How to know God

How to know God by Deepak Chopra

Why do we need to know God? Simple. Because if we can reach this state, we will become totally free of fear. Light of being. And we have an ever-present support system that never fails you. So, do we need to know God? Absolutely! Irrefutably! But guess what? That is just my very subjective and personal experience of God. You have yours and it can be entirely different. And there’s no right or wrong. Here’s why….

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It’s interesting. I just checked with our local public library database and all copies of this book are out on loan. None available. Question: Why the interest?

In this intriguing book, Chopra writes about the brain and its seven basic responses and how we experience God at each of them. He breaks it further down to the 7 basic levels from which we conduct our life. The thing is God exists for us no matter where we are – struggling with the basic necessities or an enlightened soul in a cave. If you look down the page, you will see the 7 levels excerpted from the book. Which level are we? How do we experience God? No right, no wrong. The experience of God is due to the way our brains have created it and this in turn is in response to what our lives are like at the moment. I guess you could boil it down to the usual stimuli-response phenomenon thus making the experience a very subjective one. Which is why we counsellors would never argue with our clients’ perception of God as such.

I am also very intrigued by how the author seems to have framed the seven levels within the chakra system. Level 1 is similar to a pre-occupation with issues associated with the Muladhara Chakra, the chakra most active when we are concerned with the basics necessities of life – security, finance, and job. It’s almost like the lowest level in Maslow’s hierarchy, isn’t it? Which could explain why the poorest of the poor might likely experience God as someone who provides or withholds. It’s again back to a stimuli-response process. That’s really fascinating. Frankly, I find myself reading this book a second time because I feel there’s so much more to it than meets the eye.

I ask: Can we transcend the 7 levels in one lifetime and if so, what will it take? Can we create a new life-enhancing reality at each level using the imaginary powers of our minds? So that at each level, we live it, transcend it and move up the ascension ladder? Can we transcend the levels of Maslow’s Hierarchy to reach Self-Actualisation at the very top in one lifetime? What about obstacles like heavy karma? Don’t we have to pay our dues? I mean, if we were born an Untouchable in India’s caste system right now, are we destined to live in a slum and meanwhile pray to appease a God who might give us a better life next time round? What about the Law of Attraction? Can someone in a slum actually visualise and think his way out of poverty? I’m not sure.

In a nutshell, this book says God is an experience in our brain, created through the process of neurons firing together to shape the experience. This is in response to the way we live our lives according to the following 7 basic responses.

Level 1 : Fight-or-Flight Response

The response that enables us to survive in the face of danger. We know God as we fulfil our life through family, community, a sense of belonging, and material comforts. It is a God we turn to because we need to survive.

Level 2 : Reactive Response

This is the brain’s creation of a personal identity. We know God as we fulfil our life through success, power, influence, status, and other ego satisfactions. It is a God who has power and might, laws and rules. This is a God we turn to when we want to achieve, accomplish and compete.

Level 3 : Restful Awareness Response

This is the brain’s response when it wants peace. We know God as we fulfil our life through insight, empathy, tolerance, and forgiveness. It is a God who offers peace and in whom we trust that we would not be swallowed up in the world’s turmoil.

Level 4 : Intuitive Response

We rely on our ability to know ourselves from the inside out. We know God as we fulfil our life through insight, empathy, tolerance, and forgiveness. It is a God who is understanding and forgiving and validates that we are innately good.

Level 5 : Creative Response

The human brain can invent new things and discover new facts. We know God as we fulfil our life through inspiration, expanded creativity in art or science, and unlimited discovery. It is a God whom we see as the ultimate Creator of all the beauty and complexity we see around us.

Level 6 : Visionary Response

The brain can directly contact “the light”, a form of pure awareness that feels joyful and blessed. We know God as we fulfil our life through reverence, compassion, devoted service, and universal love. It is a God that fills us with wonder and allows us to believe that magic can exist alongside mundane reality.

Level 7 : Sacred Response

The brain was born from a single fertilised cell that thad no brain functions in it, only a speck of life. We know God as we fulfil our life through wholeness and unity with the divine. It is a God that is pure being, one that just is. The “I am that I am.”

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And that’s how our brain cause us to experience God in different ways. The crux is that we will always know God wherever we are in the scheme of things in one way or another. God is always there even if we didn’t acknowledge it as such. There’s never a moment when we don’t know God.

~ ॐ ~

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