Chapter 7. CONSCIOUSNESS AS GOD
To many, the statement "I am God" rings of blasphemy. God, according to conventional religion, is the supreme deity, the almighty eternal omniscient creator. How can any lowly human being claim that he or she is God?
When the fourteenth-century Christian priest and mystic Meister Eckhart preached that "God and I are One" he was brought before Pope John XXII and forced to "recant everything that he had falsely taught." Others suffered a worse fate. The tenth-century Islamic mystic al-Hallãj was crucified for using language that claimed an identity with God.
Yet when mystics say "I am God," or words to that effect, they are not talking of an individual person. Their inner explorations have revealed the true nature of the self, and it is this that they identify with God. They are claiming that the essence of self, the sense of "I am" without any personal attributes, is God.
The contemporary scholar and mystic Thomas Merton put it very clearly:
If I penetrate to the depths of my own existence and my own present reality, the indefinable am that is myself in its deepest roots, then through this deep center I pass into the infinite I am which is the very Name of the Almighty.
"I am" is one of the Hebrew names of God, Yahweh. Derived from the Hebrew YHWH, the unspeakable name of God, it is often translated as "I AM THAT I AM."
Similar claims appear in Eastern traditions. The great Indian sage Sri Ramana Maharshi said:
"I am" is the name of God… God is none other than the Self.
In the twelfth century, Ibn-Al-Arabi, one of the most revered Sufi mystics, wrote:
If thou knowest thine own self, thou knowest God.
Shankara, the eight-century Indian saint, whose insights revitalized Hindu teachings, said of his own enlightenment:
I am Brahman… I dwell within all beings as the soul, the pure consciousness, the ground of all phenomena... In the days of my ignorance, I used to think of these as being separate from myself. Now I know that I am All.
This sheds new light on the Biblical injunction "Be still, and know that I am God." I do not believe it means:: "Stop fidgeting around and recognize that the person who is speaking to you is the almighty God of all creation." It makes much more sense as an encouragement to still the mind, and know, not as an intellectual understanding but as a direct realization, that the "I am" that is your essential self, the pure consciousness that lies behind all experience, is God.
This concept of God is not of a separate superior being, existing in some other realm, overlooking human affairs and loving or judging us according to our deeds. God is in each and every one of us, the most intimate and undeniable aspect of ourselves. God is the light of consciousness that shines in every mind.
I Am the Truth
Identifying God with the light of consciousness brings new meaning and significance to many traditional descriptions of God.
Whatever is taking place in my mind, whatever I may be thinking, believing, feeling or sensing, the one thing I cannot doubt is consciousness. Consciousness is my only absolute, unquestionable truth. If the faculty of consciousness is God, then God is the truth.
The same applies to other people. The only thing I do not doubt about you is that you are conscious and have your own interior world of experience. I can doubt your physical form–indeed, modern physics tells me there is nothing really there, no material thing, that is. All that I perceive of you is a projection in my mind. I can doubt what you say. I can doubt your thoughts and feelings. But I do not doubt that "in there" is another conscious being like myself.
Like God, consciousness is omnipresent. Whatever our experience, consciousness is always there. It is eternal, everlasting.
God is omniscient, all-knowing. So too, consciousness is the essence and source of all our knowing. It lies behind all understanding.
God is the creator. Everything in our world, everything we see, hear, taste, smell, and touch; every thought, feeling, fantasy, intimation, hope, and fear; it is all a form that consciousness has taken on. Everything has been created in consciousness from consciousness. I, the light of consciousness, am the creator.
I am the God of my universe. And you are the God of yours.
God is Almighty. What greater power is there than the power of consciousness to appear as the myriad of forms we experience, everything in the world we see, hear, taste. touch and smell. [...]
The remainder of this incredible text, as well as all additional portions of his book (and other works), are available on his website via http://www.peterrussell.com/SG/Ch7.php