“I went against God’s will”

I wrote about this before but thought I would revisit it to see what comes up.


In my late teens and early twenties, I discovered I had a strong and clear inner guidance. When I followed it, things fell into place in amazing ways. The following path wasn’t always easy or carefree, but it felt deeply right and life brought me to places – including physical places and communities – that felt deeply right.

I explored following it in daily life, including in the smallest of ways to see what would happen, and also so I got to see what in me feared following it.

In what situations was it more difficult for me to follow it? Not surprisingly, it was typically when other people were involved and my social anxiety, desire for approval, fear of disapproval and anger, and so on came up.

In my mid-twenties, I studied psychology at the University of Utah on a student visa. (I am from Norway.) During a semester off, I went to Nepal and India and met someone literally from around the corner from me in Salt Lake City. (We had mutual friends so it wasn’t as much of a coincidence as it sounds like.) We got into a relationship, and when my student visa later ran out, we had a choice of splitting up or getting married. We chose to get married.

That felt OK, although the decision was confused by several emotional issues surfacing in me: Fear of being alone. (Although I loved that too.) Fear of losing the community at the Zen center I lived at in Salt Lake City. Fear of losing the cool things in the US culture I couldn’t find easily in Norway. (Including psychology classes on ecopsychology, environmental psychology, health psychology, and systems theories.) Fear of losing my beloved Rocky Mountains and desert. (I felt a profound belonging to that land.) And so on.


But what felt very strongly not OK with my inner guidance was moving to Wisconsin. My wife got into the graduate program there, and I didn’t want to be the one preventing her from following her dreams. Here too, issues came up: I didn’t want to be selfish, I didn’t want to be the reason for her resentment if she didn’t follow her opportunities.

Although I loved a lot about being in Madison – the community, working with sustainability – it also felt deeply wrong to be there. My inner guidance was there always telling me that this was wrong. And that obviously also impacted our relationship. That too started feeling not right and not as aligned as I had wished.

Even after moving to Oregon, which felt far more right for me, the sense of something fundamental being off was there. My inner guidance told me that the relationship was not right. And I still stayed, likely because of a combination of convenience (it was good on the surface and comfortable in a conventional sense) and my issues (unprocessed fears). My guidance was still there, always, telling me that this was not right.


After some years of this, I did move away and got divorced. And although my outer life now feels much more aligned, my inner sense of alignment is still not quite there.

I still feel an inner sense of being lost and I am not sure if that’s from childhood issues or going against my guidance for so long, or – more likely – a combination.


Throughout all this, the discrepancy between my inner guidance and my active choices was deeply uncomfortable and painful for me.

And I added to that discomfort by telling myself I had gone against God’s will. God had plans for me. God told me what to do through my inner guidance. And I went against it. I ruined my life. This was quite traumatic for me.

It took time for me to process this and clarify this more deeply. Through The Work of Byron Katie, I found more clearly that I hadn’t gone against God’s will. It’s not possible. What happens is the divine. It’s God’s will. Even going against my guidance was God’s will.


It’s not something I wish to repeat. It did create a lot of problems in my life. I did get off the track that felt deeply right for me. In some ways, it did ruin my life. I did go against my clear inner guidance. And yet, I did not go against God’s will.

All of this has validity.

The conventional view is true. And it’s true that I didn’t go against God’s will.


I also find gifts in this.

I got to experience what happens when I go against my inner guidance on a major life decision. (It’s the same that happens when I go against it on smaller decisions, it’s just that it has a bigger impact on my life.)

I got humbled and humanized.

I got to see that it’s possible to recover from this. It’s possible to again follow my inner guidance and get my life back on what feels more deeply as a right track. (I am still in that process.)

I find compassion for myself. Yes, I made a mistake in a conventional sense. Yes, I did it from unprocessed issues. (Passed on possibly for generations.) Yes, it had consequences. And that is very understandable. I was caught up in issues. I didn’t have the outer and inner resources to make a better decision. How is it to meet that with kindness? How is it to meet what comes up in me around this with kindness?

More than that, it’s very human. I got to experience something very human.

And would I have done it differently if I could have? Yes.

Byron Katie: God’s will and my will are the same, whether I notice it or not

God’s will and my will are the same, whether I notice it or not.

– Byron Katie

I cannot know what she means by it, but here is what comes up for me.


How do I understand the difference between my will and God’s will?

My will, or personal will, is what I want, and it may be different from reality. I want ice cream, and I don’t have it. I want better health and can’t find it. I want more money, and it’s not coming. I don’t want to lose the ones I love, and they are lost.

God’s will is what is. It’s reality. It’s the situations we find ourselves in and ultimately the experiences we have. We can also call this life’s will.

Often, it seems that my personal will is at odds with reality. And when that happens, I often create a sense of struggle for myself.


What I experience as “my will” is ultimately life’s will. It’s life taking that form.

As anything else, my will has infinite causes stretching back to the beginning of this universe and out to the widest extent of existence. It’s the local expression of movements within the larger whole. It’s life or the universe taking this local form.

Nothing happens that’s not “God’s will”, and that includes the apparent personal will. That too is God’s will.

That this apparently personal will happens, and the form it takes, is God’s will.

Nothing happens that’s not God taking that form.


Said another way, these thoughts, feelings, experiences, choices, and so on happen, and then a thought comes and says “I did it” and calls it “my thoughts”, “my feelings”, “my choices”. It’s the same with “my will”.

Something happens and a thought calls it “personal will” or “my will”.


Another side to this is the apparent difference between personal will and God’s will, or personal will and reality. On the surface, it seems that I want something else than what is and I struggle with that difference. As I examine this, I may find that what I more honestly want is what is.

Behind the surface layers of wants, desires, hang-ups, wounds, unloved fears, and unexamined stories, I find that what I really want is God’s will.

My most sincere wish is for what is, even if this is sometimes covered up by confusion, hurt, and reactivity.


We can report on what we find, or philosophize on it within stories, and that can be interesting. There may be valuable pointers there, and it may serve as a stepping stone.

And where this becomes more alive and transformative is in our own exploration.

When I inquire into my stressful stories, which all are about the apparent conflict between my will and life’s will, what do I find?

Do I find that my will ultimately is at odds with God’s will?

Do I find that my will is separate from or different from God’s will?

What happens over time when I keep exploring specific stressful thoughts? What shifts?

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Do you trust in God?

I was asked this question yesterday and couldn’t give an immediate answer.

As usual, it depends on a lot of things.

What do you mean by God?

What does it mean to trust God?

And what parts of me are you referring to?


Do you mean life or all of existence?

Or do you mean a segment of all there is? Perhaps an image of a higher being? Light and love? Something wise and loving guiding our life? Something else?


Does it mean to trust that everything, no matter what happens, is fundamentally OK?

That I can get what I ask for, or something better? (According to what definition?)

That something wise and loving is guiding my life or life in general?


Do you mean my conscious view? (Which is just the tip of the iceberg, not always what I perceive and live from, and – in some ways – the least interesting.)

Do you mean all the different parts of me? (Some may trust life as it is, and many are likely caught up in fear and fearful stories and don’t trust life so much.)


As usual, I tend to be overly sincere in trying to answer these questions, and a bit of a party pooper if you want a simple answer. Personally, I find these kinds of explorations more interesting.

I also like to take a pragmatic approach to these questions, so what’s the pragmatic approach here?

First, what do I mean by God? For me, it’s all of existence, life, what is as it is.

What do I mean by trust? A starting point may be to take it as trusting that life is OK as is.

How does it look to trust life? And how can I deepen into that trust?


In my experience, parts of me don’t trust life when they are caught up in unloved fear and unexamined fearful stories. These are contractions that live their own life, perceive the world a particular way, and color how I – as a whole and as a human being in the world – perceive and live my life. They are always here coloring perceptions and decisions, and they are sometimes more obviously triggered – often by certain life situations and events.

So one answer is to find healing in my relationship to triggers in life and what’s triggered in me. Can I befriend the contractions in me? Get to know them? Give them what they want and need? Fulfill the sense of lack they are coming from? (This tends to happen naturally when I recognize what they need, the lack, and rest with it.)

What’s the unexamined stressful story (or stories) behind the contraction? What do I find if I examine this more in-depth and find what’s genuinely more true for me? (This may happen easily and naturally, and sometimes it helps to engage in a more structured inquiry.)

Can I recognize the nature of the contraction? What happens when I rest in that noticing? What happens when I invite the contraction to rest in noticing its own nature?

Let Your will be done

let not my will, but yours be done

Luke 22:43

Let Your will be done, not mine.

When I say this prayer, with some sincerity and wholeheartedness, what happens?

For me, there is a shift into that which already allows all that is. A shift into what I am. A shift into what we can call Big Mind / Big Heart.

There is a release out of my smaller views and concerns. A softening. A release out of being completely caught up in it.

And there is an opening for receptivity, gratitude, and recognizing all as already grace.

And what happens in a more specific sense?

My will is the will of the one taking itself to be a separate being. It’s what comes when I am caught up in my very human reactions. We can say it comes from (blind) identifications with thought, or when thoughts are believed, or from emotional issues and trauma, or reactivity to own experience. All those are ways of talking about what is, in essence, the same.

Your will is what is, what’s here, what happens. It’s how existence is both “inside” and “outside” of me as a human being. It’s all there is.

When I say this prayer, there is a shift in perspective, or a shift in context. There is an acknowledgment that this is already God’s will. There is a shift more into what I am, into Big Mind / Big Heart.

And within this new context, I am still responsible for my own actions as this human being. I am still responsible for being as good steward of my own life as I can. I am still responsible for my own life and my own choices and actions. Only the context has shifted.

So when I pray let your will be done….

It’s an invitation to notice that all already is God’s will.

It opens for receptivity, gratitude, and awe.

It moves my center out of this human being and more into Big Mind / Big Heart.

It helps me step back, shift out of small views, and look at the bigger picture and what is more kind and wise in the situation.

Sometimes, it requires a crisis before we do this. In our daily life, we may – without noticing – live from our will, and it works relatively well. Then a crisis comes, we notice that “our will” is no longer enough or what’s called for. So we pray let your will be done and invite in grace and everything that comes with it.

We remind ourselves of reality. All is God’s will. All is grace. And when I remind myself of this, it’s easier to shift out of my small concerns and find what’s kinder and wiser in the bigger picture.

What that is depends on the situation. Often, it involves forgiving myself. Finding gratitude for life itself. Finding some trust in life as it is. Stepping back from my small and very human concerns. Connect with my knowing and inner guidance. Perhaps find what seems the kindest and wisest for everyone involved, and in the longer run. (As far as I can tell.) And make a small step in that direction.

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Hafiz: This place where you are right now, God circled on a map for you

This place where you are right now, God circled on a map for you.

– Hafiz & Daniel Ladinsky

Hafiz through the translation of Daniel Ladinsky is often very beautiful. There is a simplicity and truth to it, and it often comes from a refreshing angle.

We can say that all is God’s will. And more than that, all is God so all is an expression of God and is God. In that sense, where we are is somewhere God has circled on a map for us. And God is also the map, the circle, and the circling.

Quote: Unless you’ve surrendered to the Will of God

You can come up with a very clear and concise articulation of nonduality, and you can speak of it over and over again, and you can attempt to align your activity to that articulation. But in fact, organically, unless you’ve surrendered to the Will of God, which is movement but in the domain of nonduality, any state of nonduality is not mature.

– Lee Lozowick or Matthew Files

Surrendering to the will of God as what is, as it is, here and now. The sensations, images, thoughts, identifications, experiences that are here and now. And questioning any fears and beliefs that prevents this surrender.

Also, surrendering to the inner guidance, to the heart. And here too identify and inquire into fears and beliefs preventing following this guidance.

And surrendering to what is, as it is, including any apparent difficulties surrendering and following the inner guidance.

Recognizing that what’s here is love makes it easier.

Barry: Listening to Source

I don’t think it is going to be a good idea to do what anyone else says, even a psychic friend. What got you into this is that you stopped listening to Source and lived from fear and your own will.

Yes, all that is happening is God’s will.  Your part is whether you listen and act from love and oneness with God’s will or from fear and separation.  If you truly ask for God’s will to be known and done, the divine will get through to you no matter what if you are willing to feel the fear, doubt, uncertainty and wait until you receive the Knowing from the divine.  It is about giving yourself, mind, body, soul to God.  Remember Jesus two edicts when asked how to achieve union.  Love God with all your heart and soul, and love your neighbor as yourself/and yourself.  If you love God with all your heart and soul there is nothing you want more than to do God’s will.  When we realize that every time we act from personal ego/will we cause suffering and dis-ease and ultimately death to ourselves and all life it is pretty easy to turn fully in surrender to God. Consider these things…
– Barry, in an email to me

For the first two thirds of my twenties, I had a clear inner guidance and I followed it most of the time. As I followed it, it became more clear to me. And there was a sense of being guided with love and care, and a deep sense of rightness and alignment. Things fell into place in my life.

Then, I went against my guidance and moved to Wisconsin. I did it because of a relationship, and really because of fears and beliefs about it. I was willing to sacrifice following my guidance in order to avoid what I was afraid of (being alone was one of those). This was the beginning of what can be labelled a dark night of the soul, where things felt off track internally and in my life in general.

Now, the invitation is to follow my inner guidance again, and take a closer look at the fears and beliefs I sometimes use to stop myself from doing so.

I see that God’s will is what is, and one way to align with God’s will is to question my thoughts saying what is is not right. Another way to align with God’s will is to question the thoughts I use to stop myself from following my guidance.


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God takes over

There is the hologram that you have been identified with that spins and spins…then there is reality beyond that…the two are mutually exclusive…you asked for Self Realization…God takes over…what is yours is yours..Surrender to the mystery….love,b

God takes over.

It’s, of course, how it always is. If all is God, then all is God’s will, all is God’s love. Even what a thought may label bad, wrong, undesirable, unloving, identification, all of that too is God’s will, God’s love, and God.

And yet, something is different when there is a conscious shift into seeing this, and surrendering to God.

Surrender to God. What does that mean?

For me, it means surrendering to what is. What in me opposes what is? What beliefs and contracted fears are there? What’s more true than these? How is it to live from what’s already more true for me?

It also means following my inner guidance, my heart. What in me opposes following what this guidance tells me now? What fears are there? What stories do I tell myself to confuse myself so I am less receptive to this guidance? What is it “I” want that seems opposed to what is, and this guidance? What’s the fears behind it? What’s more real and true than these fears?

And it means surrendering to love and truth. If I am completely honest with myself and others, what will happen? Being completely honest is another way of losing control. As long as I hold back, as long as I tell little lies, I can maintain the thought that I am in control. Being completely honest, and I lose that illusion. What am I afraid would happen if I am completely honest? What fears are there? What’s more true for me? How would it be to live from this honesty?

I did ask for it, as Barry points out. I sat in front of the altar in Bodh Gaia for days prayer for full awakening no matter what it would cost. (In my early/mid twenties, of course, in the grip of youthful folly, and perhaps also a deeper wisdom.) And now, when I realize more fully, and at an emotional level, that “I” am not in control and never was, it brings up a lot of fear in me. There is really a sense of giving up control and giving my life more fully over to God. I have no idea what will happen, and I also see that I never did even when I earlier told myself I did.

Nothing has really changed. It’s all already God’s will. I never knew what would happen or where life would take me. And yet, it’s good to meet those fears me. Welcome them. Thank them for protecting me. Ask them how they wish me to be with them. Ask them what their deepest longing is, and what would satisfy them forever. Ask them who they are (in form) and what they really are.

And there is a change here too. Where I before had some confidence that I could follow and often achieve my personal wishes and preferences, it’s not like that anymore. At least, it seems to not be that way anymore. As a friend of mine said, there is my will, and your will, and then there’s God’s will. There is a sense of surrendering my personal will and preferences to God’s will, and much in me opposes it while it at the same time really wants it. It brings up neediness and fears in me. What if I won’t get what I want? What if I won’t get to fill the hole in me the way I thought I would fill it? There may be other, and more deeply satisfying, ways of filling those holes. And I don’t know what will happen. It may happen the way my personality wishes, and it may not. I don’t know.

Transformation of the personal will

A return to this topic:

It seems the dark night of the soul phase is also a transformation of the personal will. If it’s transformed, what is it transformed from and to?

The initial version of the personal will, the “normal” adult one, is based on preferences mixed in with beliefs and identifications. This one is not always very aligned with (a) what is, life as it shows up, or (b) the inner guidance, the quiet inner voice, the voice of the heart. There is often a struggle between the personal will and what is. And the personal will is often quite noisy compared with the inner guidance and may also – at least at times – intentionally override it. This form of personal will may stay more or less intact during the initial phases of the awakening.

During the dark night of the soul, the personal will is thoroughly humbled. For me, life went against it in many ways at once. The personal will became weak and feeble, and sometimes nearly unfindable. And the personal will was shown to not be “mine” but something life supported for a while in its previous form and not any longer.

What’s it transformed to? I can just say something preliminary about this.

A closer alignment with reality, life as it is.

A closer alignment with the inner guidance.

A willingness to give it all – anything human, any confusion, any situation – to the divine.

Trust in the love and wisdom of life.

Recognition that the personal will, as it shows up, is God’s will. (Without using that to abdicate responsibility.)

Realization of the nature of illusion and reality regarding the personal will. The nature of illusion: the dynamics of preferences, beliefs and the label “personal will” creating the appearance of a personal will. And the nature of reality: this too is presence, awakeness, and can be labeled divine.

Each of these are more thoroughly embodied.

And the first four may be revealed and embodied further as the beliefs and fears bringing us in another direction are identified and inquired into.

Transformation of the personal will

Transformation of the personal will. That seems to be one facet of what I am going through now.

What does it mean? What is it about? What’s the next phase for me here?

Here are some things that come to me:

(a) It’s a closer and more whole hearted alignment with my inner guidance, with the quiet little voice, with the voice of the heart. A large part of this includes noticing identifications – appearing as beliefs and fears – around following this guidance, inquire into these, and find what’s more true for me.

(b) It involves finding love for what is, as it is. Finding love for God’s will, even when it’s different from my own preferences as a human being. Here too, an important aspect is noticing and inquiring into identifications, beliefs and fears.

And it involves other forms of inquiry:

(c) Explore and notice that what a thought may label my will and God’s will both happen within and as awakeness, presence, love.

(d) Inquire into thoughts (fears, complaints) about my will and God’s will, and the labels my will and God’s will.

(e) Explore and notice that what a thought may label my will or personal will is also – as anything else, including identifications etc. – God’s will.

(f) Explore and notice the dynamics of the personal will. How what appears as personal will that’s opposed to God’s will is all created from identifications, from mind holding images and thoughts as true.

(g) Explore and notice the innocence in it all. How a personal will opposed to God’s will comes from a wish to protect this me, comes from deep devotion and love. How it wishes to be met with respect, love and understanding. How it wishes for a deep sense of trust and love. How it is awakeness itself, as anything else.

(h) Holding satsang with my personal will, befriend it. See it’s innocence. It’s love. It’s real nature.

As so much else, it’s an exploration of the nature of illusion – the dynamics of taking images and thoughts as true, and the nature of reality – the real nature of all of this.

Note: I wrote this without much of a plan, so it’s a bit rambling. I could probably easily organize it into three or four categories. (a) Alignment with inner guidance, the voice of the heart. (b) Finding (noticing) love for what is. (c) Inquiry into beliefs and fears around this, including what comes up when I consider following my inner guidance or finding love for what is.

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Trusting God’s will, and finding fears it brings up in me

If what is is God, and God’s will, and God is love, do I trust it?

When I consider this – that what’s here, what happened, what may happen, is not only God itself, but also God’s love and God’s will – what fears does it bring up?

How is it to welcome these fearful images and thoughts, notice they are here to protect me, notice they come from love? How is it to inquire into each of these and find what’s more true for me? What do I find?

Here is some that come up for me:

If I see and feel what’s here (what happened, what may happen) as God’s will/love, what I am most afraid would happen is…..

I wouldn’t take care of myself. I wouldn’t protect myself. Others will see me as an idiot. I will leave humanity behind. (In terms of my view, way of relating to life.) I will be isolated.

I will make myself vulnerable. I will open myself up for bad things happening to me. I will invite in bad things happening to me. I will tell God it’s OK for bad things happening to me. Something bad may happen to me. Something bad can happen to me. It’s possible for something bad to happen to me.

It’s too foreign to me. I won’t be able to complain. I won’t be able to blame others. I will have to take responsibility. I will have to live in integrity. I won’t have a way out. I won’t be up to it. I am not ready for it.

God’s will, my will

If God’s will is what is, then my will is what happens when a thought is taken as true, and I want something else. And when that’s what is, that’s God’s will too. It’s included in God’s will.

So God’s will is equal to my will, since my will is included in God’s will.

And God’s will is not equal to my will, since my will – what happens when I take a thought as true – appears to be in opposition to what is. I tell myself how things are, and that they shouldn’t be that way.

It’s uncomfortable when my will is not equal to God’s will, so how can I invite it to shift?

I can pray let your will be done, and invite in a general shift. I can pray for my enemies, whether they are people, states, or situations. I can inquire into my thoughts – telling me what is isn’t right, find what’s more true for me, and invite in a more finely grained shift in that area.

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Jeff Foster: Even when life doesn’t go ‘your’ way

Even when life doesn’t go ‘your’ way, whatever that means to you, know that life not going ‘your’ way IS the way, at least in this moment. Just stop getting in the way of life…
– Jeff Foster

Inner guidance vs God’s will

I just now did the Big Mind process on what initiated the dark night for me, and it helped me differentiate between my inner guidance and God’s will. In short, when I follow my inner guidance, my inner guidance and God’s will are the same, and if I don’t follow my inner guidance, they are different.

I thought – without even realizing it – that my inner guidance somehow is God’s will, so when I went against my inner guidance, I went against God’s will, and it severed or ruined my connection with God. Through this exploration, I see that it’s more true for me that my inner guidance shows me what’s easy for me, it shows me what will make me feel deeply nourished and on track. God’s will is quite different. Nothing is outside of God’s will, including whether or not I follow my inner guidance. What happened was all included in God’s will. All I did was not follow my inner guidance, because of some fears and beliefs, and that’s quite different. That’s innocent.

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Aligning with reality

Reality is what awakens to itself.

And reality already allows – and shows up as – what’s here, whatever it is: these emotions, these thoughts, this experience, this world.

So I can explore this a few different ways.

(a) To explore if reality already allows what’s here, I can ask myself:

It is true this – this emotion, thought, resistance, pain, experience – is not already allowed? 

Is it true it’s not already awareness?

(b) And I can identify resistant thoughts, write them down, and take them to inquiry.

What are my fears and thoughts about what’s here? 

What do I complain about? Wish was different? Hope for? 

The first is an exploration of God’s will, what’s already here. The second is an exploration of my will. And my will – thoughts taken as true – may then be revealed as God’s will along with everything else.

I may first notice that reality already allows what’s here, and then find myself as it – that which already allows what’s here, including images of me and I, identifying with these images or not, and anything else.

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My Will, Thy Will

What’s my will, what’s Your (God’s) will?

I find three layers here in my own experience.

First two where there is the appearance of my will vs. God’s will.

My will is what happens whenever a thought is taken as true. It’s what’s revealed through question #3 in The Work. Believing any thought – such as “she should do the dishes” – is my will. It’s something that appears to be in opposition to reality, and it can be painful.

When that thought is investigated, there is more receptivity, kindness, access to wisdom, and so on. For instance, I may lie in bed thinking I should get up, wanting myself to get up, and there is struggle. Or I may lie in bed with curiosity about when this body will get out of bed, watching and noticing. In the first case, “my will” creates struggle and drama. In the second, it just happens. Any thought can be used as an example here. I believe my body should be healthier, and there is stress and struggle. My will is for my body to be healthier, and reality – in my mind – is different, so there is struggle. I investigate that thought and find something else is more true, and there is more alignment with reality, kindness, peace, and access to practical wisdom. Finding what’s more true for me than the initial belief gives a sense of aligning myself more with reality, with God’s will.

And when all of this is investigated a bit closer, what’s revealed is that it’s all God’s will. Getting caught in a belief, finding more clarity, it’s all God’s will. Whatever is here is God’s will.

What’s here is God’s will. And that includes any impulse to act, do something, change something.



God’s will

God’s will.

Those two simple words are fertile ground for exploration.

What is God’s will?

When I look, I find it is what is. This is God’s will.

If God is another name for reality, for all there is, then God’s will is what is.

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