The Experience of God

Photograph © 2017 Peggy Kornegger
God is everything. Yet within that everything, God has many aspects of being, from formlessness to form. At the center of the universe (actually before the universe became the universe) is just Source energy, pure potential. In some teachings, this is called the absolute, or “I.” It is the precursor to the Big Bang: out of nothing came something, out of absolute being arose relative being, or “I Am,” wherein God becomes relatable, experiential, as love, as consciousness. When we on the spiritual path feel divine love, when we expand into conscious awareness of something greater in our lives, we are experiencing the “I Am” at the soul level.

The next aspect is “I Am That,” in which we as humans identify completely with our physical forms, personality selves, or egos, and forget our divine connection. Forgetfulness is the common state for humanity at this time. In forgetfulness, we get caught up in all the polarities and dramas of human physical life on Earth. Our minds, emotions, and bodies are our primary experience, and the soul takes a backseat, often completely overlooked. This also is God, but it is God forgetting that it is God—something we all experience before we awaken again into the “I Am,” the love we came from.

In the collective awakening that is happening more and more on this planet, we reconnect with our souls, with the God within. This is the primary experiential focus for many of us who have incarnated at this time—to expand in awareness from “I Am That” to “I Am” and finally to “I.”

My own life has taken me through all three aspects at different times. Most of my early life was spent in “I Am That.” I dropped much of my socially created personality when I left my small-town home at 18 and went away to college to “find myself.” I spent years exploring “who am I?” and “why am I here?” I often felt lost and in despair during this self-exploration because I couldn’t really see beyond the Earth plane. I was on a spiritual quest, but I didn’t know it as such. I found meaning and a new kind of self-identification within the breakthrough experiences of my generation in the late 1960s and 1970s—flower-child consciousness and political activism. Belief in Love defined my life and informed all the experiences I had at that time. It was a period of awakening, but at a beginning level.

Many years later, I began a conscious spiritual journey, which eventually took me to “I Am,” experiencing God, or universal consciousness. This occurred in my own spiritual practices (meditation, yoga, programs with inspiring teachers), in Nature, and eventually I found that divine connection existed within me at all times. These were powerful moments of bliss and joy, when tears streamed down my face at the all-encompassing loving Godness that filled me. I began to live more and more from my soul (and my heart which is the entry point to the soul) instead of my personality or ego. My fears around infinity and death gradually began to be replaced by trust and surrender to something greater than my single human life. Yet, there was more.

I am only now beginning to touch into “I,” or the absolute. I experienced it once years ago at the very start of my work with Panache Desai, when in an individual session, he took me there. More accurately, he accessed that state within himself, which opened the door for me to access it within myself. It was a completely emotionless state of peace beyond peace. This was infinity, on the other side of any fears my mind could invent about it—because there was no mind, no me. There was nothing. I remained in that state for hours, with no desire to do anything but rest in the experience. It made a huge crack in my previous level of consciousness, and deeper awareness began to trickle, and then gradually stream, in. Because of this crack, I was able to experience God in ways I never had previously.

The door is opening wider now to that fathomless, directionless, experience of absolute potential, where God is not even a definable entity. In a recent immersion retreat with Panache, I found myself “lifting off” into that state, like a hummingbird spiraling upward into invisibility. Here there is no language, no recognizable signposts to point to, so when I “return” (actually, there is no return because it is ever-present, the source of everything), I can find no words to describe it. A woman at our retreat called it the place of “no God”—in other words, God before God is seen by us as God. And it’s not frightening because fear doesn’t exist. As I said, indescribable.

These are the states that great masters throughout time have spoken of and, seeing into the future, told us: “All this you will experience, and more.” I have no idea where I am going on this journey; every bit of it is beyond my human “understanding.” It’s a Great Mystery that I am here to experience in its eternal expansion through formlessness and form, emptiness and fullness, potential and presence. In all honesty, the “I Am That” in me at times still fears the nothingness of the “I” and wants only the loving comfort of the “I Am.” Yet my soul knows they are all God, all one unified ocean of energy and light within me and all around me. Separation and fear only exist in my mind.

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Your Soul’s Awareness

Photograph © 2017 Peggy Kornegger
Live as your soul, and trust in God. Live as God, and trust in your soul. One and the same. Your soul is God here on Earth within a physical form. God is in every physical form on the planet—every human being, every animal, every butterfly, every tree, every stone, every tiny grain of sand. There is absolutely nothing that is not Source energy. When we come to this greater awareness, we can be free of separation on every level. Separation from God, separation from others, and separation within ourselves. My mind, body, emotions, and spirit are all one. I am one with all beings everywhere.

Separateness is just an illusion that God/dess put in place so that we could experience our unique individual forms and then come back into conscious awareness of the oneness of all things. Earth is a playground of expanding consciousness. We see one another as different and separate, but when we begin to align more fully with our soul’s awareness, we remember the oneness from which we were created and to which we will return after death. Life allows the experience of separation and the blissful reunion after separation. On this planet of polarities, we come to know all extremes, and God knows them through us, experiences life as we experience it. We are human emissaries who enable God to explore constantly evolving realms of beingness.

So if you thought that you came to Earth only to suffer, think again. Better yet, drop down out of your mind into your heart. Within the heart is where we are closest to the Divine because God is love, and our hearts are love transmitters. When we feel pure unconditional love for another being, we break through the illusion of separateness and experience our own divinity. We love as God loves, and in doing so, we fulfill our purpose for being here. We came to this planet to reach full awareness of who we are and to live as God in human form, loving all that we see as God, including ourselves. Sounds simple, but we have to live the complications to reach simplicity.

I have lived through layer after layer of complicated experiencing in my life, all of it eventually bringing me back home to my own soul, to the God within, which so many spiritual masters have pointed to for thousands of years. We were born wise, fully conscious of our divine connection. Then our clear vision gets blurred by the illusions of the world we are taught is real. All my life experiences are meant to awaken me from that illusion. We who are alive at this time have incarnated specifically to reach collective soul awareness. Each of us is here to know and love one another as God. That is heaven on Earth, and that is the grace-filled destiny that is yours.

What’s in a Name?

Photograph © 2015 Peggy Kornegger
My aversion to the word God began in childhood because of the Jehovah’s Witnesses who regularly showed up at our door to convert us to Christianity. My father used to try to argue them out of their stance that only they knew who or what God is. They, of course, saw my dad as one of the lost who needed to be saved. This was my first experience with proselytizing. As adults, my parents had moved away from their Christian roots to a more “free-thinking” approach to religion. They felt that humans can never really “know” if God exists; it is a personal belief. So I was raised entirely outside of traditional religion. My parents took me to a Unitarian church once, but I wasn’t really interested. They always allowed me my own choices with regard to religious beliefs or practices.

So I had no spiritual framework other than Nature and my parents’ unconditional love, which I eventually recognized as God in its purest form. I remained suspicious of the rigidity of religion, as well as its patriarchal structure, for many years. The word God to me exemplified all of that. It wasn’t until I read Mary Daly’s book Beyond God the Father in my 20s that I began to open to a spirituality beyond religion. Mary asked her readers to imagine God as a verb not a noun—an active verb, neither male nor female. That fascinated me and enabled me to break through to infinite possibilities around the idea of God. The words Source, Divine, Goddess, Great Mystery, Universal Consciousness, Spirit all held meaning for me. I liked having many names for God, which is really unnamed energy anyway. It’s humans who want to name it.

As I began to follow my own spiritual path, I found that everything held a beauty of its own in the human quest to find and understand God. Even traditional religions, before they became distorted by human attempts to concretize and contain spirit, held many eternal truths at their core. I came to my own open-ended spirituality and no longer cringed at the word God. It’s just a word after all. Now I embrace God as the sacred living energy in all things and all beings, even those Jehovah’s Witnesses who believed that their God was the only one. They too are playing a role on the Earth at this time in the greater evolution from separation and “rightness” to oneness and non-judgment.

In truth, we are all God’s witnesses in this world, every one of us a precious being with the ability to recognize divinity everywhere, inside us and outside us. In the deepest sense, there is no inside or outside, only seamless infinite love that connects us all. That is God, beyond words, beyond definitions. You can’t explain, argue about, or understand God with the mind. You can only experience that blessed spirit, that love, as it flows through you and from you into the world.

Shakespeare wrote: “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” It doesn’t matter whether you give God a name or definition or even if you believe God exists. The sweetness of that sacred presence is at the heart of your existence as a soul on this planet. And it continues beyond earthly life into infinity. Nameless or named, the universal consciousness that we call God or Goddess is an integral part of our lives. And s/he doesn’t care what term we use. When I let go of my past perceptions of the word God, I came to see that loving divine connection in every single aspect of my life.

Peace Is Everywhere

Photograph © 2018 Peggy Kornegger
Beneath the noisy thoughts in your head, there is peace. Underneath the emotional upset, there is peace. Behind every human action and reaction, there is an unwavering core of peace. It may be hard to perceive at times, but if you take a deep breath and allow everything to just be as it is, you are immediately brought to the peace that always lives within. I have learned the truth of this over time and through experience. That one breath changes everything, and I am centered in absolute stillness and peace, no matter what else is going on around me.

The world we experience every day is full of excitement and drama, all of it compelling. We are here on Earth to immerse ourselves in those diverse experiences and emerge on the other side with new awareness and wisdom. We may not know it consciously, but our souls are guiding us on our earthly journey. It is a journey through the polarities and extremes of life back to the center of all creation, which is infinite peace and oneness, which is God. To know peace in the midst of every experience—chaos or celebration—is to live in alignment with divine Source energy. It is why we are here (and where we came from), all of us in our uniquely diverse lives: to come back home to peace and radiate it out from the core of our being. More and more, we are coming into conscious realization of this extraordinary process and the transformative power it holds.

In the late 1960s and 1970s, antiwar activists used to chant “Peace Now” and “Give Peace a Chance.” (I was there; I remember.) John Lennon wrote: “War is over, if you want it. War is over now.” Beneath the slogans and lyrics was a truth that we have gradually come to see in the years since then: peace is present now, within each of us, and we can live it individually and collectively when we breathe it into the world with conscious awareness. It’s not about forcing anything to happen. It’s about allowing the peace of the universe to fully emerge from our souls and guide our daily lives, moment to moment.

That may sound “woo woo” and weird, but it’s actually grounded in the here and now. When you take a deep breath (which is spirit infusing human form) in the present moment, you align with the silent power of a “peace that surpasses all understanding” and are centered in the ground of all being. It can shift everything in a nanosecond. Within that living breathing inner peace, there is only love, compassion, and connection. Connection to God; connection to our fellow beings on the planet. When we pause and become fully aware of our breathing and the stillness at our core, struggle, judgment, and the need to build walls against everything and everyone falls away, dissolves. War, within and without, is over in that moment of completely conscious loving awareness.

This is where we are now on the planet, moving toward fully embodying that truth, that destiny. I feel it more and more powerfully every day in my own life and in the lives of people around me. But don’t take my word for it. As you move through your day and life starts to “get to you,” pause and take a deep breath, feel the sweet stillness at your center. Gradually you will begin to realize that peace is everywhere; it lives inside each and every one of us.

Bliss and Bangs on the Head

Photograph © 2016 Peggy Kornegger
Sometimes life is a joyful dance, and sometimes it just hurts, like a really bad headache. When things get difficult, you may feel that you are being punished for failing some invisible test of your character. Or, dramatically, that you are Sisyphus pushing a boulder uphill, only to watch it roll back down again. This is the human view, thinking we are in complete control of our lives and have made a mistake when things aren’t going well. In truth, we are not in single-handed control, and there are no mistakes. Everything that occurs in your life has been envisioned by God and your soul to bring you to greater awareness of the absolute perfection of every moment.

As we progress on the spiritual path, we gradually learn that sacred Source energy is present in every single experience. It’s in the goose bumps and tears of blissful connection to something greater as well as in the sudden harsh twist of fate that stops you in your tracks and diverts you to a new destination. It’s the hard stuff as well as the celestial celebration. It’s all divinely orchestrated Grace, designed to move you ever closer to complete alignment with your soul. It opens you to seeing that God/dess is present in absolutely every situation and scenario, in every person and event.

I have encountered this lesson again and again when my thinking mind jumps in with a judgment about what is occurring instead of accepting it all as part of my soul’s evolution. Gradually I am learning to trust that there is always a hidden blessing in what seems like a difficult challenge or painful experience. The times when I cry with frustration or hurt are as sacred as the times when I cry with joy at feeling God’s presence. Nothing on my life’s path is meant to torture me, only to expand my awareness of the divine connection that exists all the time within me.

So I continue. Each day is a new opportunity to see with my soul’s eyes and live in full awareness of that unbroken connection. That is why we are here on Earth—to experience it all and know it is all God. And to know ourselves as God as well. There is nothing that is not that infinite cosmic consciousness that we have named God or Goddess, or perhaps more appropriately the “Great Mystery.” We try to understand and explain with logic why things are happening the way they are, but that really leads us nowhere, except to pushing another rock uphill. If I let go completely and trust that it’s all unfolding just as it’s meant to, stress and expectation fall away, and I am at peace in the center of my life.

Peace of mind is what lies waiting for us when we surrender thinking to just being, allowing everything and everyone to just be as well. Peace on earth begins with peace of mind, and peace of mind comes from deep awareness at the soul level. This is where we are all headed. If you or I sometimes forget, that is fine too because really we can’t fail. We are evolving and expanding into complete fulfillment of our destiny as conscious spirit in physical form. Actually, it already exists within us. Take a deep, fully conscious breath, and you are there—now.