Thursday 21 June 2007

In the Image of God

This morning I have found myself on several blogs dealing with the more painful sides of Life - death, war, illness, pain, abuse. Last night I was talking with family about someone we know who made his son cry from stress this week. It triggered another old story memory for me. Someone I love once told me how she tried to shoot her father. In respect of her personal privacy I will say nothing more, except for one thing - her story didn't shock me. For some reason I have never been shocked by what people tell me. I've felt grief for the person, frustration at not being able to help, anger and rage often, but never shock. Not once, not ever, and I've heard both horrific and amazingly strange stories over my life.

Since I've never been shocked it is hard to understand why certain things shock others. I suppose it's rather like being blind and listening to other people complaining about how they hate a certain colour.

On "Remedial Rumination" HollyGL called them "Brutal Truths". I replied:

What truly staggers me is the fact that humans create beauty out of their brutal truths. I suspect we may be the only animal on this planet that does that. Other animals survive and move on, but only humans take those experiences and use them to Create.. is this perhaps how we are made in the image of God?

It felt like a small lightbulb moment writing that this morning. There is always Beauty. Is it because I'm always more amazed at the beauty within each story that I never have time to feel shock? I really don't know. I do know that no matter how appalling the past might have been people find ways to use their suffering to create beauty. It might be something grand and famous or it could go completely unnoticed by the outside world. It could be a painting, a book, a symphony.. or it might be a more compassionate heart, an ability to comfort others or a soul that stands strong.

The girl who almost shot her father grew up. She took her past and created herself from it. Not "pretty", not unflawed - but Beautiful. She is heart beautiful. Soul beautiful.

There is a word derived from ancient Sanskrit - Namaste. It is used as a greeting. In it's most simplest translation it is "I bow to you" or "I bow to God with you", but there are other translations of this subtle word.

Wikipedia gives this one, which I prefer:

"I honor the place in you in which the entire Universe dwells, I honor the place in you which is of Love, of Truth, of Light and of Peace, When you are in that place in you, and I am in that place in me, we are One."

A centre within us where the Universe dwells. Love, Light, Truth and Peace that can be scarred, damaged and dented, but never completely destroyed. That is the Beauty. That is how we are made in the image of God.

For today and every day - Namaste!


  1. Mortimer J. Adler (1902-2001), was a philosopher. He used to be the Chairman of the Board of Editors of Encyclopedia Britannica and the author of many books including 'Aristotle for Everyone', 'How to Read a Book', and 'How to Think About God'. Incidentally, He became a Christian (Roman Catholic) late in life.

    Although I listed 'How to Think About God' above, he had another work which I think is more relevant to this blog: 'Six Great Ideas'. The ideas are: Truth, Goodness, Beauty, Liberty, Equality, and Justice.

    I am reminded of this book because that's what Namaste communicates to me: ideas. The great and wonderful mystery is this: How do we know that there is a place 'of Love, of Truth, of Light and of Peace' in us? Furthermore, when we sense that we are in this place, are we merely approaching this place? Perhaps we are only experiencing a tiny speck of what is possible! We sense that 'we are One', but is there more to it that exceeds our ability to comprehend?

    To me, becoming One is not the goal or the destination. It is the point from which we can truly start living. I am a Christian myself and I see this wisdom in the scriptures. I included some verses in here, not to proselytize, but to draw attention to the theme of being created in the image of God and realizing unity with fellow creatures.

    - "I came that they may have life and have it abundantly." This speaks to me of the idea that unity is the beginning. Unity gives us life so that we may truly begin living.

    - "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus." Such unity is expressed here that there is no distinction due to the roles or positions we may have.

    - "I therefore [...] urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace." There is a purpose to our unity for which we may need a reminder. It never hurts to have one anyway!

    - "Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one." This is one of many verses that tells me that unity is not my achievement. Rather, only God can draw and keep me.

    - "No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him." This is another one about God drawing me to Himself.

    - "In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you." If this isn't Oneness, I don't know what is! (I won't get into what 'In that day' means.)

    - "If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him." Home is where the heart is!

    - "Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind." I include this verse to emphasize the common characteristics of unity or Oneness. I also like the concluding word as I end this comment.

    That place in us may be the Universe, but perhaps it's more, much more! Perhaps the Universe is merely a created thing, however vast and mysterious, like plants, animals, and weather. Perhaps the image of God is God Himself who wishes to dwell in us if only we would let ourselves be drawn to Him. Notice that humility is a key ingredient. Why? We cannot force our way into this place Namaste references. Love cannot be forced, nor can peace. It makes sense. Most of all, perhaps this is where life really begins. Isn't that a wonderful idea?

  2. Simply. Michelle, Namaste!!!

  3. Hi Dwight

    Thank you for taking the time to reply so thoroughly.



  4. WOW, M!!!

    I'm shocked that you were never shocked about anything he he he...

    Love this post! :-))) Esp. about "soul beautiful" part. *grin*

  5. I have belived, for most of my life, that we are actually - literal - pieces of God. Of Divinity and Spirit. A lot of us just don't realize it.

    Very nice post, Michelle.

  6. Lately I find I have a conflict between the admiration I often feel for individual human beings and what we're collectively doing to each other and the planet. Unless we figure out the good governance thing, and in pretty short order, I think there's real trouble ahead and on a very large scale.

  7. Amel

    Thank you. :-) You know, I thought about it and I can remember being shocked once - our newspaper printed the photo of a dead mother and child (car accident). The fact that they would print that shocked me, so I was wrong with the "never, ever", but I can't remember anything else hitting me like that photo did. I'm weird? :-P hee hee

    Hi Hollygl

    Thank you and - yes, me too. :-)

    Hi Paul
    Oh, that is a tough one! That could be an entire blog, never mind on small reply. Ok, very short version reply.

    I suppose I tend to focus on the small miracles and.. hope. Not blind optimism, just hope and trust. Since we aren't the superior life form (in my opinion) that we think we are I trust that something more superior to us is watching over the future of this planet.

  8. They say no one is truly evil... It's a good thought indeed..

  9. Wow, I don't know how to respond to this post, but I feel something.

    the thing is, I also beleive in creativity in animals and I can't single us out. I think they do learn from their pain and suffering, and probably quicker than we, as humans do. I'm not sure if ruminating on our past is a blessing or a curse. Especially as I see history repeated so often.

  10. Hi Shan

    It is a good thought. :-)

    Hi Victorya

    Words are frustrating aren't they? Feelings are too big for words. Every time I write a blog entry I go back to read and feel a bit frustrated. I never quite get what I feel into words. Words are too "tight", feelings are more.. oozy and blurry? LOL

    Yeah, I don't think going over and over the past is healthy. I do believe animals are superior to us in that respoct. I also believe in free will, which means we have the choice - do we keep repeating the past or do we learn from it?

    In January this year I was very honoured to have someone do a shamanic healing for me. She cleared up a very ancient "wound" that had rippled down through generations. At the time she said I'd been the one to say "no, it stops here." which was why I felt it the most.

    Now, that is a very esoteric way of explaining repeating history. A more mainstream way would be to say that one part of my family tree tended to keep repeating (painful) past mistakes. I wasn't the first to fight against it. I just am the first to talk about it. Maybe there's the key? Literally? You cannot get rid of the past if you lock it away inside you.. or your family. You have to unlock that door, let it out. Only then can you go on without it dragging along as a burden to everyone? Maybe! :-)

  11. So you got shocked once only? Still it's INCREDIBLE! :-D

    Nope, you're not weird. Unique. I think if we want to use the term "weird", then everybody's weird in his/her own way he he...but I like "unique" as it has more positive connotations he he he...

    Namaste! :-D

  12. LOL

    I like "unique" better too.

  13. Great post Michelle - I would imagine that (maybe) you have never been shocked because you accept human nature and life for what it is - beautiful and brutal at the same time. I have a lot of thoughts on this, but can't find the words to reply right now - you've said it very well though. That ability to create art from adversity is an integral part of the mystery of being human, I think. Being human is somehow mysterious isn't it? Maybe that's why good art has such drawing power.

  14. Hi Jacques

    beautiful and brutal.. very well said.

    It reminded me too how we can watch something seemingly "brutal", like an eagle hunting, and still see the beauty? Ah, you got me thinking now! Thanks.



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