What can I do to connect with God? This question has been asked by countless seekers throughout all of human history. I’ve asked it as well, since the beginning of my conscious differentiation of self. It seems like most humans have asked this at some point in some form. In different words: How do I experience something beyond myself? How do I transcend my current circumstances? How do I find meaning? Something is beyond me, so what can I do to connect with it.
We humans have tried so many different things, haven’t we? Rituals, services, and sacrifices. Constructing buildings, building churches, sitting in circles. Fire, water, air, and earth. Rites of passage, ceremonies of commemoration, offerings of resources. People have tried prayer, silence, singing, and weeping. Food, fasting, binging, and plant medicine. Yoga, sex, mantra, and meditation. Drugs, alcohol, power, violence, and group-think. Prayers have been uttered, candles have been burned, incense has been smudged, and sweat has been released. Walks in nature, immersion in ice water, and even astral projection. We’ve read the sacred texts, written books and in journals, and engaged in dialogs and sometimes monologues. Humans have walked on hot coals, climbed mountains, hung from trees with bones in their chest. So many different attempts at connecting with God (or whatever name we choose to use). I have tried so many myself, and for those I haven’t, many I know have.
But try as hard as we can, the connection with the divine ebbs and flows. For those that go with a fast-track experience, they may find that as quickly as the experience comes, quickly it dissipates. Like twigs on a fire, the flame burns hot and bright, but in minutes dies down and goes out unless more twigs can be thrown on the fire. Be wary of “sure-fire” ways of connecting with God, of easy answers, and 3 step acronyms or sermon points starting with the same letter. These will likely burn out within a week, leaving you hungry for more that only something or someone else can help you access.
Nothing burns quite the same as the hard wood embers, crafted over time and hard work, showing up and sticking with it even when the desired cosmic response eludes us. Time. Time is the great teacher. It is what makes things sacred. Time and intention are what make the whole thing holy. How holy and sacred was the land and the rituals held and nurtured by the ancient cultures for many thousands and thousands of years. Snuffed out by “civilization” and technology in a matter of decades.
When the dust settles, when we return to the quiet place, when our energy and strength is used up for the day from working at connecting and listening and paying attention. There is only one answer to the question of “What can I do to connect with God?”
There is nothing I, or you, can do to connect with God. We are already connected. This is what the mystics and the great spiritual teachers through the centuries will say. God is connected to you… fully, entirely, and endlessly. Life is already in you. Every day. Every hour. Every moment. It is how you get up in the morning, how you take breath into your lungs, and how you come to your frailty and inevitable death. This being and existence is the connection you so desperately search for… or have given up on along the way.
The best we can do is to show up, persevere, and increase our sensitivity. Tuning out, hurrying up, or getting the quick fix will not sustain us. Denial or hoping for a better future or another world will not give us the empathy and compassion and heartbreak we need to be here, in this time, in this present moment… which is the only time that is real. No one hopes for what they already have. Let that sink in. No one hopes for what they already have. This is where God is. Connecting to God takes merely a moment and also a lifetime.