Do You Experience God?
by: Margaret Paul, Ph.D.
Connor, a man in his late 40’s, has achieved everything he ever thought he needed to feel happy and secure. He owns a successful business, has a wonderful wife and two children, and a beautiful home. Yet when you look at him, he doesn’t look happy. He looks empty, with no sense of vibrancy about him.
His wife, Brianna. also has everything she ever wanted – a husband, children, financial security, successful work and a beautiful home. When you look at her, you see a person filled with aliveness and vitality, friendliness and joy.
What is the difference? Why are these two people, each who have the same outer things, so very different in their energy? The answer is that Brianna has a strong connection with God while Connor has no spiritual connection at all.
The longer I’ve worked as a counselor, the easier it has become for me to tell the difference between people who know and experience God and people who don’t. It is the difference between Connor and Brianna. It is the difference between being full from the inside or inwardly empty.
It’s not that Connor doesn’t want to experience God. He says he really wants to. He sees the difference between him and Brianna and he says he wants what she has. He sees his parents as empty and he says he doesn’t want to end up like them, with no sense of passion or purpose in their lives.
Yet Connor does not experience God, and the reason is simple: he places a higher priority on having control over money, employees, what people think of him, his wife, and his children than on being a loving human being. He says he wants to be loving, and the times he is loving he feels great, but it never lasts because his desire to control is greater than his desire to be loving. He is afraid if he is loving to himself and others his business will suffer, he will have less money, he will lose friends. His ego wounded self tells him that if he is open and loving, he will be taken advantage of, and that is the last thing he wants. So his primary intention is to protect against what he fears rather than to be loving.
God is love, the spirit of love, the energy of love. That love is always here for us when we open our heart. Our heart opens automatically when our intent is to learn what is loving to ourselves and others rather than protect against what we fear with our controlling behavior. To know God is to know Love. To know Love is to know God.
When Brianna looks at Connor with love, Connor feels afraid and turns away. If he opens to her love, he fears he will be vulnerable to being hurt. Maybe she won’t like what she sees if he is open and will reject him. Maybe she wants more than he wants to give. Maybe she just wants to suck the life out of him like his mother did. Protecting against his fears is more important to him than being loving and sharing love with Brianna. Brianna loves Connor but is often lonely with him because he is afraid to share love with her. Connor complains that he doesn’t feel good a lot of the time – he feels empty. He avoids his emptiness with food and TV, which doesn’t bring him joy.
Connor complains that he doesn’t know how to experience God. I tell him it’s not about how, it‘s about intent. When his deepest desire is to be loving rather than controlling, he will easily and naturally experience God. It’s all about intent. Our intent is what we have choice over. Our intent governs how we live, who we choose to be, how we behave. Our intent to love and learn about love opens our heart to the experience of God.
If you feel empty, consider that it may be more important to you to control than to love. If you know others who appear to be empty, consider that it may be more important to them to control than to love.
Opening to love does not mean that we will be vulnerable to being hurt, manipulated, taken advantage of. In fact, the opposite can happen: in experiencing God, we receive the wisdom and strength to know what is good or bad for us, what is right or wrong for us. In opening to God, we discover what is in our highest good. It is far safer than relying on our wounded ego self. Opening to the Love that is God through your intent to learn can bring you the deep sense of fullness and safety for which your heart and soul have always yearned.