was someone with him who had the wherewithal to transcribe his words by shorthand as he was speaking. He entitled the piece Temples of the Living God. These are only a few of the words from all of what he said on that occasion.
All things on earth God created for the pleasure of man, but man He created for His own pleasure. And so it is that humankind, awaking from a long, sad dream, begins to know that truly man, as God created him, male and female, is the Temple of the Living God.
And as nature springs forth to greet man and provide the necessities of his comfort, so should man spring forth to greet the Living God, and provide for the necessities of His comfort here on earth. The long-lost Temples of the Living God have now been found, and being repaired and renewed unto Him, His Glory begins to fill the Temple and shine round about, until the pleasures of the Living God shall be known in all the earth, and the Joy of Being shall vibrate in every living thing. Behold, the Temples of the Living God.
Sometimes when I enter a physical church, I’m comforted by that structure and by the people who worship there; by the songs that they sing in their honoring of God in whatever fashion they do so. And sometimes I wish that I worshipped at a similar church—but I don’t. Ultimately, I’m most thankful that I don’t, because what I know is that we are His church. We are His temple. And ultimately, that we will be stripped of the façade of all human institutions, because institutions are not God’s church. They never could be and never will be. As the façade of church is stripped away in our experience, we may know and appreciate fully that we ourselves are the Temple of the Living God. The substance of our Being, the substance of our love, the substance of our gratitude, our ability to welcome the reality of what God is—that is the church. That is the Temple.
So as we find ourselves bereft of the institutions that have brought some comfort and reassurance to the human experience, may we in that same moment know that we are the Temple of the Living God. We are that individually, but in truth we are that together. It is said in Revelation, “And they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.” I say if God himself is to be our God, we have to know that we are His church, His Temple. How else could it be? Let us welcome Him to worship here.