Discover more from Lion Heart Leadership — by Jordan Bates
You Are Not God
Critiquing my book 'You Are God' to illuminate New Age fallacies
Note: This piece came out kinda rant-like on low sleep after ~22+ hours of travel, when we flew back to Germany a couple weeks ago. It’s sort of like a preachy lecture to a younger version of me. Don’t mind the tone too much. Sometimes sternness is good medicine if you let it be. Wherever you find yourself on the path, you’re beautiful. It’s all part of the poetry, and all rivers lead to the Ocean. I love you.
In late 2020, I wrote a book called You Are God.
In many ways the book is a potent espresso shot of mystical insight.
There’s a lot that I still like about the text. It marks a certain key phase of my path.
On another level, the book falls prey to a couple New Age fallacies.
Fallacy #1: You Are Identical With God
As the book’s title suggests, one of its key axioms is that you are fundamentally identical with God—the One Loving Intelligence that moves through all things.
The book does drop a few hints that the true picture is more nuanced than this, but on the whole, it leans toward strongly telling the reader, “You are God.”
In a sense, that’s true, but it’s a rather dangerous statement to make, without substantial disclaimers and unpacking.
My sense is still that yes, in essence, as the ancients said, “Thou Art That.” Your essence is fundamentally one with the essence of all things. Ultimately, God is all there is, and so “you” must also be a blossoming of that one God energy.
And this is a big “but”…
You are also not God.
What God is, in its totality, is an infinite Mystery vastly beyond anything remotely fathomable…
We are talking about a Force akin to the birth of a trillion suns—far beyond that, even…
In my experience, this Force is not only incomprehensible to human consciousness, it is not comprehensible to *any* consciousness. Even to itself, it is incomprehensible. If it could be comprehended or digested or pinned down in any way, it would be finite. And it is the farthest thing from finite.
That Loving Force is our essence. We blossomed from it. We are its children. We are entirely made of it.
And yet to say that we *are* it—identical to it, with zero difference—is clumsy, to say the least.
It’s disrespectful to the sheer magnitude and bottomlessness of what we are talking about here.
99.999% of humans who have ever lived, would not be able to healthily integrate the idea that, “You are God.”
I myself was not able to healthily integrate this knowledge.
If there is even a germ of needy ego present in you, that germ will latch onto this idea like a leech on a fatted calf.
And like a leech, the ego will inflate.
Telling myself that I was God led to massive ego-inflation, grandiosity, fantasies of “infinite manifestation power,” ungroundedness, arrogance, out-of-touch-ness, spiritual bypassing, and a guru / savior complex.
More on that below.
Fallacy #2: You Have Infinite Power to Create Your Reality
The “infinite manifestation power” piece is another New Age fallacy in the You Are God text.
It basically tells the reader that she can “create her own reality” if she simply chooses it wholeheartedly, embodies it, and insists upon it. It tells the reader she is literally the creator of everything she is perceiving, at all times. She is literally the creator of the universe.
I wrote the text around the time I was first immersing myself in the work of Bentinho Massaro—specifically his book Super Accelerated Living—and I can see his (misguiding) influence here.
This bizarre New Age idea that we can completely create our realities, is a twisted egoic fantasy of control. It tends to fuel egoic desires for money, sex, luxury, beauty, and power—and it tends to disconnect people from their compassionate heart.
No need to open your heart to the suffering of others, because they’re all just foolishly creating those awful realities, right? Poor saps.
The “create your reality” idea is at the core of most modern “magick” and “manifestation” teachings, and that is part of why I have suggested that these teachings are substantially co-opted by dark forces. Such teachings tend to fuel ego and disconnect one from the heart.
The grain of truth in the “create your reality” idea is that we do have a certain degree of beautiful participatory power to shape our lives—through our thoughts, words, intentions, actions, creativity, energy, and being-ness.
And yet we control far less than we often like to think we do.
Nothing is *truly* ours to control.
Only through the Grace of God are we even *allowed* to experience a sense of participatory power to shape our lives. God has granted us this experience, and we have no control over when God might suddenly remove it.
“The Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away.”
Admitting and feeling the truth of our *lack* of control, leads to humility.
And humility, more than perhaps anything else, is what is truly needed on the spiritual path.
Humble gratitude for what God has given.
Humble gratitude for the precious opportunity to breathe, love, laugh, play, and serve.
Humble prayerfulness asking God to help us be Love and live God’s will on Earth.
Humble prayerfulness asking God to bless the lives of our family, friends, and fellow humans, if it is God’s will.
Humble devotional service to the whole of God’s Creation.
This is what is needed.
This is what brings lasting, heart-opened, grounded peace through appropriate relationship with the Divine.
Arrogance, the opposite of humility, simply doesn’t work.
“Pride cometh before a fall.”
“What goes up, must come down.”
Simple karmic gravity.
Arrogance doesn’t work because it is not rooted in truth.
It glorifies self over others.
It takes personal credit for what truly came forth only by the Grace of God.
That which is not rooted in the truth of God and universal Love, crumbles.
“Everything is impermanent, except the love of God.”
This is the way of things.
A statement like:
“You are God and you have infinite power to create your reality however you want it to be.”
Is a misguided statement.
A statement clearly infused with egoic fantasies.
Getting Radically Honest
Again: Yes, God is our essence. We are one with God.
However, we must be extremely skillful, honest, and discerning, so as not to misapply this sacred knowledge.
Again: 99.999% of humans will misapply this insight and distort it for their own egoic ends.
For much of history, Eastern monks would spend 10+ years training, practicing selfless service, and purifying their hearts BEFORE anyone even *told* them the ultimate insight of non-separation.
Nowadays, any 5th grader can hop on YouTube and find hundreds of pseudo-gurus shouting, “You are God!!!!”
And I’m one of ‘em. I’ve participated in this.
And I have compassion for the version of me who made those missteps.
He was a good kid at heart. He did not have consciously ill or destructive intentions.
Yet he was inflated and was subtly twisting psychedelic/mystical realizations to fuel his own egoic fantasies.
He needed to be humbled, and that is what happened. Repeatedly.
This is a cautionary tale.
Jung said of psychedelics, “Beware of unearned wisdom.”
This is what he was speaking about. The ego has an endless ability to twist unearned psychedelic wisdom to serve its own ends.
I remain in favor of the wise use of entheogens by those who feel a sincere heart calling, but one must be prudent. It is best to approach the “fire of the gods” with great reverence and humility, and to have people around you who can point out your shadows.
And for the vast, vast majority of us, it is wise to *go slowly* when it comes to wading into the waters of non-dual teachings. Most of us are not ready to integrate those insights in an accurate, healthy way. Much humbling, grounding, healing, and heart-purification is needed first. One is wise to develop a healthy ego before attempting to transcend it.
“The first half of life is devoted to forming a healthy ego, the second half is going inward and letting go of it.”
— Carl Jung
For the overwhelming majority, it is wise to conceive of oneself not as God, but as a *child of God*—an expression or flowering from the Father or the Mother. Not only is this a wiser approach for most people, I’d also say it is more metaphysically accurate.
You are a child of God, made of God, one with God, but you are not the realized totality of God in your present form.
You’re more like a spark in the Bonfire or a drop in the Ocean. And yes, the spark is the Bonfire and the drop is the Ocean in some sense, but also not.
Some Safeguards Against Ego-Inflation and Other Karmically Inauspicious Happenings
Let’s emphasize a few more safeguards that can help you avoid major traps on the spiritual path:
Without a transcendent ‘Other’ placed “higher” than ego, onto which the ego can project its most grandiose energies, the ego tends to run rampant, especially in the presence of huge psychedelic energies. This point is elucidated beautifully in the book Facing the Dragon by Robert Moore.
There is nothing inherently ‘wrong’ with having an ego. It is a useful and necessary interface for functioning in the world.
Yet it is highly susceptible to being hooked into and spellbound by dark-magickal influences. In spirituality, as in all other areas of life, there are plenty of dark forces seeking to mislead you down a path to destruction. So it goes. Such is life on Earth at this juncture.
It is wise to humble oneself before God, praying to God as if God were a Benevolent ‘Other,’ even if one has begun to sense God within and to recognize the essential oneness of all things. I recommend thanking God every day for your life exactly as it is.
(Note: To me “God” is synonymous with Source/Life/Brahman/Allah/Tao/Goddess/etc., so long as you are using these words to refer to the One Fundamental Reality that everything blossoms from and is made of.)
It is wise not to try to (use ‘magick’ or ‘spells’ to) “manifest” and “create your reality,” which will tend to involve and fuel the ego. You also never know what sort of ‘forces’ or entities you might be (accidentally) invoking or working with when you do this. I once heard a woman sharing with great distress about how she did a magickal ‘manifestation’ ritual to create wealth, then shortly afterwards her mother died, leaving her a substantial inheritance. She was concerned her ritual had killed her mother.
I’m not saying her ritual was definitely connected to her mother’s death, but it seems reasonably likely to me. I’ve witnessed and directly experienced other situations that have revealed to me the often-karmically-inauspicious nature of ‘magick’ and ‘manifestation’ rituals.
“Be careful what you wish for. It might come true.”
If you insist on performing magick / manifestation rituals, I recommend adding in a prayer somewhere that says:
“May this happen if and only if it is in service of the Highest Good of all beings and aligned with the Loving Heart of God and Jesus Christ. Amen.”
Or if you’re not one to invoke God and Jesus:
“May this happen if and only if it is in service of the Highest Good of all beings and aligned with Divine Love.”
To undo old misaligned magick, you can say a sincere prayer such as:
“I hereby recant, disavow, and undo all magick I may have created that does not align with Divine Love / the Loving Heart of God and Jesus Christ. I hereby dissolve and release all dark-magickal hooks I may have placed within others, or which others may have placed within me. Amen.”
In lieu of ‘magick’ and ‘manifestation,’ it is wiser to pray to God and ask God to open your heart and show you how you can be closer to Him, and what He wishes to birth through you—how you are meant to serve and celebrate Him on Earth.
[And look, you don’t need to get overly paranoid about ‘manifesting.’ For most people, it’s fine and even helpful to open yourself to miracles, make a vision board, visualize beautiful possibilities that resonate with your heart, feel those possibilities as living realities, and take bold action toward your dreams. A lot of ‘manifestation’ teachings are okay. As a rule of thumb, just be really honest with yourself about where you’re actually coming from [i.e. heart or egoic greed], be discerning, pray to be aligned with Divine Love, and be wary of the more ‘occult’ practices/rituals.]
Consider also this quote from Jesus:
"But seek first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you."
— Jesus Christ, Matthew 6:33
When Jesus says this, he is not saying to seek God as a ‘manifestation’ strategy, so that “all these [great] things shall be added unto you” once you’ve found God. Rather, he’s saying that when you seek God / Truth pure-heartedly, as an end in itself, you will be taken care of, one way or another, potentially in ways you never imagined.
If asking God how to be close to Him and how to serve Him does not feel real and sincere for you at this point, it is wise to simply follow your heart’s joy, provide useful service to others, make beautiful things, and do your best to do the right/wise/skillful thing always, in accordance with the heart’s knowing.
All of these suggestions are safeguards against ego-inflation and other karmically inauspicious happenings.
Important Note: We all have to walk our own path.
A lot of what I’ve said in this post might sound pretty stuffy, stodgy, old-fashioned, moralistic, overly religious, or just plain boring.
I probably would’ve felt that way if I had read this a few years ago.
I’m likely going to be sharing more about my path in some upcoming posts, but for now, suffice to say that…
I spent a ~decade doing basically everything that I now caution people against, when it comes to life and spirituality.
I got tangled up in all sorts of weird and wild misadventures. I got unknowingly co-opted by various dark-magickal influences. I became massively ego-inflated. I sewed karmically inauspicious seeds in ways I didn’t really understand, and I had to reap the bitter harvest on quite a few occasions.
And that was all perfect in its own way. That was my path. That’s what needed to happen for me to really understand the lessons that I am now communicating in posts like this one.
We all have to walk our own path.
And for a lot of us, lessons written in a book or blog post aren’t really going to land until we learn them “the hard way,” through direct experience.
And so it goes.
Life is all the more interesting and poetic because of that.
We can never judge another’s path. Period.
“We never know what things are good for.”
We can never see the infinite implications of every chess move.
Walk your path.
If you need to rebel for a while and break taboos and party and rage and do magick and explore “left-hand paths” and try to become God and so forth…
If that’s what is calling to you and if you need to get that out of your system in order to unravel some knots somewhere deep within you…
Do what you gotta do.
I sure as hell can’t judge. Because I’ve been there and I did it all too.
And I don’t regret it. Because it made me who I am. It taught me a lot. And it was a hell of a lot of fun.
(Until it wasn’t.)
In order to get here, I had to go there.
Life’s funny like that.
Are you God or not?
For most of us, though…
Especially those of us puffed up on a non-dual ego trip…
Here’s what we need to hear:
You are not God.
And you do not have infinite power to create whatever reality you want.
God is your Father.
(Or Mother, if you prefer.)
All things are possible through Him.
He is Love.
All that is not Love, will fade away.
Humble yourself as a grateful servant of God.
Purify yourself, clean up your life, be Love as best you can, and ask God for guidance.
Pray in earnest and tell God you renounce all prior magick or creations that are not aligned with His Loving Will.
You do not know better than God.
To serve God’s Will, is ultimately to serve the truest calling of your own Heart.
Understand these things now, if you like.
Or let Life teach you, and “learn the hard way.”
Either way, it’s all okay.
P.S. What does this bring up for you? I’d love to hear your truth via an email reply or a comment on the blog.
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