about Male-Female Duality

Male – Female duality, the spiritual principal that there is a male and female energy within us that we need to bring into harmony in order to achieve spiritual growth.
I have always wondered about this concept. In many spiritual courses I attended, I heard people throwing judgements around like ‘you need to get in touch with your female energy’.
What does this even mean? And where does this idea come from?

Looking into ancient religion, in Palaeolithic religion the concept of male and female form was first given meaning. In cave paintings horses and bison are seen together very often, and it is believed that the horse stands for the male and the bison for the female form.
Of course, calling the bison female ad horse male wasn’t a completely random thing to do.

The Egyptians well documented their ideas on male and female deities. Interestingly, the god Hathor, the female principle, was found in the form of a cow. As cows and bison are closely related, there is a good chance that the Egyptian male-female principle was brought down through the ages.
The Egyptian god Thoth is known as a male principle, and married to Ma’ath, the female.
When the boat of Ra rose above the waters of Nu for the first time she had her place in it beside Thoth. Thoth is the god of magic, knowledge and writing, he’s supposed to have written the 42 books of Thoth. Ma’ath is the god of law, order and truth.

Thoth has the same qualities as the Greek god Hermes. In Greek Thoth is referred to as Trismegistos, or Hermes the Thrice Great. The Hermetic writings, which form the base of Hermeticism refer to Thoth and Ma’ath as the male and female principles we all carry within us.
The caduceus, the symbol with the 2 serpents has Egyptian and Greek origins as well, where one snake carries the male and the other the female energy.

From the early teachings of the Egyptians and Greeks, we see the male-female principle evolve.
We see the role of female deities evolve from darkness and war to love and fertility.
Especially monotheistic male-driven religion has transformed the shape of male-female duality. Where male and female were on equal foot in pre-dynastic Egypt and other early religion, an imbalance is created, where male overpowers the female energy.
Cue centuries of men talking and writing about male and female principles, and the original equal footing of the principle gets lost in society and scripture. It seems that men carry an all-male energy and women all-female, with the roles assigned to both. Certain religions even practice segregation of the sexes, which is taking separation of the male and female to another level.

The above is not the end-all and be-all of the male-female principle. Though corrupted by certain religions, there have always been schools of thought that have kept up the original idea of the principle, saying it is a natural energy that flows through us all.

The Bahá’í faith is very clear on male-female duality:
The world of humanity has two wings — one is women and the other men.
Not until both wings are equally developed can the bird fly. Should one wing
remain weak, flight is impossible. Not until the world of women becomes equal
to the world of men in the acquisition of virtues and perfections, can success
and prosperity be attained as they ought to be.
(“Selections from the Writings of &Abdu’l-Baha”, sec. 227, p. 302)

Back to the beginning of this blog, the throwing around of terms like: ‘getting in touch with your feminine side’. Personally, I have never bought into this. I strongly feel that we all naturally have a spectrum of qualities within us. Our upbringing and social influences teach us to distinguish those qualities and label them.
In my experience ‘getting in touch with your feminine side’ for many women means sprucing up the body with make-up and fine dress, covering everything with a mantel of ‘loving language’, and displaying other behaviour that is seen as feminine.
For me, being in balance means being authentic towards my own being. It means expressing my feelings both when I am angry as well as filled with love and looking the way that feels natural to me.

Then again, I like non-dualism. The Egyptian philosopher Plotinus came up with the idea that there are three principles: the One, the Intellect and the Soul.
The non-dualistic aspect of his philosophy lays in the One.
The One is beyond anything, it is the light, without naming it ‘light’, because naming it that means there is a dark. The one is the omnipotent matter bringing everything in this world into existence.
I compare the One to dark energy, it’s there but there is no experience tied in with it.
(To read about Plotinus, I recommend Standford University encyclopedia of philosophy: https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/plotinus/)

I definitely have not reached any conclusions when it comes to duality. It is one of the biggest concepts influencing not only spiritual thought, but every aspect of being human.
Please do share your thoughts on this subject, I would love to hear from you.

Namaste

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How do you become ‘Interfaith’?

I had a very brief conversation with someone last weekend, which kept me thinking all throughout this week. I met this very kind lady who gave me and a friend a lift to the train station. Earlier that day I had seen her perform in a choir, singing interfaith songs.
I assumed she was a fellow minister, and asked her when she was ordained. To my surprise she explained she is not a minister, but does consider herself interfaith.

This really made me think about my own spiritual journey. I remember starting the interfaith seminary and realizing ‘I am home’. Not home in the seminary, or the organization organizing the training for me, but I felt home spiritually.
From a young age I had been looking at different traditions and looked into whether specific traditions would suit me. Not 1 religion felt right to me though, mainly to do with the fact that I am a very liberated and outspoken woman that sees herself equal to any man. I saw in so many religions that the essence was beautiful, but it was being spoiled by people putting rules to it. Mainly rules that makes men and women unequal to each other or makes followers of a specific religion better than those that don’t follow it. I have a thing about inequality and about people that consider themselves better and more spiritual than others.
Long story short, I found Interfaith, signed up for the seminary and found my spiritual niche.

The question is: How does one ‘become’ interfaith without following an intensive course and being ordained as a minister?
It’s a question which is very hard to answer. Interfaith is not a religion. It does not have specific scripture or a prophet to follow. It doesn’t have congregations that gather every week in a temple of sorts. There is no baptism or ‘conversion’ to Interfaith. In fact, most ministers find being an Interfaith minister a very individual journey.

For me, there are a few things that define being ‘Interfaith’, and they are to be found in the ethics of the One Spirit organization.
I aim to keep my heart and mind open to everyone, celebrating difference but not separation.
For me this really is the foundation of my being. Accepting everyone for who they are, celebrating the fact that the world is a garden with many different things growing in it, each having its own purpose in our magnificent ecosystem.
I recognise that all paths emphasise the importance of honesty, love for the self and love for the other. Regardless of how certain individuals use religion and spirituality to gain power over the self and others, I recognise that this is not the essence of what religion teaches us. I am committed to find the true essence in spiritual paths.
I understand that my spiritual unfolding is an ongoing process, and dedicate myself to continually deepen my personal spiritual practice, understanding of different faith paths.
I dedicate for my service to be grounded in an authentic and evolving spiritual life.

One thing I care for personally is the interfaith dialogue. To create understanding and dialogue between those of different spiritual backgrounds. We are all just walking each other home.

Anyone who commits themselves to learn about different faith paths and who seeks understanding about their own spirituality, accepting themselves and others just as much in their difference as communality in my opinion is serving the Interfaith cause. Regardless of their spiritual background.

Of course, all of this is just my opinion.

Namaste!

Walking Meditation

Meditating is great, it relaxes the mind and the body, eases stress, allows us to live in the moment.
There are many ways of meditating. From sitting on the curb drinking a cup of tea, watching the world go by to lying in bed listening to a guided meditation.
None is better than another. The important thing is to find what meditation suits you.

I love walking meditation. Walking meditation is nothing more than walking mindfully.
Being aware of each step I take. Stopping to connect to my environment with all my senses, smelling flowers, looking at the sky, feel the ground supporting my feet, touching a tree.
In my mind I will imagine that I am out and about for the very first time in my life, and everything I encounter is being encountered by me for the very first time.
Most of the time when involved in walking meditation, I walk at a very slow and mindful pace. Sometimes I might pick up the pace, seeing how my feet lift, move forward and go down. Being mindful of the strength my body has, to provide me with the ability to carry on forward.
In general, walking meditation is a place somewhere between utter childlike fun and mystic experience.
There are no prerequisites, you can start right now, just walk out that door and experience your environment.

Thich Nhat Hanh is a buddhist monk who has written a lot about mindfulness, he wrote the following poem on walking meditation:

Take my hand.
We will walk.
We will only walk.
We will enjoy our walk
without thinking of arriving anywhere.
Walk peacefully.
Walk happily.
Our walk is a peace walk.
Our walk is a happiness walk.

Then we learn
that there is no peace walk;
that peace is the walk;
that there is no happiness walk;
that happiness is the walk.
We walk for ourselves.
We walk for everyone
always hand in hand.

Walk and touch peace every moment.
Walk and touch happiness every moment.
Each step brings a fresh breeze.
Each step makes a flower bloom under our feet.
Kiss the Earth with your feet.
Print on Earth your love and happiness.

Earth will be safe
when we feel in us enough safety.

Why not give walking meditation a go?
Let me know how you get on.

Namaste

Truth is…

I have always been out there searching for the truth.
More recently I have been pondering about what ‘truth’ means.
There are a lot of people, preaching that they know ‘the truth’.
But what is that, what is ‘truth’?

There are a few things I know about truth. First, each of us knows their own truth.
You are the only person that in day to day life doesn’t see themselves in 3D. Therefore, what your perspective, is always going to be from a different perspective than that of anyone else in this world. This alone dictates that there cannot be just the one truth.

Most often, when we are arguing, we do nothing more than saying to the other: ‘I need you to accept my truth as the truth’. So, those times that you have won an argument, you have heard the other say: ‘I accept your truth as the truth’. That is not to say the other always accepts your truth as the truth, more often than not, they are just tired of trying to make you see their truth.
There is nothing more beautiful than that moment, when you get to know someone and through conversation you really get to see them. You truly see their truth.

‘The truth’ is a very dangerous thing. ‘The truth’ means that you have accepted 1 thing to be the truth and now you do not have to ever think about that thing again, unless something forces you to.
Truth is, people have taken many falsities as truth in the past. The earth is flat, Napoleon was a very short man in his age, Cleopatra was Egyptian, the world will end in 2012, need I go on?
There is much scientific knowledge that we have based modern life on, which might in 50 or 100 years’ time turn out to be completely inaccurate. That is absolutely fine, we can only live with the truth we know in the here and now. The thing is never to stop asking questions about what people consider to be the truth.

I am a sucker for asking questions. I want to understand things.

Part of me becoming an Interfaith Minister is closely tied to wanting to question the truth.
Before being accepted onto the Interfaith seminar, I visited many religions.
My main problem: accepting something as truth.

As I have talked about before in the blog about the God of my understanding, I cannot see God as a being, a man that lives in the sky and intervenes in people’s lives. The same way that I cannot believe that if I clean the house at Passover but leave but 1 breadcrumb, that breadcrumb will allow evil into the house. I can imagine that there are 2 forces in the world, one that is good and one that is evil, but currently I am not accepting it as my truth.
Note that all the above are I-statements. I cannot take these things as my truth, that doesn’t mean that I would ever tell anyone that they cannot take those things as their truth.

Truth is a big thing in Interfaith. As an Interfaith Minister I accept that everyone has their own truth and is entitled to their own truth. This acceptance is a big thing. This acceptance allows me to hear others with an open heart and create an understanding of what is their truth.
I find hearing other speaking about their truth one of the most fascinating things in life.

How are you in your truths? Are you aware of the truths that you live with? Do you challenge your own truth?

One reason to never stop seeking the truth is because we can live with an inner truth that does not help us in any way. If someone tells you a ‘truth’ about yourself enough times, it will likely become an absolute truth for you.

Having been bullied as a teenager, I can tell you a few things about this type of ‘inner truth’.
For years, I was told daily that I smell, I am ugly and I have no reason to exist on this planet.
To this day, I have behaviours that proof that this ‘truth’ forced upon me over 3 decades ago, is still living inside me to date. This doesn’t mean that it goes unchallenged.
Whenever I have a day where I look in the mirror and hear a voice saying I am ugly, I make it a point to look in that mirror for as long as it takes to see the beauty in me.
My truth about me is that I am worthy of this life, I am a beautiful person and I only smell after not showering for 3 days.

Most important thing to realize the difference between your own truth, and truth that was forced upon you. Are your truths things that you have figured out for yourself? Or are they things that others have said to you and you have accepted them as truth because they sounded alright to you?

How many times I have fallen into the trap where someone told me a ‘truth’ about another person, and without questioning it, I believed them. Me, with all my knowledge, being a human as can be.
There is always more than 1 side to a story. Even if all the facts line up against someone, still, there is another side to the story.
We have all been at the wrong side of a story. All of us have been measured by someone else’s made up truth. All of us have measured people by our own made up truth. Simply because we aren’t always in the space where we can meet the other and truly hear them.
The best we can endeavour to be is to have awareness of this. It would take a superhuman to never be in this space of making up truths. In the end, it doesn’t matter.

In the end, truth is…there is no truth.
As long as we will always remember that there is no one absolute truth, we’ll be fine.
I know that I will never stop challenging my truth, I hope you won’t either.

Namaste.

Ong Namo Guru Dev Namo

Mantras are strings of words which are sung in repetition.
Each sound in each word has its own tone and vibration.
These vibrations will impact us from within, as well as the energy around us.

The most well-known chant from Asian tradition is likely Om.
It is hard to describe what Om means. For me, the closest description is that it encompasses and acknowledges the divine truth in all of existence. Don’t take my word for it though, go on your own journey to find out what it means to you.
For me, chanting Om brings me in touch with the divine energy within and around me.
Transforming darkness into light.

One of the mantras I have been chanting a lot lately is Ong Namo Guru Dev Namo.
Those who practice Kundulini yoga might have heard it before.

A translation of the mantra is:
Ong Namo -I bow to the subtle divine wisdom
Guru Dev Namo – I bow to the divine teacher within

Chanting this mantra means you are acknowledging yourself as a spiritual being and as your greatest teacher. Too often we look to the outside world for a spiritual teacher, while in fact we carry the divine within. Acknowledging this divine teacher within us is acknowledging ourselves as whole and full of wisdom. I am my own teacher, therefore I can be my divine self. The divine is the same whether is around me or within me. There is only one divine.

This mantra inspired me to write the following:

There is divine wisdom in everything and everyone.
See the divine wisdom in yourself.
In all your quirks, and pains and faults.
In all your love and all your glory.

It is but when we start to see the teachings in every moment that we truly start to See.
I See me.
I See you.

I want to learn from myself. From my own experiences and from my own wisdom.
The true guru lays inside of me.

Not to look beyond.
Not to be overseen.
Stand tall in your own inner knowing.
Stand tall in your kindness.
Stand tall in your inner peace.

Move forward in love.
Love for life.
Love for the self.
Love for the other.

Meet the other, in yourself.
You are me and I am you.
In love. In spirit.

______________________________________________

Namaste, may you be well, happy and successful.

Form and Essence

One of the most important lessons I learned in spirituality was around the concept of Form.
Form, the outward expression of the philosophy behind any religion.

Form can mean wearing orange robes, black robes, white robes.
It can also mean honouring your ancestors through various ways such as visiting their grave, having a home altar or dancing together with them.
Form is what makes any religion or spiritual conviction recognisable.
As an interfaith minister, I study form in different religions and see how it unites and divides.

Form can unite. It can unite through prayer, song, any ritual that is shared between different religions. As form is the outward expression of the love for one’s god of understanding, it is a most beautiful thing. As the motto of the UN interfaith week says: ‘Love of God & Love of the neighbour, or Love of the Good & Love of the neighbour’.

Form can also divide. Form divides when it’s no longer the outward expression of love for one’s god of understanding. Form divides when it loses its essence and becomes a vehicle for fear based decisions. I do feel for people that live with a ‘do this, or else’ kind of god in their life.
I wish for everyone to have a loving relationship with the god of their understanding.

Form can easily bring people in a space of ‘wrong and right’. Many religions teach that the form they have for worshipping god is the right one. But what if we bring worship back to simply loving god and loving the neighbour? What if everyone would choose love over being right?

It is exactly this idea that the interfaith dialogue is promoting. In my work as a minister, this is the subject I feel most passionate about. I would never try and convince someone that they are wrong. I will ask people how their expression of their spirituality meets loving God and loving your neighbour.

Thinking about your own spirituality, what form does it have? Do you consider this the right form to express spirituality? Would you try and convince others that your way is the right way?
These questions can bring us in an uncomfortable space. It’s hard to meet ourselves in that space of wanting to be right and have all the answers. Go gently, we all have this being within. In trying to find answers to unanswerable questions, we tend to hold on to our own form, because that is what we know. The most important thing to remember is the divine essence in whatever form your spirituality takes. Remembering the essence will allow us to stay open minded to change and towards others that might prefer to do things differently.

May peace be with you and within you.

Namaste

I AM climate change

Yesterday Donald Trump announced that the USA is retrieving from the Paris climate change agreement. Needless to say, social media is full of people being angry at this fact.
I agree that it is a very bad thing for a country to pull out of the agreement.
At the same time, I keep noticing something: people seem to externalize the climate change issue.

Because we are all citizens of the world, country boundaries really shouldn’t matter in our personal journey to better climate change. In the end, if consumer behaviour changes, companies will have to supply the demand. No one person can change the planet, but one individual can start a movement towards a better planet.

For me, the most important first step is to educate myself. So, I have educated myself, and I would like to share some of my findings and the changes I have made.
Below is not a list of me being smug in your face about how good a human being I am. I do not live off the grid, am a rubbish gardener and there are many people out there that do a much better job at not leaving a carbon footprint at all.
The message here is about living consciously. Living in a way so to ensure that our beautiful planet and all its inhabitants can sustain itself for generations to come. I hope to inspire you to consider the environmental issues we face as humankind and make even 1 change that helps the planet.

So, here’s some of the stuff I would like to draw your attention to:

1. Reuse and recycle

It’s a tale which is now almost as old as time. Whereas recycling used to take a lot of effort, with not a lot of recycling points in place, nowadays there really is no excuse not to recycle.
If recycling your plastics, paper, bottles and tins is too much effort, choose 1 of them to recycle.
I recycle them all, and have a compost heap in the garden. Given the fact that 1 lift of my wheelie bin costs about 15 euro now, it is a good thing I only put my bin out every 2 or 3 months (depending on the season).
Recycling for me go further than just plastics, paper, bottles and tins. I could not throw away an old piece of clothing which still is intact. Not just clothing, but anything I feel someone else might have a use for goes to the charity shop.
The fun part of being a charity shop regular, is that my home is filled with lovely pieces of furniture that were once part of someone else’s life. This has allowed me to change my sofa 2 times in the last 5 years, giving my home a new look without breaking the bank.
On a sidenote…books! My house is full of them, because I love reading and I pick up interesting second-hand books everywhere I go. Growing up in a home full of books, I think owning about 500 at this point isn’t too bad, opinions very on the subject though 😉

2. Buy consciously

I am still really bad at this. Consumer at heart, I want instant gratification when I see something I think will enhance my life. It’s a good thing I give and buy mostly at charity shops.
Last January I did a clear out of my home, and gathered 5 large IKEA bags full of clothing to give away. The walk of shame! I now own 1 wardrobe in which everything from pyjamas to exercise gear to daily dress must fit, and 1 clothing rack for my dresses, jackets and coats.
Thing is that I mostly wear the same 10 items of clothing all the time, and the rest is just to have some choice when I want to wear something else. I am trying to reach the point where I have to throw something out when buying something new.

Buying consciously also involves looking at the stuff that you are buying.
I never forget the partner of my best friend in college sitting me down, two years after graduation.
‘You have a proper job now, with an income, you can afford items of clothing that will last you longer than 1 season.’ It was one of the most important things anyone has said to me.
It’s true, when I used to buy cheap clothing from big brands selling clothing for as little as possible, I wore stuff that might not necessarily fit and certainly didn’t last more than 10 washes.
It pays off to look into a fashion company’s ethics and efforts to keep our environment clean.

3. Organic, local and in season

Eating organic food doesn’t just help the environment, it also helps your health.
I think we can all agree that if someone would offer you a nice cold drink of pesticides, you would kindly refuse, so why allow this stuff to be sprayed all over your food?
There is a lot of information out there for anyone who has an interest in how even some of the vegetables we are eating are contributing to the destruction of our environment. The climate change denying lobby is powerful enough to ease us into thinking it is all not such a big deal, and even saying this makes me sound like a conspiracy theorist. I am not, I am very much a realist.

Eating local and in season means that you are helping fight pollution by having your food driven and/or flown over to your local supermarket. This means you can then take the flight to your next holiday destination with a clear mind (that is how that works for me, anyways 😊 ).
It also helps keeping your local farmers to be in business, and therefore you are helping your local biodiversity to be sustained.
Yes, it is not nice not being able to have cherries except for those few weeks that they are in season, believe me, I know! It’s a good thing that freezers were invented to keep things for eating later.
I find that I actually look forward to things coming into season, first there’s the rhubarb, now there’s the elderflower, and the year moves on through the different things I eat.

I am not one of those avid gardeners…but my herb patch is doing its very best to survive!

4. Palm Oil

Palm oil in in so many of every day food items, when I stopped eating it I could stop visiting 5 isles in the supermarket. Palm oil is a really big one! The amount of environmental destruction due to palm oil production is so very obvious that this is a global political issue.
Now, there is sustainable palm oil on the market, the problem is that there is no certification. This means that when buying your cup-o-noodles or cornflakes you cannot be sure that the palm oil in the product is from a sustainable small African holding or whether it comes from one of the deforested patches in Indonesia, killing rainforest at a rate quicker than anyone can find homes for wildlife that used to live there.
Until there is certification and I know where the palm oil in products is coming from, I have completely stopped eating products containing it. As I said…I make most stuff from scratch now.

5. Veggie day

The days that only people hating animal cruelty ate vegetarian are over.
The United Nations is involved in this debate, asking people to have one or more vegetarian days a week to help the environment. This is one of those ‘stick your head in the sand’ scenarios.
Of course, we all want our grandchildren’s grandchildren to live in a beautiful world, but we want our current children to enjoy their happy meal.
As I am mostly vegetarian for most of my life (mainly because I have no clue how to cook meat), it’s easy for me to talk. I don’t get meat cravings.
There is now talk that lettuce is bad for the environment…good thing I don’t like lettuce either!
But seriously, think about the type of meat you are eating, where it is sourced and what the impact on the environment might be.

Namaste people, we are all in this together!

Alternative legal weddings in Ireland: the difference between Humanism, Spiritualism and Interfaith

Often, when I explain to people that in Ireland as in Interfaith Minister, I can legally marry people under HSE legislation’, people respond that they get it by saying: ‘Oh, like a humanist’.
You are 100% forgiven for thinking this. Often, the choice in Ireland would be between a religious wedding in a church or an ‘alternative’ wedding.
Because your wedding is one of the most important days of your life, you want to make a well-informed decision about the person creating and delivering the service for you.
In this blog, I will explain the difference between the 3 main alternative wedding options in Ireland today.

First of all, it is important to recognize that Spiritualist, and Interfaith Ministers are recognized to deliver religious ceremonies, and Humanists secular ceremonies.
This means that Spiritualism and Interfaith are recognized as religions in Ireland.
Humanism cannot be called a religion, as a religion is built around the believe that there is a supernatural power bigger than humanity, aka the god of your understanding.

Spiritualism, Humanism and Interfaith have very specific ideologies. I will attempt to explain each of them in short:

Spiritualism is a religious movement that believes that when a person dies, they become a spirit.
Spiritualists actively seek to communicate with spirits of deceased through for instance mediumship, in order to gain a better understanding of the workings of the universe.
Spiritualism is a very old belief system, you can read further about it on the website of the Spiritualist Union of Ireland: http://spiritualistunion.com/?page_id=234

Humanism, as already explained is not a religion. In my humble opinion, a vast majority of people that call themselves Atheists, because they do not believe in a divine power, are actually Humanists.
As opposed to looking to an external divine power, humanists belief we humans are in control of our own advancement, and should be actively seeking the advancement of the human race. Humanism is based on a very old belief system, the separation between ‘belief’ and ‘reason’ in regards to denouncing a divine power to be in existence is a fairly recent development.
To read about the basic principles of Humanism as stated in the Amsterdam agreement, you can visit: http://humanism.ie/2012/12/amsterdam-declaration-2002/

Interfaith is a spiritual movement that honours the whole, without making distinction based on spiritual conviction. Interfaith Ministers serve people of all religions and none.
Interfaith is a very recent spiritual movement, as it only got started in the 1970’s as a result of a group of various religious leaders coming together after WWII to establish a multi-faith dialogue.
All ordained Irish Interfaith Ministers adhere to the following code of ethics:
https://www.interfaithfoundation.org/code-of-ethics/

As you can read, the three movements have very specific ideologies that are likely to influence the tone of your wedding ceremony.
It is therefore important that if you do choose an ‘alternative’ wedding solemniser, to make sure that you understand what they stand for and believe in.
Some very important questions to ask your solemniser:
– What organization are you registered under in the HSE register?
– What is the ideology of this organization?
– How will this ideology impact my wedding ceremony?

To check if and under which organization your wedding solemniser is registered, you may check this link: https://www.welfare.ie/en/downloads/RegisterOfSolemnisers.pdf

The God of My Understanding

Since I started training as an Interfaith minister I have had a lot more conversations about God than ever before in my life. I like these conversations, because every single one of them helps me explore my understanding of what we tend to refer to as ‘God’.

The most important question I have been asked is:
‘Who is the God of your understanding?’

Now, regardless of whether you call the divine God, Love, Allah, Yahweh, if you do belief in some sort of divine force, you have a God of your understanding. What does this God look like?

The question obviously is, does it even matter?

In Interfaith it doesn’t matter, that is why I am on my current path. There is absolutely no rule that says what my God should look like, and there is no rulebook that says how I should relate to God. The important bit is the acknowledgement of a divine force, no matter what shape it appears in.

Quite a few people have assumed that, since I train as a minister, my God is an old white bearded man sitting on a throne in a bunch of clouds in space that plays evil ant farm with this world.
‘I don’t believe in God, because how could HE do all of this to the world?’ These people ask me, waiting for me to give some sort of response.
That is not my God. If you are waiting for me to defend that God, you’d have to wait for a long, long time. My question to those people is, ‘Why do you assume that God is making everything on earth happen? Is this something you thought of yourself, or is this something someone once told you?’

My understanding of God has evolved throughout my lifetime as much as I have evolved throughout my lifetime. I have even had times where I imagined there to be no God at all, and us humans just being a very highly evolved species trying to control all forces on this planet. Even referring to God as God now, doesn’t sit with me 100%. I’d rather call it the divine.

And, absolutely, if you really do not feel that there is any divine force whatsoever, cool. I’m not here to tell the world there is a divine force. I could try and explain to you the difference between an atheist and a humanist, but that is that.
One of the things I love about my training is that in the group of about 50 people, absolutely no one has the exact same idea of who or what God is. Isn’t that beautiful? We’re like a really big bouquet of all different ideas about the divine.

In my experience it is very natural for opinions to grow and change. I remember in my youth, thinking that everyone over 35 was ancient! I am very happy I didn’t hold on to that believe.
The same with God. My current idea of God is an energetic force that exists in everything and keeps the equilibrium. This changes the idea of prayer to the idea of redirecting the energy because of intention. I don’t pray to a person. I believe my prayer, because of its intention can have a direct effect on the divine energy that is alive in everything and everyone.
Will this still be my idea of God in 10 years’ time? I don’t know.

I would love to hear from you about the God of your understanding. Especially if your ideas on that are still evolving. Your God can be whom- or whatever you want that to be, imagine.