By Allen C. Liles
Probably at one time or another, most of us have wished for an opportunity to sit down with God and ask the questions of our hearts-those about who God is, who we are, and what life is all about.
In keeping with the philosophy of Unity, the Reverend Allen Liles has written his questions and the answers he feels he would receive if he had such an opportunity. We hope that you will find his personal reflections interesting and enlightening.
Q: Who are You?
A: I am a mystery.
Q: What does that mean?
A: You cannot see Me. You cannot touch Me. You long for something you can see, touch, and understand from a human standpoint. You search for a practical, material way to define Me. I am unexplainable in that sense.
Q: Can You define Yourself in terms I can understand?
A: I am the Creator. I am Spirit, Principle, and All-Good. I am eternal, unchanging, unlimited, and the invisible essence of all life. I am everywhere present. I am never absent from any time, place, or situation. I am always approachable and available.
Q: This still seems very abstract to me. I want to know You as more than a set of principles.
A: As you grow spiritually, it will become more natural and satisfying for you to think of Me in these terms. But I understand; there will always be times when you want Me to be flesh and blood. And I am. Yes, I know what it is to be a human being-to have human feelings and experiences. For I am in you, as I am in all.
Have you not felt Me in the cry of a newborn child, in a parent’s loving smile, in a friend’s warm embrace, in the helping hand of a stranger, in the care of a trusted doctor? And have you not felt Me move you to touch the cheek of a hurting child, to respond in love instead of anger, to offer a cup of water to the thirsty, to sing out for joy, to wonder in the unfolding of a rose? In these moments, you see what I am like. In these moments, you touch Me and know that I am closer “than breathing, and nearer than hands and feet.”
Q: If You are always present, why do bad things happen? Why is there war? Why do people harm other people?
A: My will for you or anyone is always perfection and all good. I do not create suffering or harm in any form. However, free-will choice gives humankind the freedom to act as it chooses. If your choices reflect My divine laws, you build harmony, health, peace, and happiness. If you choose negativity, error thinking, and human separation from Me, your path will prove more difficult.
Q: What is the part You play in those choices?
A: Every choice eventually leads back to Me. I give you opportunities to return to Me either sooner or later. Most choose the longer path. That is why life often seems so painful. Self-will interferes with the straighter, more joyous path to Me.
Q: What is the key to experiencing less pain?
A: You must begin by understanding My true nature. I am love. Wherever you see love, I am being expressed. Whenever you give love, you express Me. Understand this: you are My child. I created you in My image. You can never do anything, say anything, or become anything that will cause Me to stop loving you. I love you unconditionally. Even when you choose to see yourself separate from Me, My love continues. You can curse Me, forget Me, or try to remove Me from your life. I will keep loving you during every moment that you deny Me. When the world hurts or abandons you, I am there with My love. You can lose everything the world has to give. That often happens when you seek materiality. But I will always love you. I will never leave or forsake you. This is My promise. Believe it.
Q: Where do I look for You?
A: Everywhere, but first look within. I exist in the midst of you. I am at your very core. You and I are one. Of course, you can choose to separate yourself from Me humanly at any moment. However, in reality, we are never apart.
Q: How can I feel Your presence?
A: We experience each other best in the silence. Find a restful place and enter into the stillness. Calm your busy mind. Limit your human distractions for a time. Claim the peace that resides at the center of your being. Recall what I told Elijah: I am not the wind, the fire, or the earthquake. I am in the sheer silence. In that silence, you will feel My presence. If you listen closely, you can hear My voice. I am the still, small voice that speaks when you are ready to listen.
Q: I have been taught that we are separate, that You and heaven are located somewhere above me. How can I accept that You are right here, within me?
A: First believe that you are worthy enough to be entrusted with My indwelling spirit. I express Myself through you whenever you allow it. Accept yourself as the instrument of My grace that comes to bless the world. Yes, I am both an immanent and transcendent God. I reside within and without, here and also above. I live in the wondrous glory of heavenly splendor, but that same heaven can be found within you anytime we are in alignment.
Q: How can I accept that You and I are one? How could You ever be one with any human being who has admitted to being a “sinner”?
A: Sin exists only as a temporary, human condition. Sin happens when you fail to express Me. You then miss the mark of your own perfection. Remember, sin begins in the mind. It can be reversed by correcting the error of your thought. Understand My nature. I am love, compassion, mercy, forgiveness, understanding, wisdom, and faith. It is impossible to sin when these qualities are being expressed through you. You make the free-will choice to sin through the choices of your mind. You remain your true spiritual self by consciously changing how you think. You are indeed transformed by the renewing of your mind.
Q: Am I punished for my “sins”?
A: You punish yourself through your choices. You create your own heaven or your own hell. Salvation is a process that takes place within your consciousness. You find true salvation and freedom from sin by raising your conscious awareness of Me. Heaven and hell exist only as states of human consciousness. You live in hell when you believe in unworthiness, lack, limitation, loss, and pain. You reside in heaven when you align yourself with the divine ideas of life, love, peace, joy, intelligence, and wholeness.
Q: But what about evil? I’ve been taught that evil is all around me. I’ve seen it and felt it. Is evil real?
A: Evil exists, but it has no permanent life. Evil flourishes only when it can feast on a human mind separated from Me. When that separation ends, the parasite dies. Evil usually appears alongside ignorance, intolerance, and prejudice. When you choose any or all of those patterns, you give power to evil. You nurture the parasite. When you turn to Me, you choose the one true Presence and Power in the universe. You overcome evil with good.
Q: What about Satan? Is there a devil, or is that also a state of human consciousness?
A: Satan is a term that expresses a persona understandable on the human level. The “devil” symbolizes the adversary to your true spiritual nature. When you turn to Me, your spirituality reappears. Satan’s power withdraws as you are restored to your spiritual birthright.
Q: The metaphysical term Truth is often used to describe You. Exactly what does it mean?
A: Truth is absolute, unlimited, unchanging, and complete. My Truth is the reality that never changes, no matter what the human circumstances may be. As your conscious awareness of Me expands, the true reality of our oneness becomes more apparent to you. The basic principle of Truth is that the mind of each individual may be unified with My mind. When that occurs, you express Truth as purity, love, and ideal good. Absolute Truth never changes. Relative truth is constantly changing. You may have a headache today and feel perfectly fine tomorrow. That is an example of relative truth. Here are some principles of My absolute Truth: I am prosperity, the one true source of your limitless good; I am health, the absolute total perfection of your mind, body, and spirit; I am life, the giver of breath to every living creature residing in My perfect universe; I am love, that pure essence of being that binds together the whole human family. I am omnipresent, omniscient, and omnipotent-the all-present, all-knowing, and all-powerful One. I am the one Power and one Presence in your life and throughout all creation.
Q: How do I learn to trust You?
A: Trust begins with prayer. Prayer serves as your most important spiritual activity. Every moment spent praying contributes to your spiritual transformation. Prayer is communion between God and humankind, between you and Me.
Q: Will You answer my prayers?
A: I always answer every prayer. However, My response often appears in ways you may not understand. Here are some specific things to remember when you are praying: Pray believing that you have already received; seek first My kingdom above all else; acknowledge our oneness; close the door on all thoughts and interests of the outer world, and let go of every unforgiving thought. Pray for My will, not yours.
Q: I feel so blessed by this conversation. Thank You for these insights and answers.
A: Please understand that you are receiving no answers from any source separated from yourself. Every one of My responses has its origin within your own consciousness. You have no special connection to Me other than the one that already exists in your mind. The answers I gave were those that reside now within your current level of awareness. Every one of My children has the same access to Me. I am always open to this type of dialogue. I desire it.
Q: So I have been interviewing myself?
A: Yes. However, think of this time as an extended prayer. Spiritual growth requires an openness to exploring new experiences. Communing with Me always moves you along My path. Come back soon, My child, I have more to share with you. In the meantime, know that I am always here. I love you.
Thank You, God.