The God Ideal and God Reality 3


I

Entering the Universel Murad Hassil in Katwijk we see the founding stone on which the following aforism of Hazrat Inayat Khan is written:
“Our soul is blessed with the glory of God every time our lips praise Him.”

So just saying the name of God brings great blessing. That shows the great importance of the God Ideal. But in our present culture not much attention is given to the God Ideal. Many people have lost their belief in God because of the conflict between traditional images of God and the discoveries of modern science. Of course scientists cannot find a God somewhere in the skies nor can they discover a divine soul somewhere in our bodies. Now however this conflict completely disappears by further scientific developments.

Hazrat Inayat Khan introduces the concept of the God Ideal and he explains that it is important for us to make our own God Ideal our own idea of God, but we must realize  that that is not God’s Reality that reality is far beyond anything that we can intellectually understand or express in words. But the God Ideal can be seen as a staircase along which we can climb up to that reality. But then the God Ideal must be evolving with our understanding and spiritual evolution. In building such an evolving God Ideal it is important to see that there are so many different aspects of the God Ideal which can inspire us in different situations in our life. The prayer Saum mentions a number of these aspects in a very beautiful way. Very essential is the mystical aspect: Omnipresent, All Pervading, The Only Being. This is a very fundamental thought. We have to let it penetrate deeply into our mind and heart. For it implies that God is within us and also in everything around us and in all beings around us. This mystical aspect of God solves the conflict with modern science for science has found that the emptiness, the quantum vacuum in which all the micro particles circulate, creating all matter, is not really empty but full of an invisible and untouchable energy out of which these microparticles emerge and into which they can also disappear. That energy is then indeed omnipresent and all pervading and it is working to what science calls ‘coherence’, we would say ‘harmony’ and then the parallel with the mystical aspect is clear. This all pervading aspect is already described beautifully in the Bhagavad Gita “ Undivided, He seems to divide into objects and creatures”. And in the Christian scriptures we read “ In Him we live and move and have our being”

II

Now where is this all pervading divine spirit within us and what is it? It is clearly not our physical body that is an instrument with which we can experience the earthly life and it is not our psyche with all our thoughts and feelings which change constantly. Out of all our impressions we gradually build a personality. That has a little more constancy, but it is still subject to change and constantly influenced by further events. What is then always remaining? Our pure consciousness in which all our thoughts and feelings are reflected for a moment and disappear again. Hazrat Inayat Khan says in ‘Metaphysics’ “The soul is an undivided portion of the all pervading consciousness” that is our true being, our divine soul.

As the soul is divine it is also divine light and love and creative power.

But very often we are not at all conscious of that because our attention is directed to the outside world with all its impressions and events. The real purpose of our life is to turn within so that we can become conscious of this divine light and love and creative power. That is mysticism, the inner life.

Of course the all pervading divine being is also everywhere around us. To become conscious of that we must learn to see the beauty in everything: in nature and also in human beings.

III

The only being is also omnipotent, all powerful. We feel that that must be true but how can we understand it . It is interesting that science has now also discovered this. In the fascinating book by Lynne McTaggart “The Field” we read: “This means that the total energy of the zero point field ( or the quantum vacuum)  exceeds all energy in matter of the creation by a factor of ten to the fortieth power: 1 followed by 40 zeroes.”

But we see in human society so much suffering and disharmony, that we can ask: “why does an All Mighty and loving God allow all this to happen?” Then we must keep in mind that he has created man as a free and responsible being so that man can choose one way or another right or wrong. In that way man develops his or her consciousness because wrong choices will create disharmony and make us unhappy.

But sometimes it can happen  that the All Mighty will act directly – although sometimes invisibly – to change something that could endanger the evolution of humanity. Sometimes this happens through what looks like an accident, but there can be divine power behind it. It can be the spirit of guidance. ( Story of Churchill in the trenches.) So it is very important for us to learn to recognize the spirit of guidance in our life, to listen to it and to follow it. That will help us also to become conscious of the divine power.

IV

The Only Being is also Most Merciful and Compassionate. This means that he is not indifferent to what happens in his creation and with his human beings. The Only Being lives in all beings, in everything so that he feels joy and pain of all human beings. All their feelings are reflected in his divine heart, therefore he will sometimes reach out to a human being to help, console and uplift. That comes from his great love and it is a mercy beyond the law of reflection and of cause and effect. It is a gift that we cannot bring about by our own limited will power. We can only prepare ourselves to receive it. We can open our heart to let mercy from our own heart work for other people, also breaking through the law of reaction, we can forgive. In his mercy the One can then bridge a much longer distance to us than the little way that our longing would lift us upwards.

God is also the perfection of love harmony and beauty. Recognizing his love  to all beings and in the whole of creation we can then naturally – also by that law of reflection – develop our love of God which is the strongest force  bringing us to union with him.

Iskh Allah Mah’bud Allah

Download pdf here.  Article in Trouw, 11-02-2012, tien geboden, Arjan Visser:
Johannes Witteveen. ‘Ik ben niet eenzaam, God is hier’.


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3 thoughts on “The God Ideal and God Reality

  • Joe Walsh

    Mr. Witteveen,
    I enjoyed reading your essay very much especially since I agree with many of your points and assertions. It is remarkable, from my perspective as a citizen of the USA,to find today a man of your professional accomplishment and position who also espouses such tolerant and profound concepts about the character of deity. I am reminded somewhat of my multi-virtuous countryman Benj. Franklin who made financial endowments to all the churches of his community and who was also publicly honored by all the same upon his passing from the scene. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on the mystery of the one life.

  • Petra van Empelen

    Mr. Witteveen,
    Thank you for this contribution. I would like to add something that seems vital to me – although you might see it otherwise.
    We all know how difficult it is to find real enlightment, as the masters did. Since the flower power and guru ages a massive interest in spirituality has grown. This is good news and bad news. The good news is people are searching; the bad news is that the basic drive for masters to seek, was not te be a follower of anything (Khan, Jesus, Gurdjieff), but they were fundamental seekers of truth. This is essentially different from historical and nowadays mass movements. It deals with the difference between Self realisation on one hand and talking about loving for exmaple budhhist, christian or other ideas on the other hand, which people tend to start copying in a superficial way, whereas the masters dropped all believe to check out Reality in a fundamental way, inside and outside themselves. This is the difference between individual Self realization (the latter) and collective image building. This seems harmless and maybe even well on the way, but the point is that mass movements of just looking and feeling good lead to a kind of mass psychotic effects in etherical connection that don’t help the autonomous search, but work directly against it by pushing a certain picture of reality instead of connection to reality. Hereby, instead of waking Free Will from under pain and false images, it kills Free Will to get the doctrine in.
    Why do I say this? The motive for being truthfull is usually week in men; we take our time to wander around. The urgency of work on oneself, as the masters did, is maybe more clear if one looks at the distructive impact of indoctrination in the inner world of the individual, the collective organism and with a violent impact on the world around us – left of right; it doesn’t matter. Not working on truth, but just talking about you allready being good, as many do, leads to genocide, when you take a good look at it. A focus now and then on this dark side of taking it easy might contribute to conciousness of the urgency of individual inner work.

  • H.J. Witteveen

    You make a great difference between individually aiming for self-realisation and being inspired by religion or gurus to some more limited ideas. But in most cases it is not easy to make this distinction, for what is ‘self-realisation’? It means becoming conscious of our soul, the Divine Light and Love within us. For that, it is necessary to overcome the ego, the limited aspect of our being with which we generally identify ourselves. As you say, this is difficult. So, most people need some help to make progress on the Inner Path. This can be the example of a more enlightened person, whose light can be reflected in our consciousness. Or we can be inspired by certain prayers or ideas in a religion that appeals to us. Every human being has to go his own path, where there can be the danger of being caught in more limited ideas or dogmas that close our heart for the Divine Light. So, we have to distinguish clearly by what ideas or personalities we allow ourselves to be inspired. And life will always test us and guide us further to the Only Being, whose Light shines through the whole world.
    I can understand that you prefer an individual searching for his or her own way to mass movement. Now is indeed the time that more and more people look for their own individual path; but in the past and for many still now it can be a great help to be inspired by a church that holds beautiful prayers and meetings, with which they feel at home.
    HJW