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.
SalvationI need for God to come and hold me To shelter me from rain I need for God to take me in his arms Allow me to lie there once again To follow on from whence I came to earth To separate the twin of fear I need for God to come and save me From this echelon of clear forbidden waters In which I find myself submerged I need for God to take me from my sin And wrongful actions purge I need for miracles and angels To deliver me from harm I need for purity and innocence My useless weapons to disarm I need exquisiteness and splendour I need magnificence defined I need an opening of heart And a cleansing of my mind I need for love to wrap me under Its wings of consequence I need to take into my arms My single troubled aberrance I need to find myself a castaway On an island filled with calm I need to listen to the silence And hold its lessons in my palm I need to sit and look at nothing But a sky and sea of blue I need to lie upon a shore My salvation to imbue I need to rest and be immersed In the remedies I find I need for God to fill me deeply To experience mankind I need belovedness and honour I need an incident of truth I need for God to hold me close Until my bleeding I salute I need for God to come and hold me I need for God to take me near I need his hand upon this journey As I face his heavenly sphere.
DumbfoundedThere is an expression I know Dumbfounded by truth I remember that night In your fountainless youth The present you gave Rendered silent of mouth I saw all of you then I had figured you out I remained stupefied By your action confounded I knew not what to say Your gift my speech bounded As we sat by a candle And you took both my hands I knew not what to do Could not make my demands There was conflict and longing And argument placed There was tension and Questions my heart could not face There were moments I cherished And laughter between But the truth that dumbfounded Nowhere to be seen
Today is National Poetry Day here in the UK.
To celebrate, I’m posting a poem I wrote a few years ago for a friend, whose Mother passed away. I like to think it’s for all of us who have lost someone close.