Omnibenevolence means “divinity is all-loving” with “total goodwill,” and that includes you because your fundamental nature is divine. It means the presence of unconditional love is ubiquitous: everywhere, all around you, in everything and everyone, because the presence of divinity pervades all existence, because nature is divinely infused. Behind every heartbreak there is a deeper embrace; underneath sickness and sadness lies a presence, a heartfelt tangible reality of wholeness. Can you feel it?
Your I-AM god nature being-in-action essence is love. Judeo-Christian and non-Western traditions both make the claim that human nature is divine (we are “made in the image of God,” Genesis 1:27) and that god-nature is love. And mystics in various spiritual traditions throughout history have claimed that the fundamental reality underlying everything is love, despite all the suffering that exists. This includes the Bible, which claims the nature of divinity itself is love, and not loving comes from not being in relational contact with divinity: “Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love” (1 John 4:8). This is what a “relationship with god” means, or a relationship with self and Higher Self, psyche and universe. I do not claim to understand ultimate reality or the role of suffering, but I believe these observations point to a deep fabric of love that really exists in divine-human nature and can be accessed experientially.
Unfortunately, many of us only experience the love behind reality occasionally and unexpectedly. We lack an understanding of how to develop more consistent relational contact with love. There are many methods to access a felt experience of love. One of them is known as self-love. Self-love is often not emphasized in religious traditions where the deity who does the loving is seen as entirely outside oneself, so you are deemed incapable of loving apart from receiving from God. But understanding the self as godly and divine, love is a creative force that comes both from the beyond within and from the Beyond without. This belief can also be seen in the Christian Bible: you are godly, were “made in the image of god” (Genesis 1:27), are “a partaker in divine nature” (1 Peter 2:4), in marital union with God; “one spirit with God” (1 Corinthians 6:7), “Jesus answered them, ‘Is it not written in your Law,’ “I have said you are gods”? (John 10:34). Your fundamental “God-created” nature is not sinful; it is godly.
Divine Intuition: Listening to the God of Fear and the God of Love
There exists, however, another spectrum of existence opposite to love, and that is fear and hatred. The Christian Bible calls this the “sin-nature inclination.” Now, fear and hatred are not inherently bad, evil or sinful. In fact, they are natural, often healthy reactions and can lead us to insight and emotional healing when we allow ourselves to sit with and process them instead of trying to change them immediately. Being “perfected in love” doesn’t mean never experiencing so-called negative emotions like fear. It means not being controlled or defined by them. These emotions can lead to harm and unhealth when they become habitual ways of being and relating.
Many forms of Christianity and religion dangerously mix a “God of fear” with a “God of love.” This temptation to mix love with fear lies within all humans, religious or not. Fear-hatred motivation in spirituality leads to outsourcing your divinity to religious or political control. The dreadful judging God is internalized as a harsh inner judge (“superego” in psychology) and thought police, constantly harassing and criticizing us. When I was a Christian, my faith terrorized me just as often as it brought me love and peace. I knew that “God is love” until I heard, I’m not good enough, I’m not deserving, and God is angry. With God I never really knew, am I going to get love today, or a beating?
This God is not the God of love: “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love” (1 John 4:18). The spirit of the godly is characterized by love and a sound mind, not fear of judgment: “God did not give us the Spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7). If “perfect love casts out all fear,” then wrathful God religion has a lot of demons to be cast out. Knowing yourself as God or divine means relating healthily, with love and kindness, to all aspects of yourself. Shaming and judgment from religious teachings doesn’t result from “sin,” it leads to sin.
The “God of fear” is the enemy of the “God of love,” and the “salvation of the world” comes from tuning into the voices of both gods. When I feel conflicted about a decision or thing in my life, I ask myself, “What is the God of fear saying?” I wait for the answer that arises in my God-intuition (“divine knowing” or “Holy Spirit”). Then I ask myself, “What is the God of love saying?” Tuning into the voice of my heart, I find answers to both questions plopping into my mind instantly. If I feel blocked from hearing (“I don’t hear anything!”), I ask myself, “What might the God of love and the God of fear say if I could hear them?” This question bypasses my defense and resistance to the question; usually my intellectual mind’s resistance to my underdeveloped intuitive brain. It gives me a heartfelt answer. Through hearing the voices of fear and love, we hear the parts of ourselves speaking. We can address the legitimate concerns of the god of fear through the maturity and wisdom the god of love gives us. All this comes from the divine within and beyond it. It is a relationship with the divine. You would be amazed at how powerful these simple questions are to bring your mind and heart into alignment with wisdom, clarity, and love.
Love your neighbor as God, for your neighbor is divine and so are you. “Love your neighbor as yourself” by experiencing your neighbor as yourself, for you both participate in divine nature and participate in each other through felt experience of divinity.
Additional Method: Omnibenevolence Contemplation Practice
Buddhist philosophy refers to the meditation concentration practice of self-love as metta (“loving-kindness”). Although it was developed by Buddhists, metta is a practice of visualization that bears no relation to religious perspective. A similar practice exists in Christian contemplative traditions. We can call it “omnibenevolence” contemplation. In this practice, you may substitute an image of Jesus, Higher Self, a loving person, or any number of figures that you associate with a loving presence. For the practice, see here:
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Do you feel psychologically traumatized by religion, or isolated and disempowered by trauma and limiting beliefs in your life? I’m Andrew Jasko, Master of Divinity (M.Div.), M.A., Counseling Psychology in progress, and I work to help you transform your trauma into the place of your power and connect to a healthy, authentic spirituality that works for you (whether that’s as a spiritual, atheist, religious, transitioning, or agnostic identifying person). I was born into a minister’s family and became a preacher and missionary to India, after studying theology at Wheaton College and Princeton Seminary. As a Christian, my relationship with God was my passion, but unhealthy religious teachings caused me an anxiety disorder, sexual repression, and spiritual disillusionment. I felt alone, traumatized, and abandoned by the divine. After an agonizing crisis of faith, I rejected religion and spirituality. Then, I had an unexpected spiritual awakening through mystical and spiritual practices like meditation, psychedelics, and connecting my heart’s desires and intuition through my Divine Mindfulness practice. My passion is to help you in your spiritual or life transition to heal and connect with your authentic spiritual wholeness.