Where God is found

by | April 4, 2016

He was tired of running.

He had spent his whole life running — running away from anything unpleasant, hard, challenging, or scary; running toward everything that promised to numb his pain, soothe his inadequacies, muffle his conscience, stifle his purpose.

Persistent promptings, muzzled. Seductive temptations, surrendered to.

The emptiness and futility of it all had caught up to him; he was miserable and was finally ready to admit it to himself.

And so he went on a search to find purpose, meaning, happiness, and ultimately, God. He was in earnest.

He began praying — to what or to whom, he knew not what. But something about it felt good and right.

He read and studied. He listened to many people who gave him their version of God. He searched high and low.

Eventually, his search led him to a spiritual guru renowned for his wisdom.

He asked the guru, “Who is God, and where can I find Him?”

The guru answered, “God is what you turn to for comfort. And He is found in comfort.”

He was confused. “That can’t be right. I have turned to many things in my life for comfort: money, work, partying, sex, women, booze, drugs, porn, gambling, toys, online distractions, TV, sleep — you name it. I have not found God in any of them.”

The guru smiled. “That is exactly right. That is why you have not found God.”

He was even more confused. “But you just said God was found in comfort.”

“That’s right,” the guru smiled. “And have any of these things to which you have turned actually given you comfort?”

He paused and felt a glimmer of understanding. “No. They have only given me the illusion of comfort, but the feeling has faded quickly every time, leaving me feeling empty and lost.”

“Yes,” said the guru. “It is the curse of the Golden Calf. You have heard the story from the Old Testament, have you not?”

He nodded.

The guru continued, “In times of crisis, or when feeling fear, loneliness, homesickness, stress, frustration, or boredom, mankind has always turned to the Golden Calf for comfort, and has always been disappointed.

“God, of course, is none of the things that we make our Golden Calf — but those things become our god. The things we turn to for comfort — whether it is real or not — are the things we worship and devote ourselves to.”

“Since we do not turn to the real God, we can never find comfort. We find God only when we stop turning to counterfeits and turn to Him instead.

“You can know you have found God when you finally feel truly and deeply comforted — despite any external circumstances.”

He sat with this for a while. “This feels good,” he said. “But it still does not tell me who God is or how to find Him.”

The guru responded, “You do not need to find God. God will find you as you surrender all your Golden Calves on His altar. You will feel God and His comfort as you tell Him sincerely, ‘I will give away all of my fears, insecurities, weaknesses, and comfort objects in order to know You.’

“This is faith — the surrendering of every tangible counterfeit of comfort and reaching out for the intangible. As St. John of the Cross put it, ‘If a man wishes to be sure of the road he treads on, he must close his eyes and walk in the dark.’

“Christ had a word for this process. He called it ‘repentance.’ Repentance is not about guilt or shame. It is simply about surrendering your Golden Calves and finding true comfort. It’s what Christ was referring to when He said, ‘Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.’

“Spiritual teacher Adyashanti explains it this way in his life-changing book, Resurrecting Jesus:

‘…you have to say yes to the unknown. You have to know that you don’t know who you are. You have to know that you don’t know what God is. You have to enter into that place where you know that you don’t know what life is. You have your ideas and opinions, but you know that those can’t really be the truth of you, so you’re willing to take a risk. You’re willing to step through the veil and enter into the spiritual domain.'”

He pondered as the guru felt silent. He continued pondering as the guru left him.

And then, after several hours had passed, he took a step into the darkness…

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