As a small child I was brought up by a Catholic mum and a Church of England dad; I was sent to Catholic boarding school when I was seven where there was a beautiful chapel with candles and incense and I would spend many hours in there singing in the choir, attending services, praying or simply enjoying the sensory experience.
I grew up believing that God was separate from us. We were taught that he was a giant being who created us, who sat on a big throne in Heaven and judged and punished us. I grew up with ideals and beliefs that said that I must be ‘good’, otherwise I would go straight to Hell when I died… or if I wasn’t completely bad a not-quite-so-hellish place called Purgatory. So I tried to be good and when I failed I’d go to confession and say the Hail Marys that would absolve me from my sins and let me start again.
My early years were all about being good, trying to do better and being totally anxious about getting things right and feeling awfully guilty if I upset anyone or broke something. I always did as I was told and would always follow the rules, was always polite and would apologise profusely whenever I did anything wrong.
This became a way of life throughout adulthood as well, constantly anxious, always trying to be good and fearful of ‘getting it wrong’. I made plenty of mistakes and felt ashamed or I’d get angry with everything and rebel and then feel even worse afterwards. I think I was quite angry as a child but was never allowed to express that openly, it would come out in snide, sneaky ways – or as an adult by being very hard on myself and very critical of others.
At boarding school we were taught that God was outside of us, but I always felt that he was my friend and would chat or pray to him a lot. It helped me to feel less lonely. When I left school and went to university I began to question God and decided he didn’t exist. Through most of my adult life I continued to deny God and followed all sorts of scientific theories and new age ideas as to our origins, but none of it felt true.
In 2005 I met Serge Benhayon; he talked about God in a matter-of-fact way and everything he said made sense. It felt true and I had a sense of feeling settled, like I was coming home. I felt challenged at the same time because I thought I had finished with God and religion.
I found it really hard to accept that this God, whom I’d denied for over 40 years, was not only very real but a very accessible reality and such that we are not separate from him, we are all INSIDE God, and God is inside us equally, no matter who we are or what we do. There are no special ‘chosen ones’, there is no such place as Hell, God does not judge, we are all divine but just not expressing our divinity in its fullness.
I was blown away by what felt like truth but I still resisted. I felt embarrassed to tell my friends I was in a religion and that yes, God really does exist. I was anxious about what other people would think of me, that they’d think I was weird or stupid. I couldn’t feel God in my body so if they questioned me I couldn’t truly explain as clearly as Serge Benhayon had done.
I couldn’t feel God because I had an image of what I thought God would feel like, but as I make changes to my way of living that help me to develop my awareness, I can feel more and more in my body and I see and feel God at every turn.
I see God when butterflies dance and bees buzz busily among the flowers.
I hear God in every bird that sings its clear song with its whole body.
I see God in the eyes of young children and babies who are simply being themselves.
I feel God in the warmth of the sun.
I hear God when we sing together in beautiful harmonies.
I feel God in the warmth of eye contact and a true smile exchanged with another.
I smell God in the heart of a beautiful rose.
I taste God in fresh food lovingly cooked.
I hear God in a voice spoken from a body that is expressing in full with true energetic truth.
Most of all, now I can say that I can feel God within me: when I allow myself to be still and as I go about my daily life gently there is a feeling of deep inner joy, and a feeling of harmony. I am learning to open myself up to seeing and feeling God equally in others too, to see that we are all divine equal beings and to not judge anyone, for we are not separate – we are all a one humanity within the body of God.
By Carmel Reid, Somerset, UK
|Please note we reserve the right to decline the publication of comments that are purely self-promotional or which are designed to advance a predefined agenda or dogma, we find that comments of this nature are not conducive to open two-way conversation. This means no Scripture-spam please. Refer to our Comments Policy for further guidelines.|