Oh, God.

godI was talking with an spiritual coach I know recently, about her experience with clientele on the East Coast (US), vrs. my experience of Santa Fe spiritual counseling. In general she felt there was a more open attitude toward personal growth out West. Having lived and worked on both coasts and in between, I would tend to agree — as a generality. (Of course if you’re on the East Coast I’m talking about those other people, not you!)

But the thing that most caught my attention was when she mentioned people she’s worked with recently seem to have a problem with God, or calling God “God”. A lot of her clients seem to feel more comfortable with terms like “The Universe”, or “Spirit”, or “Source”, etc. I’ve noticed the same thing in my spiritual counseling practice.

I get it, though. In some cases, it’s a reaction to early exposure to organized religion that didn’t resonate, or worse, was forced on us without mercy. The word “God” has too much charge on it, so we look for another way to describe an all encompassing spiritual force. Or, maybe we’re trying to find a way to depersonalize the “man in the sky” concept of God. Or, maybe we were severely persecuted in a past life in the name of God, and God isn’t a concept that makes us feel so warm and fuzzy today.

I think it’s fine to use whatever term we want to refer to divinity. But I do see some advantages to using the word God, and praying to a “personal” God, especially if it makes us uncomfortable!

One advantage is that if we have any kind of charge against God, that charge is anger, fear, resentment etc. that we have within us, and unless we like carrying that stuff around, it needs to go. Using the word God instead of avoiding it gives us the opportunity to clear the charge.

Another advantage, and this is a huge one, is that we come to Earth School to learn a few basic lessons, and surrender (AKA “letting go”) is a major one. And in order to surrender, we’ve got to surrender TO something. As the AA folks put it, we need to surrender to “a power greater than ourselves”. When it comes to surrender, the concept of a personal all-powerful, all-knowing God allows us to get our deepest work done. Surrendering to “The Universe” is like “surrender lite”. It’s OK to start with, but doesn’t quite have the same depth of commitment.

And so my suggestion, if you’re open to suggestion, is that if you happen to find yourself uncomfortable with the word “God” for any reason, try using it for a while, and see what sort of milage you get. If you choose to do really that, I’d be interested to know what happens.

2 Responses

  1. Phil Petachenko

    Dear Max,

    It’s very refreshing to read your bare feelings and reactions/responses. Thank you for being human; for ever evolving and helping us to also let go.

  2. Max Highstein

    Thank you, Phil! It’s always a pleasure to hear from you.