The G-word· 1 min read
There aren't many words I feel uncomfortable saying in public. Yet there's a word frowned upon in the pragmatic modern world. The word that's seen as an anachronism. This word is "God."
I remember pausing to consider if I wanted to use the word "God" as I was drafting Things I learned at the Monastic Academy. After much hesitation, I chose to keep it. Sure enough, soon after the post was published, an old friend reached out, saying he was concerned about me. Believe it or not, he was specifically concerned because I used this word. From his perspective, only old or crazy people talk about God, and since I was still pretty young, I must have gone mad or worse – joined a cult. I can't blame him. I would have thought the same not so long ago.
In high school, I went to a Sunday Orthodox Christian school every week for many years. I learned prayers, sang in a choir, and joined pilgrimages. I knew the Bible better than an average Joe. And yet, through the years, I felt nothing. I was convinced we were all just faking it, believing in something the world religions invented because people needed answers and science couldn't provide them.
Everything changed while I was at the Monastic Academy. I find it ironic because Buddhists don't believe in God. Whenever someone asks me if I learned anything after spending three months at the monastery, the honest answer is: "I found God." Unfortunately, this only creates more questions. The types of questions that I don't know how to answer. All my attempts to answer make me sound crazy at best. I came to believe that this type of knowledge is not transferrable. Even now, as I'm typing these words, I'm afraid of being misunderstood.
Half a year later, I am still shocked to find pointers to what I internalized as God hidden in plain sight in books, rituals, and stories. For example, I was reading "The Pathless Path" by Paul Millerd, where he quoted Julia Cameron, the author of "The Artist's Way":
– Creativity requires faith. Faith requires that we relinquish control.
Relinquishing control is one way I define God.