Tapping Into God
Experiencing the Spiritual Spectrum
Perfect Bound Softcover
Exactly what does connection to God look like in our daily lives? Tapping Into God: Experiencing the Spiritual Spectrum answers that question by providing a unique look at many faiths and spiritual practices within our human family. Twenty-eight authors have defined a relationship to the God of their understanding through their individual perspectives, using a variety of approaches and styles.
Weaving a rich, heartfelt tapestry of personal connection and devotion, Tapping Into God will touch your soul and open your eyes to the abundant spiritual diversity of our planet. These stories illuminate the wonder of that indefinable power that fashions our world. Even the non-believer will find ample food for thought within these pages. Nurture your spirit as you experience the spiritual spectrum through Tapping Into God.
The human connection to a divine presence, a higher power, or whatever term we choose to use, is a very personal thing. No one can universally describe what it means to be “filled with the spirit,” yet most people spend some time in their lives seeking such a connection. This inner quest is generally encouraged and culturally supported, and most people look outside themselves to established institutions for spiritual guidance and support. Many people, however, in their search for spiritual connection, choose other than traditional paths for life direction. We also find those who choose not to seek at all. This book is about the pursuit of that “divine” connection, how and why we look for something bigger than ourselves, where we look and what we look for. It is about how we come to find that which we seek.
What is unique about this book is the personal nature of our search for meaning and wholeness through spiritual connection that is expressed here. Many of these authors have presented stories of their individual journey from a particular religious teaching to the belief system that now guides them, sharing with us how and why they shifted from one place to another in awareness and belief. Others have chosen to simply explain the tenets of their faith and why it works for them. This book is more than just a compilation of different religious teachings and doctrine. It is a magnificent example of the diversity and range of mankind’s spiritual experience explored through the lenses of individual perspective.
How often do we hear stories of countries and peoples enmeshed in bitter struggles over territories, sacred structures, and the hearts and minds of others, all in the name of a particular deity? What is this spiritual essence whom so many seek, with whom so many walk in peace and joy, and for whom so many are willing to fight and die? How do we move from individual connection with the divine to atrocities and war, all in the name of a presence that no one can even see? And why does even the word “God” sometimes spark the flames of discord and confusion among us?
These are some of the questions that have always fascinated me in my own spiritual journey. For many years I sought a personal connection to the God of my understanding outside the boundaries of conventional religion, while still embracing many of the beliefs of my childhood religious training. I was often simultaneously enthralled and repulsed by the qualities of the “one true God” I was raised to believe in who seemed to be capricious and moody, serving only those people he favored on any particular day. Over the decades my relationship with God has evolved to a peaceful one, but to get there I had to relinquish many of the tenets of my early religion and embrace new ideas as they appeared before me. This opening of faith and trust has been a joyful ride, as I have been led to many wonderful people and ideas, and have come to believe that there are as many paths to God as there are people walking those paths.
When the idea for this book was born, it came as an instant knowing of the title, content, and purpose. Thinking I would help to open the minds of others, I planned to offer a smorgasbord of religious and spiritual thought by exploring a single topic from many perspectives, namely what connection to God means from that practitioner’s point of view, and how that faith is revealed in daily life. As I thought about what religions to invite to the party, I found myself wanting to exclude certain faiths that I have never felt comfortable with. Early on I realized that this “passion project” was to help me move beyond my own comfort zone and embrace the vast spiritual understanding that exists. I also hold the belief that the problems of the world will ultimately not be solved through technological, political, or financial means, but through a revolution of spiritual understanding and compassion on the planet. Thus, my interest in the topic of this book was in alignment with that belief.
So, putting my own judgments aside as much as possible, I embarked on this journey by contacting ministers of several major religions that I knew something about. The project slowly began to take on a life of its own as people connected me with others in a seemingly never-ending ripple effect. Over the course of a year I was introduced to many religions and spiritual practices I didn’t know existed, and met wonderful practitioners and devotees from a variety of groups. It was exciting for me to keep opening my mind to the diversity that exists, and to personally witness the deep conviction and love that so many have for the God of their understanding. These authors were all willing and delighted to express on paper their beliefs and practices, often from a very personal point of view, and illumine us with their beautiful expressions of that love and devotion.
As the project unfolded I realized I could not possibly include every spiritual tradition and religion that exists, so I stopped seeking new authors at a certain point and saw that the material I had already collected displayed a wide variety of belief systems and practices. My hope is the reader will understand that if their particular religion or practice is not represented here, it was not intentional. The spiritual spectrum includes many more faiths than those contained in this work. I also deliberately included some of the religions I was personally uncomfortable with in order to keep my mind open and not give in to the same biases I was seeking to eradicate with this work.
From the start, my intention for this work has been twofold: I hoped to illustrate the common threads of truth and conviction that I believe run through all faiths, and I wished to promote understanding of and respect for all religions and spiritual practices. I believe there is an area of commonality, an intersection of belief so to speak, that unites us all, no matter what our individual belief systems proclaim. My purpose was not to try to influence or convert anyone, nor to show any particular creed in a more favorable light than another. Neither was my purpose to shock readers with belief systems that appear to be far outside the realm of conventional thought. Rather, I am seeking to enlighten readers to the rich and abundant ways that people define and connect to the divine power of their understanding, and show how these connections are reflected in their everyday lives. Through the words of these diverse authors I hope to broaden our definition of what God is and how that presence shows up in individuals and spiritual communities.
It is intentional that I have not tried to analyze or explain the commonalities and differences among these writings, or to connect the dots in any way. I have left it up to the reader to explore these thought-provoking ideas and determine what truths are interwoven among them. I personally believe that to a great extent truth is in the eye of the beholder, and so I invite the reader to explore these chapters with an open mind and an open heart, remembering that each person writes with equal conviction that what they believe is the Truth for them. Although some religion groups proclaim that they alone hold the real truth, I sincerely hope that readers might temporarily suspend that idea and choose to see the similarities that unite us as people rather than the differences that separate us. Tapping into the Divine transcends dogma and culture and can be appreciated in its fullness if we look for the elements of unity within those limitless interpretations.
As a spiritual seeker, Debbie Belmessieri was eager to combine her passion for writing with the inspirational idea that has become Tapping Into God. Debbie’s commitment to personal growth led her to start her own business several years ago and she recently launched her second business, DivaliciousStyles.com, a website celebrating women. She lives in San Jose, California with her daughter Michelle.
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