The feeling of God

third sight

There is a popular story about four blind men who wanted to know what an elephant was.

They stood around an elephant and the first blind man grabbed the rail.

“An elephant is a thick rope,” he said.

The second mam felt the elephant’s leg. “No,” he said. “The elephant is a strong pillar.”

Blind man number three touched the elephant’s ear. “You are wrong. The elephant  is a piece of cloth.”

The fourth who was holding the elephant’s trunk, cried, “I have proof that the elephant is a big snake.”

Then they had an argument as to who was right.

This story is sometimes told to illustrate the difference in religious teachings, the moral being that all the blind men were wrong.

Yet the truth of the story goes much deeper.

Where God is concerned, we are all intellectually blind. We have ideas about God, but the only direct knowledge of God comes through feeling.

We can call that seeing with the eyes of the heart. It is not about ideas. It’s about touch.

Desire to know God makes us open to awareness. That awareness grows according to who we are and we are all different.

Differences in our perception of God, are no aberration. They are normal.

So, in effect, all the blind men in the story, were right. They described how they knew the elephant.

We have four feeling descriptions in this parable.

Jesus chose many more to describe himself; there are eight “I am” metaphors in the Gospel of John alone.

We can reflect on our own desire to know God and how that comes through touches of recognition that can’t be adequately named.

There is the touch of beauty. We all know beauty and how it affects us, yet beauty does not feed us, shelter us or protect us.  It is a spiritual gift.

Somehow, it connects us with ourselves by taking us out of ourselves.

There is a touch of guidance that will override head knowledge and point us in the right direction.

We feel its authenticity.

In a quiet moment, away from superficial activity, we feel a sense of “Oneness” deep within ourselves.

Paradoxically, this sense is within us and yet much bigger than us.

We pause before the tabernacle in a church with prayer-soaked walls and feel that time is an illusion.

Timelessness is a reality.

The feeling we call love, flows out to embrace all creation. It is like a river flowing through us and everything that exists.

God is love. Love is God.

But the question still exists: What is the shape of God?

All we know is that the word “God “ keeps getting bigger until it is in everything that exists and all that is beyond our knowledge.

We are part of all that is known and unknown.

In that, we feel we are crops of water in the ocean of God.

  • Joy Cowley is a wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother and retreat facilitator.
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