It is an incredibly beautiful thing, within the realm of human experience; to see, feel, and encounter God through other people. The unconditional love, experienced through deep friendship, or vulnerable and intimate moments with a partner or lover can produce profound encounters of authentic connection. Equally profound, although much more challenging to embrace, are the moments when God shines through others in the form of criticism or opposition. In either case, the source of this encounter is coming through a direct experience with God – the veil is lifted and you are gazing into the eyes of the Divine, and the Divine is gazing back at you with love.
One of the many obstacles within this Divine exchange is, that it lends itself all too easily to projecting the role and responsibility of God onto the person with whom you shared this encounter. It is easy to forget that this person, although Divine, is also a human being with their own process. In other words, if we are constantly looking to the “other” to be the mouth-piece of God, we are missing most of the equation. Encounters with the Divine are literally limitless in their expression, and to reduce them to the limited venue of human interaction only diminishes the ways God is allowed to communicate. Don’t be surprised… it occurs more often than you might imagine.
To take this concept a step further, a large percentage of human beings have done the same thing with the prophets, sages, mystics, and gurus. In other words, God can only be found through a human master, or prophet, or sage, or guru, or medicine person, etc. It is no wonder we do the same with the individuals closest to us in this life. Somewhere along the way God stopped being found within, or felt in the wind, or seen in the trees, or found on a pilgrimage to the mountain, and a became person – in most cases, a “He.”
This process is likely serving a necessary function in humanities’ collective evolution toward God; however, what it has also indirectly produced, is a separation from God’s truly limitless forms. This prevents many individuals from being empowered to have their own direct encounter with Life (and everything within and beyond it) as an encounter with God.
Therefore, being able to embrace the presence of the divine through another, needs to be met simultaneously with the willingness to free that individual from this role. This is an important step toward building healthy relationships with God and with others, both in this world, and in the next.
As the old Zen phrase goes, “Do not confuse the finger pointing at the moon, for the moon itself.”