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Excerpted from How to Know God  by Deepak Chopra. Copyright © 1999 by Deepak Chopra. Excerpted by permission of Harmony, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.  HTML and web pages copyright © by SpiritSite.com.
 


"Peel away all the layers of an onion, and at the center you will find emptiness; peel away all the layers of a human being, and at the center you will find the seed of God."

Deepak Chopra, How to Know God, Part 5

These seven responses, all very real and useful to us in our long journey as a species, form the unshakable basis of religion. If you compare any two minds -- Moses or Buddha, Jesus or Freud, Saint Francis or Chairman Mao -- each projects a different view of reality with a matching God. No one can shoehorn God into a single box. We must have a range of vision as vast as human experience itself. Atheists need their God, who is absent and nonexistent, while at the other extreme mystics need their God, one of pure love and light. Only the brain can deliver this vast range of deities.

You might immediately object that the human mind creates these versions of God, not just the brain. I absolutely agree -- in the long run the mind is much more primary than the brain in creating all perception. But for now the brain is our only concrete way of entering the mind. In cartoons a lightbulb shows up over somebody's head when he has a bright idea; this isn't so in real life. The mind without the brain is as invisible and unprovable as God.

Also, you might argue that just because God is seen in a certain way by us, that doesn't mean he is that way. I don't believe this is black or white. God's reality doesn't stand apart from our perceptions but is woven into them. A mother can see her newborn child as wonderful and worthy, and through her perception that baby grows up to become a wonderful, worthy person. This is one of the mysteries of love. A subtle give-and-take is going on at the deepest level between parent and child. In the same way God seems to grow directly out of our deepest inner values. There is a similar give-and-take below the level of mere belief. Peel away all the layers of an onion, and at the center you will find emptiness; peel away all the layers of a human being, and at the center you will find the seed of God.

I believe that God has to be known by looking in the mirror.

If you see yourself in fear, barely holding on with survival at stake, yours is a God of fight or flight.

If you see yourself as capable of power and accomplishment, yours is a God of the reactive response.

If you see yourself as centered and calm, yours is a God of the restful awareness response.

If you see yourself as growing and evolving, yours is a God of the intuitive response.

If you see yourself as someone who makes personal dreams come true, yours is a God of the creative response.

If you see yourself as capable of working miracles, yours is a God of the visionary response.

If you see yourself as one with God, yours is a God of the sacred response.

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