God is both personal and impersonal.
In my mid to late 20s, I began studying Tai Chi after meeting a world-renowned Tai Chi master at an international fitness conference. I had the privilege of studying under him for a period of time. Since Tai Chi is considered moving meditation and is attributed to ancient Taoist monks, our conversations often veered into the arena of spirituality.
At this point in my life, I had recently emerged out of my agnostic phase and was finding newfound enthusiasm for the progressive theology of contemporary Methodism. My Tai Chi teacher and I were discussing the concept of God and met an interesting sticking point. I was claiming a personal relationship with God. My teacher said to me, somewhat baffled, “I will never understand why some people feel it necessary to believe in a personal God.” I thought, “What is the point of believing in God if God is not personal?”
I now see it both ways.
God is impersonal in the sense that God is otherness greater than me and my ability to comprehend God’s Godness as the Force, Source, and Unity of all things good, right, and life-affirming. This is the part of me that recognizes the microbic scale of my life on the small end of the telescope while peering into the vast, inexplicable nature of Ultimate Reality on the other side.
God is personal in the sense that God is part of my existential DNA. As an individual member of a sentient species, I can live in awareness and harmony with God or remain mired in the trappings of my egoistic mind that thwarts unity with God. Essentially, I have the ability to have a relationship with this Force, Source and Unity. Or not. This is living in the clarity of awareness on the side of the large lens of the telescope, whereby your life on earth is not insignificant but scaled to the Whole. There is peace in this place.
Learn more about David Dorian Ross, who inspired me through Tai Chi and initiated a ripple effect that changed my life by teaching me mediation through movement.
This blog piece is an excerpt from Chapter 1: Confessions of an American None: A Credo of Sorts.