Can the human mind ever truly know God? Let's put that question aside for a moment and focus upon another closely related one, can we ever truly know another person? Let's say you met Frank yesterday, Frank had long hair, a wife, and he mentioned he was afraid of heights. You take in all these things and create a mental image of Frank, now you know him. The problem is, earlier today Frank got a haircut, a divorce, and he overcame his fear of heights during a skydiving trip. He had quite a busy morning, but this all happened without you knowing, and your mental image of Frank remains the same. What you think you know about Frank, quite frankly, has nothing to do with him anymore. This is one of the issues with knowledge, it's inherently limited and based in the past. You can't know everything that's happening in every moment, and you can't know everything that's going on in another person's inner world. Most people have enough trouble keeping track of everything going on in their own inner world.
People change, they're dynamic living beings, very difficult to know with any certainty, and yet people believe they can know God with certainty? A truly noble quest! For those who choose it, I wish you luck, but in the interest of saving you some trouble I'm going to say right now it's ultimately futile. God is the Eternal Mystery, the Unknowable, the "I Am", not the "I known". There's belief systems that have spent thousands of years attempting to know God, and they're no closer now than when they began. A few even seem to be further away, the belief systems grow more and more complicated, and instead of finding any clarity they just create more confusion.
The Universe is a wonder, there's more happening that you can ever know, and that's perfectly okay, just accept it. The scientific mindset, especially in the West, is that we need to figure everything out, to solve every mystery. The idea that God is a mystery that can't be solved is unacceptable, and this is why atheism is so popular among scientists. They want to believe that every mystery can be solved through science, that it will pick up where religion failed and provide all the answers we're looking for. Yet for all the scientific advances, the core workings of the Universe still remain a mystery. For every question that's answered, ten more questions pop up. Science keeps pointing to a Universe that's more complex than we can even imagine. This shouldn't disappoint scientists at all, in fact they ought to be happy about it as it means they'll never be out of work to do.
So if we can't truly know God, what do we do now, is the search for God futile? Absolutely! The problem with searching for God is that you assume God is lost and you need to go find God. God's not lost, you are. When you find yourself again, you get God as a bonus prize, because you were never really separate to begin with. Searching for God is like a fish in the ocean searching for water, it begins with faulty assumptions and flawed knowledge. Empty your cup, then you'll have another chance to fill yourself up with your own Divine Presence. How do you know that all your knowledge is true anyway? It's most certainly not, and enormous amounts of what you know to be "true" was simply accepted unconsciously. Question every bit of it.
Now I'm not saying knowledge is a bad thing, there's nothing wrong with knowledge. I just don't recommend being so damned attached to it, or believing that you can reach that which is Unlimited through an inherently limited mind. If you're focusing upon mental knowledge, it makes things all the more difficult to simply Be Present. You can try to know everything there is to know about trees, yet not see the amazing and unique work of art each tree truly is. Life is not something you need to figure out, this is why it's repeatedly said to get out of your mind and into your heart. Truly live your life and you will start to rediscover the magic and wonder that's always been there.
The Galactic Free Press
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Bonus Taoist content:
The Way of Chuang Tzu
Knowledge wandered north
Looking for Tao, over the Dark Sea,
And up the Invisible Mountain.
There on the mountain he met
Non-Doing, the Speechless One.
"Please inform me, Sir,
By what system of thought
And what technique of meditation
I can apprehend Tao?
By what renunciation
Or what solitary retirement
May I rest in Tao?
Where must I start,
What road must I follow
To reach Tao?"
Such were his three questions.
Non-Doing, the Speechless One,
Made no reply.
Not only that,
He did not even know
How to reply!
Knowledge swung south
To the Bright Sea
And climbed the Luminous Mountain
Called "Doubt's End."
Here he met
Act-on-Impulse, the Inspired Prophet,
And asked the same questions.
"Ah," cried the Inspired One,
"I have the answers, and I will reveal them!"
But just as he was about to tell everything,
He forgot all he had in mind.
Knowledge got no reply.
So Knowledge went at last
To the palace of Emperor Ti,
And asked his questions of Ti.
"To exercise no-thought
And follow no-way of meditation
Is the first step toward understanding Tao.
To dwell nowhere
And rest in nothing
Is the first step toward resting in Tao.
To start from nowhere
And follow no road
Is the first step toward attaining Tao."
Knowledge replied: "You know this
And now I know it. But the other two,
They did not know it.
What about that?
Who is right?"
Only Non-Doing, the Speechless One,
Was perfectly right. He did not know.
Act-on-Impulse, the Inspired Prophet,
Only seemed right
Because he had forgotten.
As for us,
We come nowhere near being right,
Since we have the answers.
"For he who knows does not speak,
He who speaks does not know"
And "The Wise Man gives instruction
Without the use of speech."
This story got back
Who agreed with Ti's
Way of putting it.
It is not reported
That Non-Doing ever heard of the matter
Or made any comment.
The Tao that can be spoken is not the eternal Tao
The name that can be named is not the eternal name
The nameless is the origin of Heaven and Earth
The named is the mother of myriad things
Thus, constantly without desire, one observes its essence
Constantly with desire, one observes its manifestations
These two emerge together but differ in name
The unity is said to be the mystery
Mystery of mysteries, the door to all wonders