Just my fancy way of saying, shall we call it something different? “God,” that is? (The cat part comes later.)
If we tire of its name, the rose itself still doth smell as sweet. Nay, sweeter. We may stop to smell the rose, at last, if we change its name.
If the rose’s name becomes associated with “ill works,” because some few (or many) “disciples,” enamoured with its name/image, hold its name/image upon their banner even while “they” (as many of us do, perhaps inadvertently) commit works not inspired by the rose itself, then the rose itself (or whatever we may call it) may say to those remaining,
“Do not worry, and leave those things aside; for there not went I.
“I may be called by any label. I remain the same. I need no capitals, nor punctuation. I am all and I am nothing. I am part of every part of you. And we are all together, even while apart. You will know me when you let me find you, or when you find me, for I am the one who commits no wrong. I understand no such thing. I exclude none. I judge none. I harm none. Of all in the Universe, I am the only thing immutable. Therefore I thrive in the changing of the Universe. I am the potential in the seed.
“Accept that there is darkness, without which light could not exist, and you will find me there, in that acceptance; an agent helping you blossom from within. Or I will find you, if you ask for help, and if you mean it with everything you’ve got. When you are ready to surrender, the lighting of the lamp will be immediate.”
Ideas for Rebranding God:
[Some of “this actor”’s own musings/versions…]
GUG: as in “Great Universal Goodness,” pronounced /goog/ (IPA: [gʉg]), as in “GUGle it” (look within not without. GUGle your Inner Answer Voice, not external references)
LIAV (the Little Inner Answer Voice)
IAV (Inner Answer Voice)
The Great CPU: as in “Creative Power of the Universe”
god (with no capitals)
DP (Deeper Power)
[This actor speaking:]
I sometimes call it “Esmerelda,” for example, since I believe I heard a beloved tree (or two, actually), breathe its name into my consciousness this way. I used to call it “Dear Tiger” in my childhood diary, because I liked tigers. (And that was before I truly understood that diary writing was my way of accessing the Universal consciousness.) At one point I called it “Dear Faith,” after a beloved family dog who’d passed away. (We had not named him. He was given to us, with that name, in his old age, by a friend who could no longer care for him. The dog lived up to his name, faithful to love, wherever he may find it, to the end of his very long life.)
Other people’s alternatives to God, Allah, Jehovah, Buddha, etc.:
G.O.D. (Good Orderly Direction, à la Julia Cameron in The Artist’s Way)
HP (Higher Power, à la AA/NA/etc.)
You could also call it…
Whatever you like.
It matters not.
We may call it whatever we wish. I believe the main thing is to listen. When you hear its answer, you might know (or at least, I believe I’ve known), by the following signs:
A pleasant, thrilling “tingling,” sensation, originating in the deep molecules, perhaps for example behind your eyes, or around your eyes, or at the roots of your hair, or a blossoming, “electrifying” feeling in your solar plexus. As though a great bell has rung and you can feel its vibrations.
So perhaps that is GUG. But what about Fear? And Anger?
Fear and Anger are the opposite of Hope and Love (so say all the mystics, for it is a commonly understood fact), thus are altogether other than god/GUG. Perhaps they’re equally useful, but they’re not the same. In terms of physical sensations registering in the body, you’ll know them (or at least, I believe I do) because Fear constricts. For me it registers as a terrible clenching of the heart muscle, like a fist is squeezing tightly, triumphantly and malevolently; or sometimes as a great furrow between the eyes, or a clenching of the throat, as though I can’t breathe or swallow. A sudden cramping in my gut. Meanwhile, Anger is explosive. A boiling in the blood.
Fear and Anger can be our friends. They tells us to “tread carefully. GUG is missing here.” And if you feel that, you (or I, at least) must stop what you(/I) are(/am) doing and leave as soon as you(/I) can. “Stop. Think. Act.” (Someone gave us a fridge magnet, that said that.) We could also say “Stop. Listen—to our Inner Answer Voice. Then Act.”
For we ourselves have lost track of GUG in that moment of Fear or Anger. And we aren’t equipped to handle Fear or Anger, when we’ve lost GUG. So put your “shields” up, block, turn away, deflect, go another direction. Close the window. Click away. Delete. Put your hand up, making the motion for “stop.” Don’t try to change the thing/person making you angry, or reason with it, from this frame of mind, unless you’re looking for trouble.
Do not enter into negotiations with the hunter/aggressor. Isn’t that common knowledge? The hunter cares not for negotiations. His/her sole aim is to win, to score the goal, to rack up the points, or in the worst case, to fulfill her/his own selfish pleasure, by whatever means. The only way you can survive the hunt when you feel cornered, is certainly not by “convincing the aggressor of rules/what’s fair” or by “doing what you’re told,” but by finding GUG immediately, and let it/him/her guide you first, (in which case GUG may tell you to do any one of those things). Or, conversely, you can possibly survive by putting both GUG and Fear/Anger aside, and simply keeping a cool head, beating the hunter at his own game, by using whatever means you like. But perhaps (like me) you are not yet worldly or quick-thinking or emotionally cool enough for that. The only answer in that case (for me, at least, if I am wise, in that moment) is to do nothing at all, other than block, turn away, look inside yourself(/myself), and instead ask for help from GUG. Then let GUG guide you(/me). For me it is a very difficult thing to work this change within myself, rather than instead trying to change my environment.
Sometimes I have asked GUG, when I’m down at Wit’s End, what do I do? And the answer comes quickly and very specifically, with exact instructions. A single quiet statement, sentence, or word. It is nearly always to do the opposite of what would have been my habit to do, in that moment. For example, if I strongly have the urge to act out toward a friend who has angered me, and I actually manage to stop my habitual reactive energy, I instead look internally to “god”(/LIAV/Esmerelda/whatever) and say, What do I do? And a small, quiet voice usually says, be still. Let it be.
If I don’t take the time to ask GUG/LIAV for help, and I instead allow my offended/defensive urges to take over, answering back in mid-blood-boil haste to my “offending” friend, either plaintively or aggressively, attempting to explain why she/he is “wrong” in my view, or perhaps worse, even close my heart, actively rejecting her/him and saying something that may burn bridges forever; well, in that case I will always later regret the act of lashing out —whether it was done aggressively, or passive-aggressively, or even in capitulation, against my better values.
In the instances that I listened to GUG/LIAV, who almost always said, “be still,” I instead gained a quiet and contented peace; and the anger of my friend mattered little to me, personally; I’d lost attachment to outcome. I could be compassionate and truthful with myself, then, and with the friend, and understand that the friend was on a different path, not the same as my own. And it was not my job to convince my friend that my way was the better one, or the “righter” one (for it wasn’t, necessarily). I could let her/him be, for now. With or without me.
The friend would naturally go their own way, after that. It was as if they saw there was nothing left to gain by remaining in conflict with me, when I no longer was suffering in the “prison” of attachment to my own views, nor my own desire for a certain outcome. And yet the door remained still open to future re-connection, because, in fact, the “prison” being gone, the door had evaporated.
So perhaps that is Fear/Anger. But what if you feel acutely “attacked,” in a given moment?
I know very little about the “correct” way to manage these types of things.
Our stray cat, one moment ago, as I typed that, was under the kitchen table, biting my leg. He does that because he adores me, and it’s one of his ways of showing feline affection; attempting to get my elsewhere-absorbed attention.
He was originally a cat who “belonged” to someone. According to local rumour, he was taken from his cat mother when he was too little, before he’d had time to learn proper cat-tribe/pride-manners. A vet told me that his cat mother would have taught him, firmly but compassionately, not to bite those he loved (particularly not those bigger and stronger than him). But our now-stray cat was taken from its mother too young (or so local rumour has it).
The cat was then (according to local rumour) given as a Christmas gift, by a parent in difficulty, who perhaps could not think of any other way to make up for mistakes he/she’d perhaps made, to his/her children, who ultimately (and understandably) could not look after the cat properly.
The children went/were taken to live elsewhere. The cat grew starved and thin. Finally, he escaped his lonely place, running away, looking for food. He went everywhere in the neighbourhood, including to our house. I was told, even by people close to me, “Do not feed the cat, for you shall never be rid of him otherwise.”
Some people are of the mind that says, “If you don’t plan to feed a stray for always, then you should never feed it.” What if we moved away, one could argue? (We tend to move around a fair bit.) How would “our” stray manage, then?
But that doesn’t make sense to my instincts. Allow the cat to starve now, rather than later? That’s your answer? We could also answer this way, instead, “Better to have (felt) loved and lost, than never to have (felt) loved at all.” We could also say, perhaps we can hope that the Universe will help us find the cat another loving home, in that case. And we can have faith that it will. Or perhaps it may come along for the ride, if it wishes.
And the cat was soft and sweet and purring, rubbing against my leg, and I liked his affectionate company, as did our children. Also I did not like to see him cry from hunger, since that made my heart ache. So we fed the cat, and we named him. He is free to come and go as he pleases. However, now the cat eats food off our table (very bad manners, has this cat! Unless he thinks he’s human?) and he bites my leg under the table, when there is no food on it.
Yet his bowl is full of food, so there is no good reason for him to bite my leg. What shall I do? Shall I bite the cat back? No, for then I shall have fur in my mouth. Shall I hit him? No, not in this case at least, for he means no harm and knows no better; and is far smaller than me, and if I hit him first, without trying words instead, he will never learn for the better; nor will I.
I have to trust my instincts on this one. I am an animal, in fact. That is what I am. A human animal. (Though admittedly, not a generally violent one, and a mostly herbivore one.) So, I let my human animal speak from within. It says to the cat, “NO! STOP THAT. NOW.” I feel my eyes widen, staring into the cat’s; my eyes are fierce. My molecules tingle. The cat knows, with his own instincts, that I am no longer feigning control, as I usually do, in my usual form of failing, ego-dominated creature. This is not showing off, or mischievous, or posturing, or premeditated, or manipulative, or fearful, or anything attached to outcome. It is simply a human animal, channeling instinctive power. I myself have done nothing except allow natural instinct to be seen/heard. I must be clear on that. That’s why I feel no pride in the resulting action, nor do I feel anything negative, such as shame for loudly/fiercely raising my voice. It simply is.
It is what GUG looks like in that moment, when GUG needs to defend the leg of one of its human animals, from the tiny, fanged teeth of a furry other.
The cat, whose grey-green eyes stare into mine, now, widening, sees my inner animal. It understands a different power has come into play. For I am truly present within myself, have tapped the power innate in NOW, and have shown the boundaries that NOW has set.
(Also, I am by faaaar the bigger creature, here.)
Mr. Pʊddy Willow stops biting my leg, mews a little, then rubs his cheek against my stocking, purring.
Image & vid: “Mr. Puddy Willow in Progress” by Y, age 9
So what say you, friends, to the idea of “rebranding God”?
p.s. link to amazing translation work by David Yendley, of Tonton George’s (a.k.a. George Brassens’) songs: http://brassenswithenglish.blogspot.com/
Nadine inhales & exhales words & images from her current vantage point in the Zone of Emptiness, France. If you wish to contribute and/or show appreciation, please recommend/like and/or comment. Thank you for reading. 🖤