Straight shootin

I grew up thinking this is what an apple looks like after it’s fully consumed:

apple-core-2

Imagine my surprise when I ran into this a couple years ago:

Apple_2MB_400

I felt like everything I knew was a sham. I know I know, I’m dramatic. I’ve already accepted it.

But really, I was sort of appalled that I could eat the whole apple and I’d been throwing away a part of it because of something I believed, was led to believe (“apples have cores that aren’t to be eaten”).

To me, this whole apple core situation is similar to another discovery I had in the past couple years.

See, I grew thinking that my relationship with God was conditional. I was told that the love of God is unconditional, but there were certain things I had to uphold and upkeep on my end.

And that I was supposed to get closer to God.

Which implied I was, at a given point, not as close as I could be.

That could killed me.

Because I felt like I needed to get something right, get myself right.

I did what I was told, I said what I thought was right, didn’t say what I thought wasn’t right. I punished myself for thinking certain things, for having judgments, for not wanting to be holy at times, for deliberately sinning.

I thought my whole goal in life was to get closer to God. And that just perpetuated the fact that I wasn’t close to him as I should be. Which meant the constant state was one of lack and away-ness. Which meant something needed to give, since God is almighty and I need to humble myself and get to work.

This really what I thought.

But over the past several, especially over the past couple years, my understanding solidified.

Spirituality is not about the relationship. Spirituality is not about the doing and the not doing. Spirituality isn’t about concepts, rules, or even guidelines. Spirituality is not about getting somewhere, making progress, seeing changes, experiencing transformation. Spirituality isn’t about improving relationships with others. Spirituality isn’t about community. It’s not about finding a place in the world.

Spirituality, from my experience, is the pure unadulterated realization that God is here, God is now, and there is no separation between me and God. Which is to say, I cannot get closer to him and he cannot get closer to me. If there’s one thing that God cannot do, it’s that. He cannot get closer to me. (Note: I attribute feminine qualities to God but for convenience sake, I use “he” and “him”.)

Spirituality is the essence of knowing God, truly understanding and breathing the Truth that he exists flawlessly and effortlessly and – dare I say – happily within.

I think the tragedy that pains him the most is our disbelief of this. This is the greatest tragedy because we deny him the glory and honor of his participation and proximity to us, expressions of his perfection, evolving also perfectly in his hands and grace and love.

I declared that I was far from him and pursued my own version of holiness and justification. All the while, denying the good and perfect Love residing in every cell of my being, the very essence of who I are.

I lived my live as if I did not know him, evidenced by the way I allowed myself to feel inferior, impotent, helpless. Also evidenced by the way I believed ascribing sovereignty and power to a God far away was an act of worship, sanctified by discipline and holy effort. I spat in his face every time I suppressed my words, creativity, desires, and hope for the sake of humility.

Ultimately, in my quest to re-unite with him, I drew as far away from him as possible. And he, in his great wisdom and patience, waited.

He waited as I put one foot in front of the other.

He waited as I remembered how to feel again.

He waited as I began to trust myself.

He waited as I began to believe in myself.

He waited as I sought truth over belonging.

He waited as I stepped out in any bit of courage.

He waited as I sifted through straight up falsehoods and slight untruths.

He waited as I let go of my judgments of myself, and ultimately, my judgments of him.

He waited – patiently, quietly, lovingly.

And the process revealed Truth.

Truth that, once known, cannot be denied. Truth that frees. Truth that grounds. Truth that centers. And Truth that breathes life back into living, living back into life.

God is not waiting for me to come to him.

God is waiting for me to realize he is and has always been here.

And in that realization, life opens up to everything he promised me. Because everything he promised me wasn’t a promise because it hadn’t happened yet. It was a promise because I needed to get on the other side of my disbelief and, there and only there could I experience that it’s been fulfilled.

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