Trying to Connect with God

(Written in March 2009)
I’ve been reading God’s Joyful Surprise by Sue Monk Kidd, whose Secret Life of Bees I love. This one is a little difficult because her experience is so different from mine. She was clearly loved by her parents, but at the same time she internalized the competitive cultural spirit — possibly because they had given her the confidence to succeed? So she tried to do it all “Super Mom” etc. and nearly killed herself. Being forced to slow down made her question how she was going about being a Christian and what was her relationship to God. She had experiences of God loving her unconditionally that I really envy. The closest I ever got was the Red Woman’s approval as I worked on the painting, the couch that morphed into a goddess, and the welcoming God at the gate of heaven. Unfortunately none of those lasted — and also they came spontaneously, when I wasn’t trying. I think of all the work I’ve done, the years of Zen practice, the years of therapy, for so little result. Though I can see that trauma had a large part in it. How could I advance spiritually with such gaping unhealed wounds? And it was the pain of the wounds that drove me, not a sense of discontent with a life that at least outwardly looked like a success.

I have been trying to hand my life over to God. I don’t remember exactly when I started, but I was feeling so confused and hopeless and discouraged, and that my own efforts were unavailing, so I started praying something like “I can’t do this, god, so if you want me to continue, if my life has some meaning in your scheme of things, then You must help me. You must show me what to do and help me do it.” I keep letting go of the financial situation into God’s hands, and I’ve been letting go of Neskaya too, since it’s obvious that I can’t make much contribution there the way I am right now. Not that I am somehow expecting god to make everything all right. I have no idea what God’s plan is, or how Neskaya fits into it.

What I’m trying to do is stay in the present moment as much as possible, take care of myself and my dog, and keep asking for help.

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2 Responses to Trying to Connect with God

  1. Mari says:

    I’m a bit like you. I’m carrying past traumas, and I simply can’t connect with God. I have tried very hard to find him and love him but I don’t think I’ll ever be able to connect with him unless he blesses me with amnesia or I get sedated and agree to live like a robot. I would never even have bothered to try and connect with him if it wasn’t that I learnt that it is he who’s witholding my financial progress. Someone said that I should seek the face of God for everything to go splendidly in my life, and that the reason why my life is blocked is that I have always shunned God. This is a very tall order for someone who is full of hatred towards God. Indeed, how can I bring myself to love a God who allows thieves, liars and crooks to prosper, and does nothing to prevent little children from being ill-treated? I can’t connect with a God who’s like that.

  2. jenny says:

    Dear Mari, O gosh I can’t BEGIN to tell you how much sympathy I feel for you. You really need to connect with god, but you are too honest and caring to accept a god who “allows thieves, liars and crooks to prosper, and does nothing to prevent little children from being ill-treated”. I’ve had this same problem all along, and it occasionally gets in my way. I do not believe that god is “he”, I tend to use a blend of pronouns “he/she/it/they”, and am more likely to use the word “spirit” when trying to talk about the divine. I think the first time I started to connect with the divine was when I began to do Buddhist sitting practice. I found the Bodhisattva of Compassion a presence I could relate to. The statue of this being at the Rochester Zen Center was a lovely androgynous being with a compassionate face. I also went on a trip to Europe, and in Brittany saw a sculpture of Jesus with the most compassionate face I’ve ever seen. He was bending over a large fish with little tiny figures in his open mouth, and I was told that these were the beings in Hell being rescued by Jesus. I thought that to see that compassionate face looking down at you would bring anyone out of hell. I began to get it that Jesus was an incarnation of the Bodhisattva of Compassion. I also think of Jesus saying “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto the least of these, ye have done it also to me.” That God is saying that people who exploit and abuse others are doing it to God. I think that God cares very much about what happens to people. That God also FEELS everything that is done to any one. The fact that he/she/it/they doesn’t always interfere is a mystery. I’ve had amazing responses to direct prayer, and also complete lack of response. Some say it’s not that God didn’t respond, it’s that he/she/it/they didn’t respond in the way we wanted or a way we can see. This is getting long enough to be a Blog post in itself! I also suggest you read my post about “God Image” http://jennydeupree.com/?p=952 and check today’s post (October 8, 2011)

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