With great respect and love, and with all my heart, I welcome you and invite you to open your heart to God's love, so that we may each participate in His great drama of One World * One God * Many Faces. Isn't that the kind of world that we all want? Of course, space photographs have shown us One World, a beautiful blue cloud-covered marble in space. From where we stand, however, we become painfully aware of injustice and hardship, and our hearts weep for this fragmented, dis-united world.
What does One God mean in such a world? Do God and religion cause war and hatred? Is their God to blame? Is your perspective of life or your way to worship God the only true way? Does all religion seem stale and empty to you? Or do you consider religion greedy?
I also wonder what you think about Many Faces? Do different faces frighten you? Do you limit your life to comfortable people? Have you ever thought that each person has a unique view of the face of God, seen only through that person's eyes?
This book is my story. It tells how I exposed my resistant heart to God and how God's grace has filled my life. I have benefitted from a Jewish home, from Unitarianism, from Lifespring and Est (both "New Age" courses), from the Baha'i Faith, from psychotherapy, from Siddha Yoga, from accepting Christ and from re-centering my life in Yoga.
It concerns me that people of God attack other faiths. Sometimes they attack a faith that I love. When people attack a faith, they may do it for the highest motive and out of loving concern, but their attacks (often based on incomplete knowledge) prevent those who are attacked from seriously considering a change of faith. This concerns me because I care deeply that people hear God's message and invite God into their life. I want people to be attracted to faith in God because I know from experience that I have been open when I have been accepted and my beliefs have not been denounced.
Love is patient and accepting. My deceased wife, Mary Anna, helped me to accept Christ by never asking me to. She accepted my own, deeply personal search for meaning and for God. She even rejected a church she had grown to love because she could not accept its belief that I (as a non-believer) could not be saved.
My Guru, Gurumayi Chidvilasananda, loves me so deeply that she helped me to fully appreciate my wife's struggle to find a religious home. She helped me to understand the importance of Christ to Mary Anna and therefore opened me up to accepting Christ for myself. I know that I can always come to Gurumayi no matter what ideas or beliefs I hold.
God is the creator and is thought of in many ways and spoken of by many names. Please join me in the story of my journey and consider its implications for your own faith. In particular, I urge that you find a faith that fulfills you and leads you in paths of love.
I urge you to deepen your relationship to God and I suggest some forms of worship that may help you to do that. Chapter 8 is a guide to a complete workshop in devotion, so that you and your friends can experience some of the key concepts that have drawn me closer to God.
It was not until late in my life, after I was 50, that I woke up to God's grace, which I had done nothing to earn. Through a string of trying experiences, I experienced enough suffering to reach out and discover God. I saw that my suffering drew me closer to God. I began to appreciate His magnificent and the mysteriousness of creation. I began to feel God's touch and to feel Him walking beside me. My mind began to dwell constantly on God's grandeur.
At that time, I chose not to grumble any longer. I was no longer in the grips of all the cliche complaints, like: "It's Monday.", or "Thank God it's Friday!", or "What a dreary day.", or "It's so hot.", or "It's so cold." I learned to rejoice in this day, the day that the Lord had made. When the day was gray and it was drizzeling, I felt refreshed when a drop landed on my face. Rain is a miracle, and I had learned to appreciate it!
This freedom from grumbling meant that I was no longer just "getting by" or "OK" or "surviving." I had embraced life and was no longer a weary soul. I was freed-up. I now looked to the world to see what I could give rather than what I could get.
So I invite you to read on and hear how my life has become a dance. It is not always a polka or a gavotte. Sometimes I dance the blues. But I dance!
If you dance with me, I will show you the steps that made me free. They are my steps, but in reading them you too may learn to become free. I invite you to appreciate my steps and to delight in finding your own. There are so many wonderful ways to find God. I invite you to find God for yourself and to join me in appreciating the rich diversity that makes this One World * One God * Many Faces.
As we continue our sojourn, let me acknowledge that more than once in my life I have thought I knew the way; but I kept learning and growing in my knowledge of God. I became humble about how little I knew and how arrogant I had been in believing that I knew how others might come to God.
Let me also urge you to consider that a "belief" in God is not enough. Knowing God is having a relationship. It is an honest dialogue, in which God grants guidance whenever asked from the depths of your heart. A relationship to God is not just words. It affects everything you do. It spreads your inner light to every person you touch. It helps you to be active to do God's will in your life and to help to bring about God's kingdom on earth.
In addition to telling you about my walk, this book also will suggest ways for you to walk closer to God and to help to make this world a better place. Please do not make this book just an intellectual exercise. Do not distance yourself from my message. Consider the implications of my words for your life. I would like to spread my light to you. As Jesus told us in his Sermon on the Mount, "You are the light of the world." Shine brightly and you will help to change the world.