“If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill the Buddha” – Zen Proverb
How I define the concept of a “Higher Power”, a “God”, a “Universal Intelligence”, etc. is a problem that has troubled me for quite some time. The right definition, one that fits within the confines of my experience, still eludes me. I’m never sure what language to use to describe it. Words seem to fail entirely. But words give character and meaning to concepts, and so choosing the words carefully and experimenting with them helps me to shape my understanding. This writing is an attempt to work this through. It’s a process, and a dizzying one, so, bear with me. But, if you do dig through the dirt with me, I think you’ll find the nuggets are pretty golden. :)
I’ll give you a brief synopsis (so not to lead you blindly down and back a trail of false logic).
The idea “What if I just call it Power?” examines the possibility of understanding a concept by its name, in other words, at face value. This method of understanding meaning in simple, direct terms (by their words) allows for an upfront understanding of meaning, while respecting the subjective nature of reality they describe, and accommodating interpretation, but not demanding it. (“Call it whatever you want, but don’t call it anything else.”).
Now, to the how and why of it. I’ll start with what I know, which are the terms and meanings that DON’T work:
Option #1: “God”
“God” is much too negatively charged, and too specific. It is a terms that turns out to be specific while it should really be subjective. I hear it has saying, “Call it (“it”) whatever you wan’t, but call “it” God”. Obviously, this doesn’t work. And besides that, it connotes a diety — which is by itself is uncomfortable for me. It is too human, too limiting. In the past, I’ve used it as a short-hand, but it has become cumbersome, when spiritual expressions, to constantly have to qualify myself by explaining that by the term “God” I really mean a non-theist idea of God, which is any oxymoron.
For short-hand it can work, but not well, and for the purpose of my own understanding there has to be something more workable.
Option #2: “Spirit” or “Spirituality”
This is simultaneously too broad and too narrow. Spirituality, in my own terms, is a term that describes a relationship; a relationship between me and with my world — it is me, my experience, and it is how I relate with my experience, but it does not at all offer up any additional understanding of what spirit is, beyond the fact that it is central to my being.
Looking at its original meaning, embedded in it the word spirituality is “spirit”, which comes from mid-13c., meaning an “animating or vital principle in man and animals,” or from Anglo-French spirit, Old French espirit “spirit, soul” (12c., Modern French esprit) and directly from Latin spiritus “a breathing respiration, and of the wind.
“These things I have experienced are relatively true.”
In the world of the relative, I have come to know a few things for sure, things I can take as true, but that can be observed by no one else.
One, things can and do occur that I, as the discrete entity “Megan Carruth”, do not consciously design, organize, power, or control. In my subjective reality, in my own consciousness of a web of connections (neural networks, etc.) between events, ideas, positions and suppositions based on relative truths, posits, (theorems)* I did not cause them.
And two, these occurrences (co-incidents) seem to imply a communication, or a live wire between “me” and “my experience”, i.e., a direct linkage between the two, a correlation of events between inner and outer realities— a working togetherness of synchronicity. I have seen an experienced a working order in my experience (relative to the inner world of my thoughts and feelings) which is improvable in absolute terms, but undeniably work. I feel, I understand, I know.
Option #4: “I Am That I Am” (OM)
- “I Am That “God”;
- “I Am”: That God”;
- “I Am That: God”;
- “I Am (v) That I Am (n)”.
I will pause while you ponder this if you want.
These all work, too. “I” Am God”, yes, yet there is more to God than just “That” (which is Me), because there is a vastness to reality that, for me as Megan, myself, my self, it is impossible to comprehend!
I can only comprehend that which I can recognize, think about, feel and experience, and surely there is more to life than that. How arrogant to think that I am alone in the Universe, just me, Megan and her consciousness, hallucinating this entire experience. Megan Carruth, creator of the Universe! The driving force and enabler of all! That would mean that you who are reading this do not exist, but you do, don’t you?
Option #5: “The Universe”
Universe means “all of matter and existence as a whole”, but it’s a material term, and using material terms to convey a subjective idea is crossing between two paradigms, and there has to be a better working metaphor than that.
So—the big question. What if, instead of calling this idea of all, the driving force and cause behind everything that is, I stripped it of extraneous qualities and just let it describe itself? (See foot note 1).
What if I just called it “Power”?
- n- the ability to do something or act in a particular way, especially as a faculty or quality.
- n – the capacity or ability to direct or influence the behavior of others or the course of events.
- v- supply (a device) with mechanical or electrical energy.
- v -move or travel with great speed or force.
Yes, I think Power is vague enough to work. But there are other two other things it needs to account for:
- It needs to speak to the order and meaning that I have experienced in my own life
- It must also recognize that I myself am not “it” (I.e., there is existence outside the realm of my own experience).
Couldn’t an accurate term for that phrase above be “the Power, Being, and Intelligence of ALL?”
If so, it could be even further refined to “Universal Power, Universal Intelligence” and “Universal Being”. Or, “Total Power, Total Intelligence…” (I see where the Religious idea of God is hierarchical).
Okay, so The Total Power, Being and Intelligence (of=belonging to, relative to, pertaining to)…ALL.
Here in lies the paradox, though. “All” is the broadest possible definition”, include everything and anything I wish to define… so technically it does work, while it gives definition, as soon as I narrow it, it becomes no longer broad. So, here I’ve run into a problem of semantics.
If “All” can include “me”, but I (me) can not include it (All), then in the hierarchy of ALL, ALL is above me, as a I can experience some of all of my experience, which is a part of the all, but not “all” of all as a whole. (See fractals).
Here is what I know for sure:
- I can experience some of all.
- I am some of All.
- As a part of all, I am integral to All.
- Since All is divisible by me (I), I (me) am also multiplied by All.
- “I” am is the part of All that divides itself.
“ALL makes ALL of ALL’s Parts.” ALL makes itself known, through experience, by dividing itself into parts. Only the subjective, can be experienced, and that is all relative.
That’s empowering (see what I did there)?
ALL can include anything!
Within the realm of my ability to experience it, all is available to me. So, in that sense, any attribute I strive to have, whether it be power (the ability to drive something forward) love (the feeling of similarity, (kind-ness)) help, unity, understanding…all of those things all are available within this definition of ALL, and are available to me, because they ARE me.
Define: attribute: A quality or feature regarded as a characteristic or inherent part of someone or something. And as a verb, it is regard something as being caused by.
Word for being a apart of, characteristic of, inherent to, ALL, but what is it caused by? Well, we are now back to Power.
What if I just called it Power?
1] The definition of “self explanatory” is explained (v.) by itself". If “it is explained by itself”=true, then the statement “what” it is explaining Itself means (that statement) it is referencing itself, by exemplifying itself, and that statement, which references itself is an example of itself, which is recursion. In fact, this [definition] contains an [example of itself], see [definition], ad infinitum. So the answer is recursive; contained within self, referencing itself forever. Also, See Fractals
2] In mathematics, a theorem is a statement that has been proven on the basis of previously established statements, such as other theorems—and generally accepted statements, such as axioms.