WHY IS IT SO DIFFICULT TO FIND GOD?

An Analytical Page
(Solutions come next)

Note: For me, the English word 'God' describes the great creative energy. Other languages have different names.

The difficulty of getting intimately in touch with the great spirit, has been well documented, it has probably existed since the moment the idea of God first developed.

History is littered with stories of doubt from good souls whose lives were dedicated to selfless devotion. St. Paul told us God comes to us through faith and grace.

In Eastern traditions, enlightenment is much the same. Even Zen Buddhism's instant enlightenment is only possible, after years of dedicated practice, by chance, with the right mind-boggling
Kōan.A paradoxical riddle which can't be solved by conventional thinking methods, thus encouraging intuition. A well-known koan is "What is the sound of one hand clapping?".

The goals of oneness or finding God are generally considered to be something which can't be guaranteed and we can't control.

In practice, all the usual ways humans get things done, by wanting them and planning how to get them, just don't work on a spiritual level.

SO WHY?

Modern thinking, probably since around 1850, suggests the problem is because trying to find, or wanting God or enlightenment is ultimately a desire. And even if we want to find God for the good of all mankind, this desire automatically binds us to the state of being an isolated self, and so separates us from our goal.

It's very hard to get out of the box when we are always stimulating the box.

Alan Watts (1915 – 1973)Alan Watts

(1915 – 1973) marks the beginning of a deeper understanding. He is said to have made Zen Buddhism understandable for the rational Western mind, but he did something more fundamental than that.

He explained how the wholeness of life literally disintegrates, every time we think and understand the world in terms of our grammatical conventions.

The idea that subjects always do things to objects, divides life up into a line of little bits – and every time we think a sentence it has an hypnotic effect, it brainwashes us into feeling life actually happens like this.

Alan Watts in Detail
I am not an expert on Watts, but i find his groundbreaking books were: The Way of Zen (1957) and then: The Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are (1966) (refs).

He answers our questions on 'free will or fate', as a natural consequence of dividing life into things which do and things which are done to. Are we the puppeteer or are we the puppet? Are we a subject or an object?

He demonstrates the value of the Chinese picture language : a picture of a stone hitting the water and ripples spreading out. We automatically think : the stone caused the ripples. But for the ancient Chinese understanding, the ripples and the stone go together. Without the stone there wouldn't be the ripples, BUT without the ripples there wouldn't have been the stone. This neutralises our normal subject and object, cause and effect thinking.

He likens our normal understanding of life to sitting by a slit in the fence and watching a cat go by, first the head then the tail – and then thinking the head causes the tail.

In "The Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are" he writes : "If there is any biological foundation for the hoax it lies only in the brain’s capacity for narrowed, attentive consciousness." (refs)

He identifies the fact that all this only exists because of "narrowed, attentive consciousness", but he never said it simply as 'focusing'.

In "The Way of Zen" he even discusses peripheral vision, but he does this objectively as an analogy for universal consciousness, he never considers trying to do it himself. (refs)

He never experienced the panoramic sensation of watching 3 or 4 things moving at the same time – and this changes our entire subject-object feelings, in a much more practical way than the Chinese picture language.

He concludes that we will arrive at a new psychological state, once we have fully understood that subject and object are inter-dependent and belong together in everything which happens.

He assumes that when we fully understand this, we will experience it, and maybe we will, for a short period of time, inspired by that first moment of new understanding.

But Alan Watts never used the simple, direct method which animals use, to initiate this panoramic experience.

God and ego, self and the world, and since Watts, subject and object – are all based on focused sensing. Our entire understanding system is based on our focused sensing system.

And even since Watts, we are still trying to get 'out of the box' by using the same focusing system which got us into it in the first place.

Please continue with Ignore the Monkey

Back to Chapter Five : Panoramic Sensing and The Great Spirit
Back to THE SENSE OF IT ALL Priority Pages