The doom of man in a religious setting is that He cannot get God to do something for him. He probably seeks security because life ain't easy and because the world does not always give us a safe spot to live in. And it is common to get to seek God especially at the point where we are at the end of our rope. When we are genuinely happy we desire to keep things as they are, not add something to it.
It is my experience as a christian believer that God is active - only that it is required for myself to have a sincere and worthwhile plea that God can make true.
I can given an example ... years ago I often had this little wish that I could have a happy and great moment with a child. I envisioned that I would walk past a child, he would sing a tune and I would chime in as a grown up singing with him, and we would both be happy. Then sometime later I was on holiday in the mountains for wandering with a church group. It was a sunny day and I happened to walk down a street in a village when I overtook a group of children that was going wandering too. There was a boy walking before me, and he sang, "I believe I can fly". I know this song and like it too, and when I heard the young boy sing it, I chimed in and also sag the song, loudly. The boy turned around and greeted me with a sincerely happily surprised smile, and we both sang the song together.
Today I think this was something that my God arranged. It is a precious jewel in my memories and it still gladdens me to think of it.
In this incident, and others that are similar, it can be seen that God and how we can approach him cannot simply be described as it being a passive or active thing. I mean, when I sit here and pray for God to lift my spirit, it may be that God wants from me to stand up and go outside into town and walk around. I might meet someone or see something that would cheer me up. But neither is it the case that I must always DO something to have God. I don't always have to engage in something special that would draw God's things to me. The key is prayer-infused action. I have to act, but in the same time I must watch out. And I don't watch out like I usually do, I have to search somehow. I have to knock repeatedly. I have to wait with expectation and yet also with the flexibility to allow God's coming to me against how I would expect His coming. I have answered prayers like the one with the boy above that meet my own dreams and I have those that seem to come from God's own dreams.
I must be able to receive. I must be able to wait patiently. I must be willing to rise and go there for some things. What I require is both prudence and courage.
Like I found earlier, it is not always good to consider God to be a God. I mean, there are many so-called deities in the world. Allah, Yahweh, Krishna, Brahma, Thor, Zeus, Manitou, etc. The real "God" is not a God like these entities are God. The real God is the Spirit. It is important to see cosmic nature in God. This Cosmos here was not created by a word but it was born by God. The Cosmos and God are one, it is like God is such a part of the Cosmos that He can sail away from it to do something different somewhere else, and by this He is spreading the Cosmos, birthing new parts of it. And then God also moves within His cosmos, from here to there, there to here. And He does not move, He is there or He is not there ... and in fact at least His shadow is always there. To compare Spirit to Space is impossible. How can Spirit move through space? And yet Spirit can be present. Man actually requires the Spirit to be wrapped up like a presence, like in my example when I met the singing boy. Humans don't understand what pure Spirit is. Spirit always has a will, a sense of doing something. God is creative.
I need to become free like Jesus. The barriers are removed, instead of being a servant of God I am His child, able and willing to be a good person, but not required to slave for God. I am supposed to be a peace. A spirit-filled person for whom doing the things of God, when they are needed, becomes natural, someone for whom the Spirit is something that I understand. I am not too deep in my understanding. I hear the wind and I still don't quite know where he is coming from and where he is going. Like Nicodemus I don't quite understand how I am supposed to become born again. But I do have traces now. I feel spirit when I listen to certain musics, when I feel certain athmospheres, when I dare to be free despite the things of the world. I still have issues with freedom vs love. I know that freedom becomes silly if I ignore love. That's wisdom. But who said I would easily be wise. Love is as daring an adventure as freedom. And one needs spirit to love in a way that does not trigger the impulse to run off. Unspiritual love is not very fulfilling. It is like loving a woman that wants intercourse, but no talk and no kisses. This is where I believe the water comes in. Spirit allows the free love and water allows the humility. Water washes off dirt. It is pure and beautiful, and yet it doesn't mind to become dirty if this is the necessity now. It doesn't hurt the water to be dirty.
People do not want to work when it becomes painful. When people say, they love to do what they are doing and that they hate to do this or that, they mean to say that xyz does or does not give them a good feeling when they do it. Either immediately, or, when they are disciplined, after a while. Sometimes nothing can be more interesting than doing laundry. When the morning started off well, if the radio is playing a good tune, if another person is close that works too, if "you get into the mood" for doing it. Work is not always like carrying a bag of coals to China per foot. Work is spiritual too. But the good feeling is a necessity, or we can't do it right.
That is where I think, for me, art comes in. My means to take my spirit with me and to keep being spiritual even in activities that I don't enjoy, like cleaning the bath here. Art, spirit, allow me to do something with different eyes. I am stuck into happenings. I am stuck deep inside of them, but as they really are, in the spirit, not as they appear to be from a primitive view. Work is hateful when looking at it from the primitive POV. Sleeping is much better. But work from a spiritual POV, provided it is sensible work and no slaving, is meaningful. When meaning comes, it is like Jesus comes in and gives me flesh and blood so I have a body that can endure to do work. And what Jesus does is a kind of art, He gives meaning to things. God is sane and omniscient, and that means He always sees the best. He knows the future, the grand summit of souls that all praise life and the cosmos, the song of the spirit that does not merely vegetate but who is alive and sees and listens and sighs and laughs. Work must be a lively thing. I have the image of negroes slaving on a farm and singing, "we shall overcome". I have the image of a poor lady doing laundry and singing, "As time goes by" while she is lining up the wet clothes. One mission of Jesus is to enable us to spiritualize life. And in these things, the aim is not to glorify God somehow but to let God in us glorify other things.
The suffering of religious people comes when they disallow God to glorify other things than God. This is something that happens frequently in christianity, islam and judaism. God seems to be so deserving for glory that everything but God is seen as a desert. But if there is one person on this planet who is receiving the most praise from people, it is God. Yet, whom or what does God praise? Is God the constant attention to Himself, to work, to slaving, to doing, or is He also the dream, the song, the joy of being free? Hindus say God is breathing in all things. The bit of christianity is, you can talk with this God, you can ask Him something, you can be with this God in a special way. This is why I perceive that the christian cultures (not specifically christians, but the christian culture circles), made the best art. (I am saying this from the POV of someone who is not too well versed in art, it's an ad hoc statement, I was thinking of Goethe, Rilke, Else Lasker Schüler, Beethoven, etc. From this POV there is also something I'd call christian atheism. It's more cultural than religious, although religion always plays a role as a frequent object of thought. Like, Nietzsche was nothing important without his thoughts about how to do better than christianity.) The idea of bread and wine. Wind. A window. Roses. Graveyards. A frigate on the sea. A colorful coat. Rapiers. Signet rings. Radios. White plates. Kitchen. Couches with men taking an afternoon nap. Sunday morning in a village, with church bells. Brooks. Picnics in forrests. Museums, Factories. Mayors, teachers, pastors and drunkards. Beggars. Pizza. Motorbikes. Chewing gum. Rock'n Roll. For Elise. Universities. Youth. Hospitals. Heart disease. Cigarettes. Medicine. Pain. Joy. Spacetravel. Science Fiction. Theaters. The east is different. Peace. Father. The dove. Horses. Oil lamps. Heat. Sand. Olives. Palm wine. Camels. Lemonade cans. Muezzins. Caves. White bread. Market places. Ramadan. Cold nights. Starlit skies in the desert. Lovely names for children. Fireplaces. Tents. Motorbikes on long and dusty roads. Thirst. Bakhshisch. Derwishes. Rumi. Averroes. And further east it is different again, until over Japan you reach America and enter the west again. And then north and south. East, West, North, South are spiritual differences. There are realms associated with them. Realms of life, I would say.
Tomorrow I will write more about these things.