The word God has become empty of meaning through thousands of years of misuse. I use it sometimes, but I do so sparingly. By misuse, I mean that people who have never even glimpsed the realm of the sacred, the infinite vastness beyond that word, use it with great conviction, as if they knew what they were talking about. Or they argue against it, as if they knew what it is they are denying. This misuse gives rise to the absurd beliefs, assertions, and egoic delusions, such as “My or our God is the only true God, and your God is false,” or Nietzsche’s famous statement “God is dead.”
The word God has become a closed concept. The moment the word is uttered, a mental image is created, no longer, perhaps, of an old man in a white beard, but still a mental representation of someone or something outside you, and yes, almost inevitably a male someone or something.
Neither God nor Being nor any other word can define or explain the ineffable reality behind the word, so the only important question is whether the word is a help or a hindrance in enabling you to experience That toward which it points. Does it point beyond itself toward some transcendental reality, or does it lend itself too easily to becoming no more than an idea in your head that you believe in, a mental idol?
- Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now
I thought it apt to share here this extract from The Power of Now, because I use the word God in my poem below and it is possible that my usage of the word will be misconstrued. My aim in bringing this to light is to show transparency and to avoid seeming hypocrisy. I wrote this poem some years ago – at a different stage of my development – when I was not as careful with the word. Today, I do not believe in God in any traditional or religious sense. How liberating it is for me to write that here.
There are other words which bother me now in the poem, because I know of their traditional or religious meaning – sin, miracles, angels, heaven – and my usage of them does not reflect these interpretations. I am aware however, that sharing my words relinquishes any assumed control over them, and while I offer them here with Tolle’s above quote, I know that each individual will only see them as they are.