'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.'
Jesus - Matthew 22:37
As always, we must keep in the forefront of our mind that when Jesus spoke these words, quoting Deuteronomy 6:5 ( among others ), He was speaking to the Jews in the first century AD. This 'Lord' ( Hebrew - Yĕhovah; Greek - kyrios ) was THEIR 'God'! 'He' was the product of their imagination, how they perceived the Giver of Life, the Source, the Divinity! Many different cultures see this 'God' in as many different ways ( even within certain cultures ), but all, or at least most, see 'God', along with 'Satan' as a powerful Being that watches from a distance & sometimes intervenes in the affairs of humankind. Christians have worshiped this 'God', the 'God' of the Hebrews, for ages. Some, like this blogger, might question 'Why?' Why DO we worship this 'God' rather than the 'God' of a different nation or culture? Sure, the Christian 'God', the 'God' of the New Testament at least, is a kind & merciful 'God'; 'He' is full of Wisdom. 'He', according to 'His' Word, is the One True & Living God! But why should we take 'His' Word for it? Is 'He' not simply an Aspect of, or the Hebrew perception of the Divinity?
Not to rail unduly against the Christian 'Trinity' ( for one, we've been there before & two, that's really not what this is about, though it certainly plays a part ), but its description, in essence, is 'Three Persons, One God'. Though there is some confusion about this 'Three Persons' thing ( some actually have wondered if 'Father, Son & Holy Spirit' ( or 'Ghost' ) are really three ( separate ) Gods ), this should be a glaring clue that 'They/He' are simply an invention of man, or humankind. ( I'm not arguing the fact, by the way, that these words, or concepts, ARE, in their Greek form anyway, found in the Bible, which is the English ( Western ) rendition of that piece of Ancient Near Eastern literature. ) The concept ( speaking of 'concepts' ) of 'the Trinity' does not originate with the Greek Scriptures; it was around long before they were ever conceived, in different cultures, used to explain their perception of 'God'. This is not, again, to try to discredit the 'God' of the Hebrews & Greeks ( the 'God' of the Bible ) or even to say that Christians are wrong in their perception of 'God' ( although, thinking of 'Him' as a 'Person' ( whether the 1st; 2nd or 3rd ) tends to get in the Way ); this is simply to say that, as long as you love 'your God' & 'your neighbor as yourself' ( Matthew 22:39 ); you're doing as you should!
The crux of the matter is what it looks like to love 'your God' & 'your neighbor as yourself''. Questions like, 'who IS your 'God'?' 'Who IS your neighbor?' come to mind here; what does it mean to 'love' them? Loving ones neighbor is fairly simple; once you figure out what is meant by 'neighbor', it's fairly easy, especially from a Christian standpoint, to realize that, as per the 'Ten Commandments', we shouldn't bear false witness against them, we shouldn't steal from or murder them ( there's that 'covet' thing too ) Basically, like Jesus also said, we should treat others as we would like to be treated. That pretty much covers it. If you don't want your 'neighbor' ( whatever your perception of that is ), to steal from you, don't steal from them. If you don't want them to bear false witness against you, tell the truth about them. Etcetera, etcetera. Loving your 'God', on the other hand, might be a different matter entirely! Or IS it?! Who, or What, IS your 'God'?! One simple explanation you might have is that 'it's what you worship'. Well, that would certainly be a good way to put it. Since the word 'worship' basically means 'to ascribe worth to', by extension, you might say that most, if not all Christians worship the Bible! There, I said it! But seriously, this could even extend to themselves! When one perceives themselves as 'worthy', they, in that sense ( if in that sense alone ) see themselves as their 'God', personally speaking!
Not to sound too much like a broken record, but even our own Bible tells us that we are 'Gods'! This is a Universal Truth, though it was originally aimed at the Judges of the Hebrews. 'How could you say that about a mere human being?' ' Glad you asked, because that's exactly why the Jews crucified Jesus! They couldn't believe that a human being ( as Jesus was ) could also be 'God'! We are Gods in the same way that Jesus was! ( I know, more blasphemy! ) We ARE human. yes, but we are More than that. In our inmost Being, we are of the same Divine Essence. Now, most people are so wrapped up in their own humanity, that they, as well as most others, cannot see any further than that, but to paraphrase an old TV show, 'the Truth is in there' ( US )!
Others have explained it much better & in greater detail, but the Truth is, that though we ARE all 'Gods' in our own right, many or most have failed to realize this, their true nature, simply because of conditioning. We have been taught, in most cases, from 'Day One', that we are primarily human beings; we have a spirit/soul, yes, but upon our demise, that spirit simply returns to its Maker. After that, who knows; 'it's up in the air'! Some, even, thanks to religion, have speculated that we just go 'poof'! The Mind/Ego plays its part as well. It likes to try to convince us that we should identify with IT & that's where we run into trouble. We start to think, 'that Person hurt me', 'they're telling lies about me', etcetera, etcetera. All they did, in actuality, though, was to bring perceived harm to our physical vehicle. When we identify with our physical vehicle, we naturally tend to respond in kind, even though there is usually, if not always, that 'still small voice' that says we shouldn't!
'Be still, and know that I [ am ] God'! This is only the first part of Psalm 46:10 & so may be said to have been taken out of context, but this too has stood for generations as a Universal Truth, though maybe in a different manner than most are used to thinking! Since we ARE 'Gods', in a manner of speaking, when we still our Mind/Ego & travel deep within ourselves, we will find that 'God' part of us. Moving beyond all of our conditioning/training, we will realize that all is not as we were taught! It will become clear that, not only are we NOT these physical vehicles ( though one might say we're inextricably linked ), the deeds done in the flesh, so to speak are due to the fact that we identify with the Person, with its Mind/Ego. To use an example that I've employed before, from the Hebrew Scriptures; 'So the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire [ is ] for you, but you should rule over it' ( Genesis 4:6 & 7 )We know, from the rest of the Story, that Cain did not 'rule over it' & thus murdered his brother because he let his Mind/Ego rule his physical vehicle!
We need to remember Who we are! Though we, personally speaking, will reap our own Karma, dependent on what we allow to transpire in our physical vehicle, realizing that we are More than our vehicle will help us to make better decisions/choices, leading to positive Karma ( we ALL reap what we sow! )! Who we really are cannot be altered! Our Mind may change, our physical body even changes over the course of the years, but the Divine Essence that is US can never change! We, again, personally speaking, make life-altering choices every day, but these choices are not what make us US. We are Who we are, not because of the decisions we've made with our Mind/Ego, but because we are a part of the Whole, the Divine Essence; 'God'-stuff, you might say!
Namaste & Blessed Be!
Charles Haddon Shank