What do You do When People Say “God”?

My girlfriend went to a small gathering of spiritual-minded folks last night, and when she came back she asked me, “What do you do when people say ‘God’?”

What followed was, typical of me, a long and rambling discourse that mostly left both of us confused. I could boil it down to this, though: depending on the context and speaker, when someone says “God” to me, I either:

A) do nothing, because there’s nothing for me to do,
B) translate their “God” into my “God” or some allegorical Being,
C) get a little defensive.

In other words, if somebody says something like “A religion without God (like Buddhism, Hinduism, or Taoism) isn’t a real religion,” I get a little defensive; I mean, tell that to the billions of people practicing said religion. Or if they are just describing their beliefs, like saying “I think of God as being that guy on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel,” then there’s nothing for me to do.

The translation thing, though — well, that’s where I started to ramble. And basically, what I was trying to say was this: I think of God as a purity of love and a complete absence of ego or will, which exists in each of us and is accessible to each of us, if we can set aside our own ego and will to let love flow through us. And in that purity of love, all are the same, all are loved, all are one.

So when someone says “God will take care of me,” I tend to translate that into something like, “If I can cultivate within me the spirit of pure love and live in that state, I have nothing to fear or worry about.” And if somebody says, “Eternal life can be achieved through Jesus, son of God,” I turn that into “Peace and freedom are available to me in the eternal “now” if I can cultivate the spirit of pure love by following the examples and teachings of Jesus, whom I believe to be the physical embodiment of the purity of love which I call God.”

And, most relevant to recovery, “Turn it over to God” means, to me, “Set aside my ego and will right now, so I may act in this moment as I would if I were living in the spirit of pure, egoless love.”

See how I can ramble?