searching for the God within just an excuse for narcissism?
believe that if our search for the God within becomes narcissism,
the seeker has somehow gotten off the track. I surely recognize,
however, that the self has an uncanny knack for getting in the
way. Yet I also believe that God yearns for us, yearns for us
even more urgently than we yearn for God, that God desires to
dwell within us, in our hearts, our minds, our very soul. I believe
that God wants to be known by us in these depths. So in this
sense, to seek God within our own selves, within our own depths,
is to seek God where God most wants to be found.
how can we do this then, without stumbling over ourselves, our
needs, our pride, our ego? I offer a few suggestions and invite
you to try them out. One way would be to begin with trying to
name a particular need or a particular secret pride and then
to imagine a dialogue between that need or that pride and Jesus,
who knows how hard it can be to live as a human.
could go something like this: "Friend Jesus, I seem to be caught
between two sides of a battle inside myself. Either I feel so
inadequate and so weak that I can't seem to stand up for anything
or do anything of consequence. Or else, when I feel more certain
of myself, then I become proud, as if all my strength is my own
creation. So I'm constantly tossed back and forth between these
two extremes, and each one is just as painful as the other. How
can I escape this tyranny of my own extremes?"
I often like to pray to the Spirit of God. That dialogue might
go something like this: Spirit of God, I know that you are everywhere;
thank You for also finding a dwelling place in me. And since
You are in me, help me to know You there and help me to know
myself. Help me, please, to honor your indwelling, and help me
also to honor the strengths You give to me and not to claim them
as my own, but to recognize You as their source and sustainer.
Please, never let me take the credit that belongs to You. Yet
at the same time, help me to love myself as your creation. Make
me an instrument, strong and supple, in your hands, and may I
feel great joy and blessing in doing your work through my life.
is an over-indulging love for ourselves. In searching for
God within us, it is God we seek to find,
and with God, to enter into dialogue. And when we lose sight
of this is when we've gotten off the track, Look honestly
and deeply for the God within, and pray to that God that
you not be led by your own ego. Listen for what God's response
to you may be, for what God's needs of you might be, God's
hopes and desires for you. The indwelling God is real, and
is longing for you to discover the signs and wisdom of his
presence within you. Listen, and you will hear.
Rev. Margaret B. Gunness
can one go within oneself to find God? Isn't that just a glorification
of the ego? I believe not. I believe that going within one's
own being is a path to finding God.
a child and well into adulthood, I believed that God, like a
loving father, was "out there" above and beyond our
world—all knowing, judgmental, yet caring. "He" was
accessible by prayer. Through prayer, God would look over us,
take care of us and guide our lives, if we but ask.
mid-adulthood I could no longer experience God in this anthropomorphic male
image. I struggled, but through meditation and study, I came
to experience God as the vital loving force, the primary energy
of all creation. God is in
all things. God connects all of life. This means God is within me. It means
God is within every human I meet. We are connected in a profound way, but all
too often we ignore or never establish that connection. The stories of the
Bible and other world religions are metaphors and guides to help us understand
search for God within is an effort to align myself with the loving
force of reality, which I believe can only occur at a deeply
personal level. If
I connect with God within, I am connecting to all of life in
a spiritual dimension beyond material explanation.
With this intent, going within does not lead to glorification
of one's own ego in narcissistic contemplation. This would be
impossible. Rather it promotes community, connection to others,
and a sense of oneness with God.
suppose searching for God within could be an excuse for narcissism
if a person looked only inward, focusing solely on personal experience.
But I believe we often discover God's presence in our lives when
we stop to reflect on the events of our lives and our relationships
with others. When that happens, we are not "admiring our
own image," but awed by a new awareness of ourselves and
how God loves us.
say that God is in us is to say, really, that God operates through
us. As C.S. Lewis said, "We are the fingers, muscles and
cells of His body."
search for God includes our prayer that He relieve us of our