It is always bigger than you, yet paradoxically, also you. It is always part of the larger experience of self that includes your inner awareness and the intelligence of what is outside of you. (It’s something you can source for yourself, and it’s something you can rest into when you need a friend.) The way you see and describe it may shift upon your context – who you are talking to, and what part of that experience you are trying to express.
God comes by many names. Consciousness, Spirit, God, Goddess… is there any difference between any of these? Really, no. The difference is in the listener.The universe is constructed of information. That information is Conscious. The sum total of that Consciousness is what some of us call God, some of us call Goddess, some of us call Consciousness, some of us call Spirit. What you call it ultimately doesn’t matter. What matters is that you have a conscious relationship with that Consciousness.You will see and describe God|Goddess|Spirit|Consciousness through whatever lens makes the most sense to you. That lens will be shaped by your culture, your experience and the proclivities of your soul. To be real, it needs to be an authentic lens of feeling and experience, not just a collection of stories you inherited and repeated from your family or your context.
For example, when I’m talking with geekier types, I call on my own geeky experience of Consciousness-as-me having an experience called my life. When I look deep into my own meditation and the inner dialogue of my daily experience, there is always a meta-dialogue going on that I easily recognize as a function of the intelligence of the universe-as-me. A lot of geeky types get this. They get that there is a part of themselves witnessing themselves that is bigger than themselves. This amounts to the experience of Consciousness. They get that how they interact with this this experience affects their moods and how powerfully they can bring presence to the day-to-day-ness of their lives.
Alternatively, when I’m talking with women, I often call on the Goddess. Women understand the multiplicitous, ever creative, ever changing face of consciousness, that is described archetypally as the myriad faces and phases of the Goddess. From the infinite, cool compassion of Quan Yin to the fiery fury of Kali, women understand that Consciousness, as a reflection of their own everchanging, creative essence as women, is a full spectrum of energies and essences that are innate to the manifest forms and functions of the universe. They also get birth. They get that things come out of nothing – and they get born through the feminine principle.
Just hold in your inner awareness the biologic furry of birthing in the same space as the luminous patience of a woman nursing an infant, and you begin to get it. When you look at the many many faces of the Goddess (and of Gods when engaged as a pantheon), you see our seeking to name the specific meta-patterns, or archetypes, of the thing we called God. This works really well when you’re wanting to relate to particular creative, destructive and preservative powers of the universe.
And, when I just want to be simple, I often say, “Spirit”, or “God”. These names, for me, are both singular and embracing. They are ways of calling to the magnificent, always present intelligence I am having a personal conversation with when I pray. They are the everything that permeates the everything as a fabric bringing the world into form. They are my own mind and awareness. Everything.
Often, I use all the words at the same time, just to collapse our tendency to create wars over definitions.But, I DO use distinctions in how I speak to the various manifestations of Consciousness. Consciousness, like people, is not all the same. When I pray, I often pray to Tunkashela. This is the Lakota word that refers to the specific aspect of God that cares for and listens to the humans. I’m a human. Somehow, it works for me to pray to the part of the intelligence of the universe that really cares for me. Over a lifetime of praying in this way, I’ve seen amazing results. So, this is all I need to keep doing it.
To make matters even more complex, you can also talk to Nature, or the Earth, or Gaia – or all that is manifest and the intelligence that manifests it. Or, better yet, you can just listen to it.
But… I’m getting too complicated, here.
To really answer this question, you have to understand paradox. Paradox describes the fact that the opposite of a great truth is often not a falsehood, but an equally great truth. The universe doesn’t really give a shit what you call it, so long as you call. The key is in the relationship you create. But, the way to create a great relationship is to be specific. Soul-fit is one of the keys to deep relationship. So, your relationship with God|Consciousness|Soul|Spirit is best narrated in a way that feels authentic and honest to you.If you’ve never done it before, it might feel really awkward. But, just start. Open your mouth and talk to God|Goddess|Consciousness|Spirit. That’s how you build a relationship. And, that’s how the words start to make sense.