Friday, April 17, 2009

Rami: Response to Mike's 4/16 Post

I was pleasantly surprised to hear that you agree with my notion that spiritual practices are designed to lead us to surrender. I don’t believe we can surrender, for that is still an act of will, but I do believe that we can be surrendered, and this is the great goal of authentic spiritual practice.

I also appreciate your taking this even further. The great discovery one experiences when surrendered to God is that we are loved just as we are. This is the parable of the Prodigal Son. The fallacy of religion is to think that we need to bring the Kingdom of God in the future, when in fact all we need do is live it here and now.

I still have trouble with God granting or denying my requests, however. First of all, if God agrees that what I desire is good, why doesn’t God just give it to me in the first place? And if what I desire is wrong, why entertain the request at all? And then there is the problem of God playing the role of parent or potentate. In the first case we are reduced to children, in the second to serfs. I’m not happy with either.

While I continue to share my life with my dad, and ask his advice, I don’t ask him for things, nor do I want him to tell me what to do. I want his love, his respect, his pride, and if this is what I want from my earthly father, all the more it is what I want of my heavenly Father. It just seems too anthropomorphic for my tastes.

As I have said many times, God for me is reality: all that was, is, and will be. Reality is creative and open to change, indeed reality is change, and so I am not fated to do one thing or another. I don’t ask reality for anything (though I can and do thank it for everything). Rather I engage what is to the best of my ability and then move on to engage what is next. The quality of my interaction in this moment will influence (though not control) the quality of the next moment, and religion at its best teaches me how to live out of the highest qualities—justice, compassion, and humility.

On to the Golden Rule?

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