I know that, for many of you, that single syllable inevitably evokes an intense and complex emotional response, likely including feelings such as shame, doubt, resistance, and even anger and fear. There you were, happily googling away in search of opportunities for liberated and sensual self-expression and exploration, and then up pops that damn word again, and all those old voices come right back to haunt you.
What you’re experiencing is perhaps one of my primary reasons for using the G-word in my work.
It certainly helps that is is a word that is generally familiar to most people in the western world as being connected to divinity in some way or other. It’s useful that, despite its many applications, it’s one simple syllable.
But I must also at this point confess to a certain linguistic fetish: I have a taste for appropriating language that, for many of us, at one time or another stood for our own shamefulness and unworthiness, language that told us our feelings and desires were somehow flawed or wrong, and using it in what I would call human-positive contexts. Which is to say, contexts where those same desires and feelings can be expressed, honoured, and reclaimed as powerful creative forces and signposts towards our bliss.
But what do I mean when I say God? Because if I mean the old guy with the beard who frowned down from the clouds at you when you got your first hard-on as a kid, you’re outta here, right?
What I’m primarily referring to when I use the G-word is an experience.
The experience of being constantly and unconditionally loved.
And I encourage participants in my work to be spiritual adults, and replace the word God as it pops up in my sentences with whatever represents that universal Love for them; Ganesh or Ghandi? Guides or Greater self? Green grass in the summer sun? You decide.
My own first serious forays into spirituality were via paganism, so the first conscious experience I can remember of that Love is rich with pagan imagery; at the time, I would not have associated it with the word God, since I was endeavouring to do away with Christic language from my spiritual vocabulary. But that Love will reach us through any door we leave open, so here’s what that first experience looked like to me:
It had been a rough day – as was often the case at that time in my life. I was in bed, crying and praying for change. In my mind’s eye, my guardian angel showed up, took me by the hand, and lead me into a forest. It was a night-time landscape, but things twinkled in the trees, and there was a sense of anticipation in the air. He drew me into a clearing, and standing there were what I would at the time have called “The Lord and Lady”.
He was in the background, beautiful, broad and tall, the antlers on his head adding another couple of feet to his already substantial height, smiling knowingly and exuding an air of welcome. She was small, with nut-brown skin, hands that ended in claws like those of a woodland animal, and twinkling black eyes. She smiled straight at me and took me into her arms, holding me as I cried.
I felt a warm wave of love envelop me; I could not remember a time when I felt so accepted and adored.
And it is that feeling, that experience, that I term God. It is that which holds you between breathing in and breathing out; the most loving voice you can hear in your heart; the small miracle that shows up at the tail-end of a rough journey to carry you safely home. It is a sense of unconditional, abundant, ecstatic adoration that fills me, and is available for all.
Since then I’ve journeyed, chanted, peace-danced, sufi-spun, and tantric-sexed; talked with angels, flown with totems, and been penetrated by deities in the heavens of my third eye… It’s been ecstatic, empowering, profound, magical, healing, and all kinds of other wonderful – and from where I’m at now, all of those activities look like different doors into the same building. A building I’m leaving less and less often these days.
What is God? Perhaps the energy that underlies all things… perhaps an omnipotent parent to everything in the Universe… perhaps a powerful archetype seated in mass human consciousness… perhaps my wise subconscious self getting disguised so it can get through to me…
Would it matter if it was “just” my subconscious mind supplying the images, if it makes me feel that way, if it incites me to be more loving and forgiving to myself and others? I think not.
In fact, in doing this work, I actively encourage participants to have a personal, transpersonal, and transcendental experience of God. In other words, I invite them to treat themselves as divine; treat their fellow participants as the divine incarnate; and to experience divinity as all present and pervading. Thus, the work invites self-love and acceptance and trust, takes relating with others to a whole new level of intimacy, and reveals portals into ecstasy and bliss.
It’s all Go(o)d.