I was scared—and even embarrassed—to ask, “Is God real?” It seemed like a silly and dangerous question.
I feared if I doubted God’s existence, the Great Wizard in the Sky would zap me with a thunderbolt. “Sorry, God,” I’d say when I caught myself wondering if the Creator of the Universe was real. “My bad. Real bad.”
Over time, however, I’ve realized that questioning God’s existence is not a shameful act; it’s an exercise of faith.
Like scientists exploring the universe to gain knowledge, asking questions is an active process that propels us forward in life. By embracing curiosity, seeking knowledge, and engaging in self-reflection, we can live into the answers, discover deeper truths, and evolve into better versions of ourselves.
Theologian Paul Tillich says the opposite of doubt is not certainty. The opposite of doubt is faith.
As described by the fourteenth-century mystic Meister Eckhart, faith comes from three levels of “knowing”—our physical senses, our intellect, and our Spirits.
The first level of knowing comes through our five senses: sight, smell, hearing, taste, and touch. Through our senses we experience the reality of our surroundings and the people we love.
For example, when we touch the skin and hold the hand of a loved one, we know that person is real. Our senses confirm that truth. We can almost smell their love like sweet perfume.
The second level is intellectual knowing, where we use science and reason to study and understand the world.
When we look at an endless sky or the eternal stretch of the oceans, we know a power greater than ourselves must have created the vastness since no human could make a majestic ocean or starlit sky.
Science is a powerful part of intellectual knowing. We can take parts of life, put them under a microscope, study them, and conclude they are real.
But even scientists, such as those at the Heart-Math Institute, are discovering there are truths that exist far beyond our human ability to research and understand. Those truths are elements of spiritual knowing.
According to Meister Eckhart, spiritual knowing is a deep, direct, and intimate experience of God. It goes beyond our senses and intellectual understanding. It’s a profound union with the ultimate reality. It’s all about recognizing our spiritual essence and letting go of the ego to let divine truth manifest in one’s life.
Eckhart states that spiritual knowing is not something that can be reached through external teachings or conventional knowledge. It transcends the limitations of language and reason. It arises from the very core of our being.
Spiritual knowing encompasses the heart, soul, and spirit. It’s a journey of letting go of the false ego and surrendering to the loving divine presence within us. For Christians, the Divine Presence is the Holy Spirit that dwells within our hearts.
One of Eckhart’s central teachings is the idea of the “Divine Spark” or the “Eternal Now” within each individual. He believed that every human soul carries a divine essence of being one with God and is capable of direct communion with the divine. Through spiritual practices such as meditation, contemplation, and prayer, individuals can come to know and experience their true selves, which are inseparable from God.
Eckhart often spoke of the need to let go of the ego and the attachment to external things to open oneself to spiritual knowing. He emphasized the importance of detachment and surrendering to God’s will to allow the divine presence to work within individuals through the gift of grace.
There are several tools we can put into our spiritual toolboxes to let spiritual knowing become our heart’s guide and awaken us to God’s presence and guidance.
Here’s a smorgasbord of practices you can choose from:
Self-Reflection and Introspection
Begin by looking inward and exploring your beliefs, values, and motivations. Engage in regular self-reflection to gain a deeper understanding of your thoughts, emotions, and actions. This process can help you identify any inner barriers or attachments that might hinder your spiritual growth.
Meditation and Mindfulness
Practice daily meditation to quiet your mind and be present in the moment. Mindfulness techniques can help you develop a deeper connection to your inner self and the world around you. Regular meditation can lead to increased awareness, clarity, and spiritual insights.
By entering into meditation, we can learn the language of God, which is silence. We can hear the whisper of God’s voice—the Voice of Love.
Read Spiritual Texts
Explore the teachings of spiritual leaders, philosophers, and mystics from various traditions. Reading the Bible, sacred texts, and writings that resonate with you can provide valuable insights and inspiration on your spiritual journey.
Seek Guidance and Community
Connect with spiritual mentors, teachers, or like-minded individuals who can offer guidance and support. Participating in spiritual communities or attending gatherings and workshops can provide a supportive environment for learning and growth.
Prayer and Contemplation
Engage in daily prayer or contemplative practices to connect with God. Develop a regular practice of seeking guidance, expressing gratitude, and surrendering to the greater wisdom of the Creator. As scripture says, “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10).
Spend time in nature observing its beauty and interconnectedness. Nature can be a powerful teacher, reminding us of the sacredness of life and our place within the larger cosmos.
Practice Compassion and Service
Cultivate compassion and kindness towards yourself and others. Engaging in acts of service can deepen your spiritual understanding as you use your gifts and talents to make the world a more loving place.
Let Go of Attachments
Identify and release attachments to material possessions, outcomes, and ego-driven desires. Embrace a mindset of detachment and surrender, letting you be more open to spiritual insights and transformation.
Trust Your Intuition
Listen to your intuition and inner wisdom. Trust the guidance that arises from within, even if it may not always align with societal norms or external expectations. Practice discernment—the art of learning how to discover—and follow the movement of the Holy Spirit in your life.
Embrace Life’s Challenges as Invitations to Grow
Embrace life’s challenges as opportunities for growth and learning. Difficulties and hardships can lead to profound spiritual insights and resilience.
Instead of resisting problems that arise and pouting, “Why me?” stop and ask yourself, “What virtue am I being invited to embrace and integrate into my life through this challenge?”
Spiritual knowing is not a destination but a continuous process of growth and discovery. It requires patience, persistence, and an open heart. Be gentle with yourself and let the journey unfold naturally, trusting your Inner Work will lead to spiritual insights and understanding.
The pathway to understanding that God is real involves the three levels of knowing Eckhart teaches: knowing through our senses, our intellect, and our Spirits.
By embracing all three we grow in mind, body, and Spirit.
And asking if God’s real, isn’t a silly question. It’s the essence of faith.
PS: For a guided meditation called: “Who Is God to You? Who Are You to God?” click on the link below to my YouTube Page.
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