I have a saying:
“God is livingness in life.”
It seems to me that we all feel a ‘livingness’ in life, that we ‘live’ and that the world ‘lives’. By this ‘livingness’ I mean that existence ‘moves’ and is ‘active’. This ‘livingness’ is about us and in all things. I often call this ‘living existence’. In reality, this ‘living existence’ is nothing but a sense of god. This, then, is the origin of my saying.
It seems that the experiencing of ‘livingness’ is a major thing in life. In many ways, only by experiencing the ‘livingness’ in life do we live and be happy. This makes the experiencing of ‘livingness’ (that is, of god) a major issue in life. As a result, we should seek to experience and be aware of this ‘livingness’.
This ‘livingness’ is associated with other traits and qualities:
- A ‘life’ within us.
- A ‘life’ without us.
- A sense of ‘awesomeness’ at life and creation.
- A sense of mystery about it all.
- A sense of fear about its power.
- A growing and a developing.
These are all qualities associated with “god”.
It’s not uncommon for ‘livingness’ to not necessarily be acknowledged or associated with ‘god’. Oftentimes, it is not but we all refer to it in some way. Many people speak of “god”, through the various forms of ‘livingness’, and don’t even know it. This is usually because it does not fit their ‘image’ of god or because they are only describing a ‘trait’ or a quality of life, which may seem like a detail. But it is all part of a greater picture, the great picture of the ‘fact of living in existence’. This fact, to me, is the same as the ‘fact of god’.
Just as there is a ‘living existence’ so is there a ‘dead existence’, which is an awareness of existence without the ‘life’ in it. To me, it’s generally a sign of a crisis for my observation is that anyone that is happy, alive, and living is experiencing ‘livingness’ in some way or another. ‘Dead existence’ often comes as a means for growth, but sometimes a person can get stuck in it, like in a tar pit, and can have great difficulty getting out.
It seems to me that ‘livingness’ seems rooted in the sense of something-about-us. In other words, its associated with the fact that we sense I-as-existing in the I-in-the-world. It, therefore, describes a relationship between ourselves and existence. This would make sense, as isn’t a ‘living’ a relationship between us and the world? To live we must be IN the something-about-us. This requires an awareness of the something-about-us. Truly, acknowledging of its existence is a good thing. But this acknowledgement has different depths and levels. It seems that a person grows and develops in the awareness and acknowledgement of the something-about-us. As this grows and develops so does are awareness of ‘livingness’ and, according, the awareness of god.
But the something-about-us can’t just be my knowledge of where I’m at and what’s about me. It must be deeper. This “deeper” side is part of the mystery of ‘livingness’.
The ‘livingness’ is not a sense of the material world, of objects, of matter. It is an awareness of the ‘life’ or ‘movement’ that is about us. In a way, it’s a sense of the ‘energy’ that is about us. In this way, it shows two forms of awareness of existence:
- Awareness of matter and material objects.
- Awareness of ‘life’ and ‘energy’ – ‘livingness’.
The awareness of matter and material objects is easy . . . just reach out and touch it. But the awareness of ‘livingness’ is not so easy. One cannot ‘touch’ it. One cannot ’embrace’ it. This is part of what makes this ‘deep’ and mysterious. There are ways to ‘touch’ it, though, which include:
- Experience. This refers to the ‘doing’ of things.
- Representation. This refers to having beliefs, ideas, concepts, about it.
- Being aware of it. This refers to just being aware of it.
These, though, are still not enough to ’embrace’ it. There seems more to ‘livingness’ than that. Though a person may do all these a person can ‘miss’ it altogether. This suggests that a specific aspect of ones self is required. It seems that these qualities are needed:
- A “standing back”. That is, a looking at things from a distance.
- An “openness”. This means a willingness to ‘let things happen’.
Both of these seem to entail a ‘removing of oneself from oneself’. It shows a strange quality of how the self actually interferes with ‘living’ and can put a damper on it. The self, the ego, interferes with ‘livingness’. The fact is this: the self strangles ‘livingness’. Because of this, the ability to ‘remove oneself from oneself’ is a big requirement for embracing ‘livingness’. It shows how we need to ‘forget’ oneself. By ‘forgetting’ oneself we more fully place oneself in the something-about-us and can feel the ‘livingness’ better.
When we ‘forget’ ourselves we place the that-which-is-not-us first. This can manifest itself in something like a spectrum, from mild to extreme, from a simple focusing-on-something-else to an extreme form of self-denial. In all cases, the “I” tends to fade and take a back seat. In many cases, we literally lose a sense that we’re even there. Often, when we are the happiest and fill the most ‘alive’ we have a complete loss of sense of self, completely absorbed in whatever we are doing.
But ‘forgetting oneself’ too much can be a bad thing. We need to complement it with a sense of self: beingness. ‘Livingness’, it seems to me, tends to be the opposite of beingness. This is because beingness entails a sense of oneself-in-the-world: it involves a strong sense of “I”, which ‘livingness’ lacks. In reality, a person needs moments of ‘livingness’ mixed in with moments of ‘beingness’. This is to keep like a balance in oneself. This makes ‘livingness’ and beingness like two sides of the same coin, creating a balancing act much like:
‘livingness’ (the ‘forgetting’ of oneself) – – – – – – – beingness (awareness of oneself)
A ‘sense of god’ generally entails the development of not just one, but both of these qualities.
Experiencing ‘livingness’ makes it so that “god” is sensed as a ‘living thing’. He is ‘alive’. This is because he is. Existence is ‘alive’. It is ‘moving’ and ‘active’. It is doing, changing, and becoming all around us. Truly, existence – god – is alive and living. It has an energy within it.
Nowadays, we tend to forget this ‘livingness’ that is part of the sense of god. We are too busy analyzing or worrying about the ‘image’ of god to know it. But what use is an ‘image’ of god when it has no ‘life’? Is it worth anything at all? I don’t think so. This is why a person, I think, should review their ‘image’ of god . . . and regularly . . . and ask this question: Does my ‘image’ have any ‘life’? If it doesn’t then maybe we should try to find it before we do anything else? . . .
‘Livingness’ seems like it is something that is sought . . . one seeks it . . . and one is ALWAYS seeking it. ‘Livingness’ must continually be discovered as an ongoing endless process. To experience it and cease looking will make it fade and grow stale and slowly die. In many ways, the continual rediscovery is its most powerful quality of ‘living’, of its ‘aliveness’.
I tend to feel that ‘livingness’ is like the seasons: it is an alternation of summer sunshiny days with cold wintry days. In other words, ‘livingness’ alternates with some form of conflict. It’s a perpetual cycle of living-dying-living-dying that goes on and on all our life. This means that a part of ‘livingness’ is the embracing of pain and conflict. This may seem to contradict it but, without it, there is no ‘livingness’. The pain and conflict of life “makes” the ‘livingness’ real and relevent. I speak of this as the ‘livingness cycle’. And so, to embrace ‘livingness’ one must also embrace pain and conflict.
Pain and conflict also brings out the deep inner aspects of oneself. Sometimes, it can be like a doorway to ones innermost elements. This makes it so that the ‘livingness cycle’ tends to revolve around the entire and whole person. It, in a way, makes us “whole”. This, in turn, helps create a sense of ‘beingness’, the other side of ‘livingness’, a sense of oneself-in-existence.
The experience of ‘livingness’ entails much of the experience of life, I think, and sort of brings it all together. It includes things like the something-about-us to the ‘forgetting’ of oneself to beingness to pain and conflict. All these contribute to a sense of ‘living existence’ or god.