In Taoism the Tao Te Ching chapter 1 reads, “The name can be named, is not the eternal Name.”
This is alluding to the nature of the thing and the concept of the thing.
Do you ever wonder why in the Bible, supposedly God directed “his chosen ones” to rape women and kill children? Or why a nation of some religion thinks that their “god,” wants them to rule over all others?
Does God really care what country presides where? Why would it? Is it a coincidence that this type of behavior maps to the human minds at that time.
Analysis of the Little God
I call this the “little god.” It’s not a real God. It’s a fake, a product of body identification.
The degree a person identifies with their body is the same level they are deluded with a false direction. Anyone, everyone. Christian, Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim… Atheist… If you think you are the body, you will look at anything greater than your body, in the limited scope of the body.
A Teacup of God
Think of a teacup. It’s small, just like our relation to anything eternal. But imagine if you tried to put the ocean in the teacup. The ocean would spill around it, and the teacup would hold only a tiny bit of water.
One couldn’t say, “all I have the ocean in my teacup.” But that’s in fact what they do when people talk about God (for the most part.) This teacup we could call it “ego,” but that’s such a loaded term. Let’s just say that this is when a person self identifies with their body (little self.)
In truth, you are not the body. If you were just the body, and you lost your legs, would you lose 50% of “who you are?” Of course not.
But when you think in little terms (body identification terms) you look at the world and think, “I need to protect me.” Who is me, in that situation?
If a person thinks their “me” (self) is the body, then they work to actively protect the body’s survival – often to the exclusion of others. We think of that as being selfish.
A person like this will feel threatened when taxes go up, or when their business go under. We’ve all heard the phrases, “immigrants are going to take away my job.” Before that people said, “technology will take my job away.”
Regardless if someone’s analysis is true or not, the problem is that they are caught in a finite existence. They can’t possibly understand God.
When the identification is with the body, a person doesn’t tune into a vast mind. Rather they tune into a limited scope mind – many call it the ego (which Yogananda defined as the “Self identified with the body.”)
From this state of existence, a person looks at something big… something eternal (like God) and captures only a tiny speck of it. Like the ocean in the teacup.
Looking at this small, little portion of the eternal source, they say, “look here isn’t it interesting… God is like me. He hates people. He’s angry… He’s a He!” God becomes something unreal. Something that is not only just a small subset of the totality of God, but also something that is part reflection of the individual’s own state of mind.
This is how the Old Testament had passages where the High Priests believed God instructed them to kill men, children and every woman who slept with a man. Why would God really instruct that? An eternal being honestly wouldn’t. Deep down we all know this.
Cut to the modern era, and we see signs from “Christians,” reading: “We don’t want your kind here. Go home.” In the 1930’s Japan had a shift where Buddhism was made into nationalism. A pacifist religion was turned into a war machine. In India Hinduism was mixed with politics and a caste system was the result. These are all misunderstandings of something real.
People who identify with their lowest form of existence can not possibly understand God. We can’t even talk about it. By bringing up the subject we degrade it! That’s what the Tao Te Ching was telling us: The only way to understand something greater than us, is to experience it.
It all boils down to experience. When dealing with something expansive (that is not measurable) we have to experience it to understand it.
It could be God, or Mind, or Emptiness. These spiritual ideas are all very deep and beyond the understanding of something like our body mind container.
The best way to experience anything larger than ourselves, is by a direct spiritual path. Rituals, meditation, spiritual practices are good, as long as they help the individual go beyond their limited mind.
A daily meditation practice achieves this, by unraveling one’s notion of self. It unwinds the tightly coupled idea of the body being the self.
Mindfulness, Meditation, Awareness, these can all help with the removal of the limited self. There is a trick however. Sometimes, in some beliefs, the meditation is based on the ego.
In some religions or spiritual practices, the actual practice is something to strengthen the connection to the limited mind. The “prophet” who thinks they have a new story to tell… how some tragedy is about to befall us… when the time passes and nothing has occurred, the prophet walks away dejected – feeling they were deluded the entire time.
To avoid this, we must monitor our mind. It’s good (especially in the early stages) to meditate on the breath. There’s no words, prophecy, or other distractions to get in the way.
Being mindful is another approach that doesn’t lead to illusion – as it’s simply being mindful of every breath, step and situation in the present moment.
At some point, a real experience will occur. It will be something not easily put into words. When it happens, that is the direct experience. That experience means more than a lifetime sitting in a pew.
There will always need to be a balance. If you go half-cocked after every spiritual phenomena, you might find it’s all ego. Alternatively, if you just listen to what someone’s interpretation of your “Holy books” say, then you’ll just be deluded like they are.
The only real thing is experience. Everything else is fake.