God: a Symbol of our Collective Powerlessness (From my new book: The Liberation Way: At Home on Planet Earth

Men of Faith (I just couldn't resist this picture)

When our sense of ourselves is incomplete we want a god to be there for us. This want is personal and strong.
When we embrace a moral code that condemns the behaviors of others as wrong, evil, sinful, we want “our” god to bring justice to these people, societies, and even countries in this life or the next. We thirst for justice and we see our god as the ultimate deliverer of justice.
When we depend on god to do our violence, our retribution, we will do innumerable horrors in his name. Because our god is not real, we know that unless we act in his name, nothing will happen. Our blood needs will go unfulfilled. If we truly relied on our god, this would be the very god we would cease asserting our belief in. Acts of horror are always done in the name of our invalidated identity. The vacuum of inner powerlessness gets filled with belief, faith, and hunger. Violence ensues and for a moment we celebrate the blood-letting. Then the shadows of anger, rootlessness, confusion, and powerlessness fall again, so the search for the enemies arises again in our quenchless souls. We lack the inner conviction to trust our world, we invent a god to take care of those we love and to punish those we hate.

Where the decisive belief of the hunter was his alertness, his awakened nature to the world around him, we have turned that bedrock quality around and buried underneath our god. We don’t need to be alert. We don’t need to see. We can close our minds and leave it all to god. We make them the heavy, as we make ourselves light weights. We bury our lives in mindless television, hate and gossip mongering, in the cold, certain comfort of our brittle identities.
This is why most of us are wary of science. After all, the best science reflects the methods of the hunter. It keenly observes the universe and with its vast wealth of observations draws tentative conclusions about this miraculous universe. It is alive in its alertness. In its purest form, it is a true rebirth of the primordial hunter who watched the skies, smelled the seas, and knew every tree in his land. When we fail to explore the path of science, when we label it as “just another belief”, we posit a god to explain a complex universe and remain comfortable within our complacency.
Thus the desire for a god is wedded in profound unhappiness and a powerless submission to the interactive universe that we are a part. The need for a god is a reflection of our greater powerlessness. The power we lack is projected onto a projected and faith-based being.

Explore that powerlessness. If you find it in yourself, learn more about it. If we lack power at all, that lack can only be found in the personality we believe ourselves to be. Lack is a belief wedded to a projected persona. It is attached to the person we believe ourselves to be, but what we are not. That person is the other side of the god/me coin. He who observes is the hunter peeking through the all but opaque veils of the false-self.

For when we believe we lack power, we will, by necessity, project that lacked energy onto something external to ourselves. This explains why where lack is most acutely felt, there is the greatest propensity for self-righteous violence, as well as its opposite, the propensity for complete resignation; giving up. Resignation is a sign that we have both felt the anguish of close proximity to our Wound and we have our Fear-Selves have lost confidence in their personas. The collapse of the energetic Fear-Selves results in the creation of an exhausted, defeated Fear-Self. This weakened Fear-Self represents a step in the direction of liberation, but it is only a way-stop, alas it is a way stop that can last for generations. The resigned being manifests on both the individual and group levels.

The god belief systems, when they are personal and faith based must always result in a continuum of behaviors ranging from the ultra-violent to the pained acquiescence of utter resignation.
The pathway to resolving our struggle with powerlessness is found only in our personal and collective liberation.

How is that done? We take the first step in our liberation through seeing the process play out in our individual and group affiliated lives. We observe our propensity to be close our eyes to the truth that’s right in front of us. We observe how we rely on faith and second-hand knowledge passed down between people and generations without ever being held up to scrutiny. We observe our gullibility of collections of belief that people fear to questions because it’s in the bible or other “sacred” texts. We ask ourselves, as often as we can, “is this really true?”

When we move from faith to alert, open observation our hearts and minds open up to our very real lives. We are truly alive. If I am worried for the welfare of my children, then is it the most beneficial choice to place our need for safety and security in a belief that can never be tested or proven, or should we just work with our kids – open our hearts and minds to their concerns, not seek “final” answers, but just to engage in the process of connection. This is how we begin moving from the second-hand beliefs designed to keep us dead and obedient and migrate to living a vibrant, open, and creative life. We evolve from rigidity to flexibility. This is the yoga of the soul alive in this very moment.


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  1. #1 by GHD Straighteners on June 30, 2014 - 8:05 pm

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  2. #2 by maria on January 23, 2015 - 8:58 pm

    I have known friends who lost complete confidence in their fear selves and didn’t like their journey, or their narrative, and found death as their only option. I know others, who through feeling trodden down by life’s complexities and trauma who finally “bottom out” and seek a twelve step program because life is not really lived conceptually, and they crave the support of the group that allows them to let down each week, share their pain and struggle without shame. I am someone who does not believe in God but goes to Codependency/Adult Child of Alcoholics meetings to keep my issues alive, i.e., not repressed, and keep my approach to healing and thinking alive. I have always been a seeker and I consult many sources for support and perspective. I find myself unable to embrace the ‘higher power’ concept and feel a bit fraudish because I have to pretend amongst the group that I have accepted the 12 steps, that I am powerless, etc. I find it a bit sad that we cannot embrace questions openly, and perhaps we can in smaller groups that explore step work. Lets just say that embracing the idea that I am powerless over many things, and not a god, allows my ego to let down and relax. When I use this mantra, over and over, by stating “let go and let god” I can find some relief that it isn’t all up to me, that I can share my self and pain with others and find support just by asking and showing up. The idea seems to be to let go of the overdoing/ overburdening sense that i am on and responsible for everything and everyone’s happiness. It is in fact the sense of connection with the group that is played out in each meeting, through their stories and feelings, and thoughts heartfully shared that is what feels “spiritual” to me. In the most obvious sense of the word, we are not powerless. We certainly have the power to drive ourselves to a meeting, pay rent, buy food and feed ourselves. Yet in the context of program powerlessness we are really acknowledging that we don’t have it all together, that we need others, that it’s important to be humble to nourish connection, etc. Yet along with this sense of interdependence is this insistence, in order to belong, that we must have a power outside of ourselves making it all possible, we must get with God, supposedly, however we define it. To create further confusion conceptually, this power is also immanent, sort of like the soul/authentic self, and so I suppose ever present, and with our best interests at heart. I could ask myself ‘what is true here’ and depending on how many ways i find to deconstruct my reality I could easily end up in a puddle of confusion. I was raised an atheist, and I’ve had my struggles with seeking. I suppose I could be doing another sort of healing modality, or group that didn’t have these barely disguised religious constructs. And, often in non-12 step groups, the same dynamics of belief are occurring but they are unconscious…e.g., we are vegetarian, or agree to agree always without any risk of unpleasant shows of emotion to upset the group, we are all of similar background and affluence, etc. Honestly, as a person divorced from my family, except one brother, and having watched my family of origin disintegrate, I am far from any sort of tribe and so I am often carrying that sense of alienation and aloneness that makes me endlessly question and observe, and feel apart from. I’m not rigid or gullible, I am feeling the truth of my situation which is dominantly grief these days. This grief is not only from my wound but seeing how the wound of others took them out of this world. I’ve endured watching others becoming so brittle, due to being unable to deal with their trauma that they can not tolerate the dance of connection. My fear selves do feel weakened. I’m painfully aware of my wound and yet I wouldn’t say I’ve resigned and I’m not suicidal. My only real solace is having a one on one connection with a few individuals, and these groups, for their human support factor are pretty good except for the fact that the the model is faith/belief based. I know my dilemma is a very modern dilemma and if I ask myself, “is this really true?”, I am cast back in an endless regress of wondering and questioning. I usually refine that question to “Is this true? And in what sense true? So I don’t dissolve into the boundless. I find even my closest contacts are as confused, and have all sorts of mixtures of belief/self help/magical thinking in tow when even trying to make a stab at truth, whatever that is 🙂

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