Years ago my mom pressed her ear against mine. “No” I told her, “I don’t hear it.” She has tinnitus that’s so loud she was sure other people could hear it.
When I meditate my body often tingles. Last weekend I asked my husband to press his body up to mine and hold me after my meditation. “No,” he told me, “I can’t feel it”.
What do my tingly body and my mom’s tinnitus have to do with anything?
Each one of us is experiencing something that only we can feel. Whether it’s dark thoughts or high hopes, debilitating anxiety or ripples of peace, the thrum of ecstasy or a sharp pain in your left kidney. Everyone has an inner world that’s layered and complex and wholly their own. Yet we often assume that what we feel and think and how we experience the world is the same as others do. We think we know them but we can’t, not fully, no matter how close we may be.
We can never truly know the agony of his childhood wound that hasn’t healed. Her family’s trauma that she carries in her bones. The secret desires he’s too afraid to share. The passion that makes her rev like a race car.
But we could live awe and wonder with ourselves and others because even with these internal worlds that could bring us to our knees in sorrow or in joy, we manage to get up, get dressed, get to work, feed the kids, and be mostly good to one another.
And when we don’t, wouldn’t it be nice to feel compassion for ourselves and others, and trust we’re all doing the best that we can.
Feel free to share this with someone who may not feel understood right now, because you want them to know that they’re still loved.
Recently a friend sent me an album with a song on it that she had sung for me. It’s a beautiful song called The Face of God. The chorus goes:
You are the face of God
I hold you in my heart,
You are a part of me
You are the face of God…
You are the face of love
I hold you in my heart
You are my family
You are the face of God…
It’s easy when listening to this song, to think of this friend and feel the love I have for her. My mind also wanders to others I cherish. I feel the profound truth of these lyrics as loved ones come to mind. All the people I love are the face of God to me.
One day I was playing this song during my morning yoga and I thought if anyone is the face of God then everyone is the face of God. That’s obvious I know, but it occurred to me that I don’t act always like that. I wondered what would happen if I did.
It doesn’t mean I have to enjoy everyone’s company or agree with what they do, but if I would see every single person, and every single being as the face of God it would rock my world. So I tried it and it did. I experienced more compassion, love and joy each and every time.
The rodent that is eating my garden is the face of God, (teaching me non-attachment). The crazy talking bearded homeless woman is the face of God, (opening my heart). The gardener who welcomes a cup of water on a hot day, (connects me with my own simple humanity)
It’s a no-brainer to see the face of God in the people you love, and easy to see the face of God in people who look, think and act like you, and even if you don’t know them – kind, generous, smart people look an awful lot like the face of God too.
Where it gets interesting is when you see the face of God in the woman who cuts you off in traffic and then gives you the finger, the politician who stands for everything you despise, or the ex-boyfriend who dumped you and seems to be unduly delighted with his supermodel girlfriend. This isn’t a practice of seeing what gifts or lessons these people have for you. It’s not a practice of questioning why this person has come into your life. It’s much simpler than that.
The whole practice is this:
Just for today,
To every person you see,
Say this in your mind: “You are the Face of God”.
Notice how you feel when you say it. With some people it will elevate your love. Other times it will trigger an impulse of compassion and generosity. Then there are times when the absurdity will make you laugh.
This is not in any way meant to be an emotional bypass. If someone triggers some sadness or anger in you to bubble up then for the love of bacon let your emotions flow. Don’t aim them at the person, but do give your emotions the release they need. Then once you’ve let it out, see the face of that person and just say in your mind “You are the Face of God”. See what happens.
You may not have time for a lot of spiritual practice in your life. But you’ve definitely got time for this.
After you’ve tried it I’d love to hear your experience in the comment section below. If you don’t like the results I offer a money back guarantee.
PS. You are the face of God. Feel it. Be it.
And please share this with someone who is the face of God to you.