Flirting with the living God is dangerous business. If we allow ourselves to be seduced, there is no telling how we may eventually end up.
Perhaps, deep down, we know this instinctively. That is why we cling so desperately to the externals of religion. When we do so, we delude ourselves into thinking that we are still in control. We think that we are still able to, as it were, “manage” God.
If, however, we do, by the grace of God, ever get a taste of that living reality that is at the heart of religion, we know that we are now at a new and deeper level of reality.
This new reality has its own set of rules. And its own set of problems. One of the largest of those problems with a spiritual awakening is the possibilty of becoming spiritually “inflated.” Spiritual inflation is caused by the inability to properly assimilate our newfound light and energy. We are so overwhelmed by our encounter with the divine energies within that we start thinking that we are on a par with the Creator.
In a sense, of course, this is true. All the great religions of the world allude to this participation in divine nature. In Christianity, for example, one has participation in the life of the Trinity. Saint Augustine daringly asks, “When the soul loves something it becomes like unto it; if it should love terrestrial things it becomes terrestrial, but if it should love God does it not become God?”
Good theology, however, insists on maintaining a distinction between Creator and created. Our union is by way of participation, not identity. In other words, just as two lovers never lose their individuality, so we and the Creator are not the same thing. Jesus sort of summed it up by saying, “He who has seen the Son has seen the Father.” But then He also says,”The Father is not the Son.” This is a paradox. A little bit like water is not ice is not steam, but all three are H2o!!
All those who have had an overwhelming spiritual experience will eventually have things sorted out for them by life. It will not take long for the person to discover that their surrender is not complete, that Adam is alive and well, and that their own thorn in the flesh, whatever that might be, has not evaporated into thin air.
Just because there are dangers on the path, including spiritual inflation, does not mean that we should settle for “second hand religion” (experiences of somebody else’s experience). No, by all means take the plunge. Believe that you are a child of God and that God really speaks to you in your prayers and dreams and in a million other ways. Take the plunge because it is your spiritual birthright and you will reap an incredible harvest. You will experience the reality that you are free and that you are loved unconditionally and that life has meaning and that you are precious in God’s sight. By all means do it.
Just be aware that the spiritual journey has its share of pitfalls along the way, and that one of the most common of these pitfalls is failing to realize that we are not the Savior but the “savee.”
Next posting: Transition Traumas
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