As human beings continue to evolve, so do our conceptions of God. With every step I take toward deeper wisdom and greater compassion, my understanding of God expands. God, Divine Mind, Love, Substance, Spirit— these and other words are names we use to try to define or describe God. Yet it is when we let go of the limitations of our language that we step fully into the activity of God.
Sometimes we describe God as the “great web of life.” We identify with this aspect of God when we see the great, indescribable beauty of life—a sunrise, the endless ocean waves, images of the cosmos. Other times we experience God in the silence, when we are alone in prayer and meditation, when there are no words, but we have an experience of the I AM.
I experienced the immanent presence of God with my father about a year before he died. He and my mother were traveling across country in their RV. It was Thanksgiving when they journeyed through Phoenix where I was living. We headed north for the Grand Canyon to spend Thanksgiving in a non-traditional way.
That morning we awoke before dawn and drove the RV to an overlook to watch the sunrise over the canyon. Words cannot describe the awe-inspiring imagery that came to life in front of me. I sat on a rock at the ledge of the canyon, huddled under a quilt in the freezing cold, and closed my eyes. I slowly felt the warmth of the sun creep across my face. Within a few minutes my dad brought me a plate of scrambled eggs and sat down beside me.
As I looked from the miraculous beauty of the canyon to my father, I realized I was watching God unfolding its own perfection. The force that carved these rocks with wind and water over billions of years was the same force that brought the aliveness to my dad. It was Spirit as a living intelligence having breakfast with me at the canyon’s edge.
As I looked into my father’s face, I was reminded that God is that connection between myself and everyone and everything in creation. God is the essence of every relationship, the sanctuary where we reside. It is in God that every gesture—even the making of breakfast—is a prayer, and every kindness, a blessing. Through our actions, through our connections, we experience God’s radiant presence.
The force that moves the stars is the same force that moves the human heart. That force, the transcendent nature of God, comes alive as every person. When I become immersed in the experience of the Divine as immanent—expressing as me and as everyone around me—I experience some of the most powerful moments of my life. These moments have made me a more compassionate person.