How might we conceive of God, a being who is both invisible and indescribable? Is it foolish or blasphemous to even try? If it is possible to find a meaningful way to picture the divine, how might this help us to connect with him, her or it, and might this lead us away from the main quest of mystics and spiritual seekers - to find God in the heart?
An almost constant awareness of God's presence isn't the normal experience of most people. Many of us spend much of our lifetimes wondering what God is like and, as a step toward experiencing the divine within us, it can help if we can imagine who or what we're speaking to.
An invisible, intangible, indescribable God might at first glance appear to even be beyond our imagination. In one sense, this is of course true, but this needn't distract from the potential to appreciate aspects of divine essence, transcendent, eternal, and immeasurable as they may be.
Images, metaphors, and elaborate descriptions can all play their part in this. Such touch points can be especially helpful in reminding us of the divine qualities and providing a focus for anchoring our devotions and prayers.
Taking a very human starting point, Picturing God draws on the insights and writings of mystics, sages, and religious commentators across the centuries, as well as from the sacred texts, poetry, and thinking of many different faith traditions.
Through these diverse perspectives, a common picture emerges of a being that can at once be both conceived and related to at many levels, including when speaking from the heart seems hard. Such a picture opens up the possibility of going beyond just having an idea to cling on to, offering a meaningful impression of the person or power that is the focus for our meditation and who can be conversed with in prayer.
©2015 Clive Johnson (P)2016 Clive Johnson
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