One of the obsessions we humans have ever possessed since the birth of self-consciousness is our search for God. Where is He? How can we find Him? From religions to philosophies, even various theories of modern cosmology, we are never tired of this search.
The irony, however, is that because of self-consciousness, we had lost our ability to feel Him. Self-consciousness became one of the biggest reasons and obstacles why we helplessly search for Him outside of us.
If so, why we gained self-consciousness in the first place? Why are we aware of ourselves? What is consciousness on earth?
There could be many explanations. One could be our survival. When we were hunter-gatherers, we had to move around in the field for survival. Our spatial sense must be keen to locate us correctly. Yesterday we got food here, today we are still here, and tomorrow we have to go there, and so on. And this sensitivity is not only for space but also for time.
As we invented agriculture, the sense of spacetime developed further. For example, the seeds we sowed this year will cause our harvest next year in the same field. Remembering this specific spacetime was the critical factor for survival. As agriculture got sophisticated, tribal communities developed institutionally; hence, civilizations emerged.
Sensing spacetime is one of the fundamental bases for self-consciousness. Seeing ourselves in the past, present, and future, we simulate ourselves in mind where we call each segment past, present, and future for the sake of this simulation. Likewise, locating ourselves in a geographical position required the same simulation. In our mind, we imagine the particular location where we put ourselves.
When we think of space and time placing ourselves at these specifics, the efforts are only in our mind.
Because of self-consciousness, we see ourselves in our mind. In the same reason, we see others in our mind. And, we even assume that others also see us in their mind. Moreover, we try to see God in our mind. And we think that God also sees us in His mind. Thus, we fall in the deception that God exists somewhere in our imagery spacetime dimension.
We seek God outside.
In the story of the Garden of Eden, we can symbolically see this process.
In the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve lived unconsciously with God. They knew Him unconsciously; hence, they did not seek Him. God was within them. They were within Him.
However, as they ate the fruit from the tree of the knowledge, they gained the sight that can see themselves and Him consciously.
And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.Genesis 2:16-17
And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.Genesis 2:25
And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden. And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself. And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?Genesis 3:8-11
Because of this sight they gained, they saw themselves naked and got ashamed, even hid from God’s sight. Because of the view they earned, they can no longer see Him unconsciously.
God is no longer within them, and they are no longer within Him, either. Both became mutually exclusive.
They seek God outside.
Not only that, God kicked them out from the Garden of Eden. God threw us humans to the spacetime dimension that our mind deceptively sees Him and ourselves. And because of time, space, mind, and consciousness, outside of the Garden of Eden, life became suffering.
Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee. And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.Genesis 3:16-19
Life is suffering because of our living, aging, sickness, and death. We face various conflicts separating us from others and God. We love and hate others, so do they. Even we feel God loves and hates us in the same way.
We worship our gods and hate gods of others and vice versa. We hate, even kill each other because of gods.
We seek God outside. We still do.
It is, however, never hopeless. The light shines in the darkness, even though this darkness doesn’t understand the light.
And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.John 1:5
Jesus has declared that the Kingdom of God is at hand. We don’t have to seek Him far away. He must be just at hand.
From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.Matthew 4:17
We don’t have to seek God outside.
Searching Him externally in our mind and consciousness is the fundamental error we’ve ever made since the birth of self-consciousness; since Adam and Eve ate the fruits and left the Garden of Eden.
Stop seeking Him outside and forget ourselves. In this divine cessation and repentance, we would realize where God could be. He is nowhere but now-here within.
Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it.Luke 17:33
And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.Luke 17:20-21
Forget, repent and deny ourselves. Losing our life, we could see a glimpse of timeless, spaceless eternity. In our perception, we could scarcely say the Kingdom of God is within us.
Meister Eckhart said in his writing as follows:
God is closer to me than I am to myself, and my essence hangs upon the fact that God is close to me and his presence is with me.
It is true that if a man goes out into the field, says his prayers and senses God, or goes to church and senses God there, he senses him better in these places on account of their silence. Yet this is the man’s own failing, not God’s. For God is the same in all things and in all places, and he is willing to give himself in the same way, as far as he exists. They recognize God rightly who recognize him equally in all things.The Kingdom of Heaven is Within You
Image by lmaresz