Today I posted this quotation from Caroline Myss on my Soul Wisdom Facebook page: Ask your Soul: ‘What would it take for me not to fear God?’
Almost at once some bright spark quoted Proverbs 9:10, ‘The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom.’ Good for him because we can now start talking about how language is a funny thing and can so often be heard or read to say what it doesn’t necessarily mean (a cause of much offence and upset at times).
The Hebrew word in Proverbs that is translated as ‘fear’ is yirah which equally as accurately means ‘awe.’ I’m all for awe. Genuine awe is rarely felt (it’s not awesome when someone we like releases a new song or we bite into a particularly delicious cake; it’s lovely but it’s not awesome!). Genuine awe is when something is beyond our capacity to rationalize it; it is incredible and we only experience it at the level of our soul.
Sometimes we feel awe looking up at a clear night sky; sometimes at a beautiful dawn; sometimes when something inexplicable is felt within us at a sacred time. We love awe. It can be challenging and take us out of our comfort zone but we are not afraid of it. Absolutely not! Awe is where the Christ consciousness begins to touch us. Awe is our pathway home.
The fear that Caroline is referring to in her quotation is destructive ego fear of a capricious deity — the sort that will give us cancer or take our job, our home or our loved one away. And that fear turns us away from God. That fear is one of the reasons that we prefer calling It Source, Universe, Law of Attraction, the Divine.
Most of the reasons why we carry that hate and fear come from religious teaching. There are certainly enough ignoramuses and fundamentalists throwing texts from sacred scripts around in order to make anyone feel afraid or threatened. One of my kabbalistic colleagues, Dr. Michael Hattwick, once said ‘fundamentalism occurs when no one remembers the deep spirit within the faith. They have to hold the form rigidly in the hope that one day, someone will be able to release that truth again.’
Isn’t that an amazing definition?
One of the classics that often well-meaning Christians use is Jesus’ phrase, ‘I am the way, the truth and the life; no one comes to the father except through me’ (John 14:6).
That sentence is banded around as though Jesus were saying ‘Worship God via me or go to hell.’ That’s certainly how I heard it at my atheist husband’s funeral 25 years ago.
But reading it like that assumes that Jesus is talking from his persona as Jesus of Nazareth. Persona is ego and ego is ‘all about me.’ He is not. He’s talking about the Christ Consciousness which he, at that moment, is representing on earth.
This very same Christ Consciousness is being represented by others who are living now – perhaps not as frequently nor as thoroughly as by Jesus but represented all the same. It was present in Buddha, Mohammed, Krishnamurti, Meister Eckhart, Theresa of Avila and, almost certainly, even if in just a flash, in the eyes of someone you meet at a moment of deep crisis in your life.
We live in such a world of ego that it is all too easy to ascribe such selfish, exclusive motives to Jesus and to God.
There are 32,000 different versions of the New Testament in Greek with quite a few variations in translation. Some of them (according to my scholar friend Stephen Pope, author of Patterns of Creation, Axis Mundi) in John 14:6 say ‘no one comes to the Father except as I am.’
That’s saying that we experience God’s presence by being at the same level as Jesus — through the Christ (higher) Consciousness. Wouldn’t that make a lot more sense?
I’m not a Greek scholar by any means but I know that when Jesus makes the great pronouncements such as ‘I am the way…’ or ‘I am the resurrection…’ he says ‘Ego Eimi’ which is, in Greek, ‘I am, I am’ — two different levels of ‘I am.’
This is usually translated as an emphasis: ‘I AM the way…’ but when I buttonholed Professor David Parker, my tutor at Birmingham University, asking whether it could possibly be Jesus referring to the ultimate name of God ‘I Am that I Am’ (given to Moses in Exodus 3:14) rather than just an emphasis on the Jesusness in the phrase, he said, ‘oh quite possibly.’
Which is good enough for me.
So, given the singular lack of punctuation that existed in New Testament Greek, Jesus could very well be saying. ‘I Am that I Am: the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the One Source except as I am.’
And what was Jesus’ own ‘I am’? It was being in a state of total peace of mind, confidence in the justice, love and mercy of God and a deep feeling of awe. It was Jesus coming from the level of the soul (inclusive) not the ego (exclusive). Soul is connected with all humanity; ego is only concerned with what happens to me.
Jesus’ ‘I am’ has everything to do with inclusion and nothing whatsoever to do with exclusion. An atheist can just as easily be in that place of peace and love as a Christian, a Jew, a Muslim etc. You get to God when you are in a place that is receptive. You get to God from your soul — and everyone has a soul. We just don’t access it that often; preferring to be right in our beliefs rather than happy for everyone’s unique path to God.
You don’t have to sign a piece of paper saying that you have to believe that this way or that way is right. You choose the path for you and only for you. God’s love is unconditional. That means you can believe what you want to believe. God will still come and sit beside you and appreciate your soul’s view of the world whoever you are — but your ego will probably try to shut God out if it possibly can. Believing in a exclusive God is very helpful to the ego because it can be very right — and very vociferous — about that.
Why am I banging on about this? Because that ‘I am’ phrase and Henry’s death are the whole reason behind my journey … the journey of reclaiming my soul and acknowledging a loving awesome God, rather than a capricious, vengeful or cruel one. And I don’t think I’m alone in that journey by any means. But this is my truth, not necessarily yours. You have to find your own way because that is the Path of Awe.
Ask your soul: what would it take for me not to fear God? Whatever the answer is, finding it is YOUR life’s journey, your soul’s quest. It is your holy grail. Finding that answer and releasing the fear and certainty of your ego is your destiny.
May grace and blessings accompany you on your journey.