Sunday, February 10, 2008

An Experience Of The Unknown

                  This might interest you.  It is an analogy and you may've heard it before.  My brother Chris related it to me several times in my life.   
An elephant stood in a clearing on the African plain.
Six blind men surrounded the elephant.  Each man touched a different part of the beast.  One touched the ear, another a foot, another the tail, a tusk, the body, etc.  But none could see a thing.
They were then asked to describe the animal they had just experienced. 
"This animal is flat and smooth, very thin," said the man who touched the ear.
"No, it's tiny and wiry, hairy," said the man who touched the tail.
"It's actually very tall and round, with deeply wrinkled rouch skin," said the man who touched the body.
The blind man who touched the trunk said, "You're all wrong, it's long and serpentine, winding, with a small mouth at the end."
"It has large, sharp spikes on it," said the man who touched a tusk.
The man who touched the foot and nails said, "No, this is a small animal close to the ground, with armour plating."
Each had touched the same animal.  Each had come away with a difference experience of it.  It reminds me of how each of us experiences a God, by whatever name.
If you relate to a God who is waiting to judge you, keeps a place of incredible beauty and peace, another of eternal pain, fire and damnation, your experience of God is as a judgmental deity of vengeance, which has no "gray" areas and in fact sounds very human.  "Right and wrong" and nothing in between.  A no-nonsense God.     
If you relate to a God who is loving and forgiving, like a parent for a small child, you'll experience God like that - as a child to its parent - always accepted, always forgiven, always cared for and loved. 
If you relate to a God who has anthropomorphic habits ascribed to it by humans, you'll experience a God of gender (He) of feelings (happy, sad) of age (about 70-ish) of confusion (why do my children forsake me) and other human qualities.  Sometimes, this is an easier way to visualize it and express love, gratitude and worship. 
If you relate to a God beyond all things human, better and finer, out of all realms we understand, you'll experience a mysterious deity of great power that we humans can never grasp but nonetheless can use a blinded faith to bring comfort and primal joy - whether true or not.  What's the difference if it makes one lead a better life?   
If indeed, you cannot relate to any power or presence of spirit or mystery beyond what you see, hear, feel, touch, taste, i.e., all things human, then you most likely will worship only things of this world - as is so visible in our society - with no thought to what may exist in another dimension, except perhaps extra-terrestrial beings.  A life with ones' self at the heart seems shallow, but is certainly a life and deserves respect.  We make our choices, we live out the consequences. 
Yet surely whatever God is, everyone's conception of it is right.  The elephant was always the same animal.  Someone's Allah and someone's Yahweh are to me, the same.  It matters not that we humans concoct so many religions, organizations, titles and rituals by which to show  worship and praise, our needs and petitions.  All that should matter I believe, is that humanity lives with respect for the choices others make regarding a God of any name or disposition, which may represent the home our souls yearn to return to ~ or may be an invention of man. 
Some believe sadness is only the soul feeling homesick for its maker, its true home.  We cannot comprehend it.
When people say they "know" God, understand it, I can only think it's simply their experience of that elephant, the part of God they are in touch with, the part they relate to.     
What part of any God do you "touch" ?  


14 comments:

firestormkids04 said...

Ah, Cathy . . . this is so deep and possibly controversial.  My God is the great "I AM"  untold wonder, some mystery, all love.  There's a lot more to it than this, but well, you know . . .  Blessings, Penny  http://journals.aol.com/firestormkids04/FromHeretoThere http://journals.aol.com/firestormkids04/TimeforaLittlePoetry

ksquester said...

I think GOD is beyond my brain power..........but my connection with God is in the most simplistic things.  The sunsets, the laughter of children, the rain, the feelings I have for animals, the feeling I have after reading a soul searching article or book, great music, looking at the stars, hearing the owls at night...........I guess nature really encompasses my belief.  I believe in miracles too........after all, Luke, The Wonder Dog is STILL with us!      GREAT post!   Anne

lanurseprn said...

My mom used to say "Pray to them all, because you never know who is right." I laughed at the time, but now I get it. I think we all have different ways of worshipping and believing. We all have a very personal relationship with who we believe our God to be. I think there is only one God. I believe we all just relate to Him differently. It's a very personal thing for me. For some it may not be. Once a minister said we can pray anywhere. We can be sitting on the toilet and pray...that God doesn't care where we are or what we are doing. I liked that and never forgot it. Maybe that is why I never felt the need to attend church each Sunday like most do. I don't know. But, like I said, it's a very personal thing to me and I don't have to be in church each week to have my relationship with Him.
Very interesting entry. Very thought provoking.
Pam

rockoned7 said...

Like those six blind men I have touched him in many ways and through many thoughts I have of Him.
Sometimes I just look at Him and I am sure He looks at me, without a word.

I fear Him, but usually, when doing wrong and he brings me utter joy when I receive Him.

I meet Him in the street with the poor, distressed and miserable: in hospitals with the sick and the dying: in nature with its beauty in abundance and in strangers who look at me with those telling eyes.

I write to Him in my heart with my joys and pains and He never rejects me as I sometimes am guilty of doing with Him.
Is He here? Is He there? Yes everywhere and all that.

Am I still looking? Yes, with the conviction that one day I will find Him then realise I knew Him all the time. ED

shrbrisc said...

I look at god as a parent , who loves me unconditionally  and like a parent sometimes punishes me , yet I am sure he has a plan and I deserve what I got .
hugs
Sherry

wwfbison said...

My God is my Father, a parental love.  I believe God is warmth & love, not mean & vengeful.  I believe Heaven is going to be what we love the most here on earth, soul love..not possessions.  What & who made us happy here and filled us with love will be with us in Heaven.  I probably sound crazy so I'll stop now.  Great entry.
Lisa

adonnainparis said...

What an awesome entry!  I have a problem with the way I think of God.  I'm always thinking of him as a father-figure, which is okay.  But I think of him as being like a human father, who is disappointed with me when I mess up.  (As I do often.)  But I heard a speaker in church say that God is never disappointed with you, because He knew what you were going to do wrong before you even did it.
Donna

ma24179 said...

That is a beautiful entry. Everyone's God is their own true God. I can't expect anyone to know Him the way I do or vice versa. I think you did a great job! -Missy http://journals.aol.com/ma24179/MISSYZSTUFF

onestrangecat said...

Love this entry!

Kathy

daddyleer said...

I'm not sure about elephants and blind men but just looking at your last few entires I see an "incomprehensible power": the universe, a fractured family, rodent coexistence, everyone is special, and does caring matter anymore. Some times I wonder if we do the touching or it is the other way around?

Caregivingly Yours, Patrick
http://journals.aol.com/daddyleer/CaregivinglyYours/
http://lairofcachalot.blogspot.com/

attitudeslc said...

Love.  I relate to God as Love.  I don't always get it, but I try very hard.  I try not to react from my immediate feelings.  Instead, I ask myself what would a loving God do, how would he react, what would he say.  

I know God's justice is not our justice.  I believe that God responds to our mistakes with Love.

I could be wrong, but it is my hope that I am right, and that it will be how God does react.  I do have some confidence in my idea as there was this dude once who said And now there is Faith, Hope, and Love, and the greatest of these is Love" Cor. 13:13

~Rosemary

jmorancoyle said...

    I'm in touch with a loving God. I should understand the other aspects of God. It's hard though. I have a hard time with that rigid, unforgiving aspect.
Jude
http://journals.aol.com/jmorancoyle/MyWay

valphish said...

Interesting, Cathy.  God is my best friend.  He knows EVERYTHING about me and that is so comforting.  I don't know everything about Him and I will be surprised someday I am sure.  I relate to God mostly in my thoughts, in my heart, in my soul... He is pure love.  He takes care of me and is my buddy as well as a Father figure.  I am still accountable to Him even though we are buddies.  The love I have for Him makes me want to make Him proud.  Love, Val xox
http://journals.aol.com/valphish/ThereisaSeason

gravydogg55 said...

 MUCH DEPENDS UPON THAT WHICH A CHILD HAS BEEN TAUGHT FROM BABYHOOD, BY THOSE RESPONSIBLE FOR RAISING THE CHILD.
  I FOR ONE BELIEVE THAT ENVIORNMENT HAS MOST TO DO WITH A PERSONS ATTITUDE TOWARD GOD.
    IF EVIL MINDED PEOPLE ARE RAISING A CHILD IT IS NOT LIKELY THAT THE CHILD WILL WORSHIP JESUS. OF COURSE THERE HAVE BEEN EXCEPTIONS.
   A SAD FACT OF THIS PRESENT DAY, PIMPS HAVE A WAY OF GROOMING THE YOUNG, SOME ONLY 13 OR 14 BOTH BOYS AND GIRLS.
  THE GIRL MAY FALL IN LOVE WITH THE PIMP AND AT HIS URGING ALSO HAVE SEX WITH HIS FRIENDS, TOO NAIVE AT FIRST TO KNOW THAT THE FRIENDS OF THE PIMP IS FORKING OVER 100 DOLLARS. SHE CONSIDERS HERSELF ADULT.
     YES, IN A SHORT TIME THEY REALIZE THE TRUTH. SOME ENJOY THAT LIFE UNTIL AQUIRING A DISEASE AND CAUSING ANGER, TRY TO QUIT.
     SO MANY ARE MISSING OR KILLED WHEN THE MONEY QUITS COMING IN.
SUCH EVIL PEOPLE ARE MIS-LEADING THE YOUNG.
     SOME COURTS ARE CORRUPT AND ISSUE A SLAP ON THE HAND TO THE PIMP FRIEND.
   HOPEFULLY THIS NOVEMBER WE WILL GET A PRESIDENT THAT WILL SUCCESSFULLY GET U.S. SUPREME COURT JUSTICES THAT WILL RULE AGAINST  AND STOP THE SCOURGE OF SEX SLAVE BUSINESS.      sam