About fifteen years ago, my sister Gail offered this confident refutation of my “high religion” approach to spirituality: “Jim, I’ll tell you where I see God. I see God inside people, inside the people around me, inside myself.”

“Unacceptable,” I thought at the time. “That’s so humanistic and so belittling to God.”

On the other hand, this came from my sister Gail — the gifted mother of a beautiful family. And I know well that she has pursued a life of sincere, consistent, and responsible spirituality. Gail’s simple words still ring, loudly, in my ears.

So far as I know, Gail does not consider herself to be a Christian. Nevertheless, what she said does seem to have much in common with the spirituality taught by Jesus.

‘I am in the Father…’

Sitting at the table of the Last Supper, Jesus engaged in a penetrating conversation with the apostles. At one point, Phillip became exasperated with the degree of faith his master seemed to require. Across the table, he blurted out: “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.”

Jesus answered Phillip, “…Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father….How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing His work.”

Jesus’ admonishment to Phillip is not so different from the wisdom I received from my sister Gail. Could the presence, the divinity, the omnipotence of God actually reside within something as limited as a human being?

Love resonates

Certainly, Jesus must have been speaking from an exclusive position? Wasn’t he a unique and special case?

In a speech in 1992, Rev. Sun Myung Moon explained that Jesus was not unique in this respect, but rather served as an example.

“Songs, dancing, and art are ways that human beings respond to God’s joy and laughter. On the other hand, without love, singing, dancing and art are to no purpose. The core of art is love. For the love of the world God comes down and resonates with us through singing, dancing, and art.”

Rev Moon’s message seems to be that God is eager and expectant to “resonate” with each one of us.

Religions have tended to view God as almighty, distinct, and perfect, detached from our messiness, our suffering, our infighting. And yet, it seems that each of us has the same potential as Jesus, the ability to “resonate” on the same wavelength with God?

With this understanding and these scriptures in mind, it is interesting to consider the analogy of a pair of tuning forks. What if we are designed to resonate with God in the same way tuning forks resonate with one another?

Consider two tuning forks of identical shape. If you strike one fork against a hard surface and then immediately hold it closely beside the other, the second tuning fork will soon resonate with the exact same frequency and tone as the first. Without touching each other, the tuning forks resonate together at the exact same vibration and, therefore, the same pitch.

Same shape, same vibration, same pitch.

Passion and meaning in life

In fact, the first book of the Bible describes God’s intention to shape us just like Him:

“So God created mankind in His own image, in the image of God He created them; male and female He created them.”

Perhaps we are shaped to be perfect complements to God, with the potential to resonate fully with God’s love, just like a matching tuning fork! Jesus understood this essential truth and was comfortable expressing his oneness with the Father, in spite of doubters like Phillip or Thomas.

This understanding of human spirituality tells us something wonderful about natural and sought-after experiences of human life. Experiences such as:

The emotional inspiration of dance and music
The thrill and intensity of rigorous athleticism
The overwhelming power of love and sexuality
The demanding emotional intimacy of parenthood
The excitement of challenging outdoor adventure
The genius of creative design and craftsmanship

These are the types of experiences that bring passion and meaning to people’s lives. Why so? Is it because there is something “spiritual” about them? Does investment of love and creativity open a connection, in some small way, to a higher consciousness or even to God?

And so, if each of us can connect and resonate with God through dance, sports, sexuality, parenthood, or even exploring the outdoors, perhaps encountering God is not only about going to church. Perhaps it is a matter of genuinely looking for God’s vibration in every experience of our life, and even, as my sister once told me, “inside every person.”-

Now, we ask for your help. Can you contribute to our shared understanding on this topic? We invite you to “add value” (rather than just telling us you agree or disagree). Please add a reference, a counter- argument, an insight, a nuance. Combining the “Conversation Starter” (above) with selected reader comments (below), we will eventually produce and post a “White Paper” on this important topic. The author/host will review each submission for appropriateness and relevancy before posting.

What are your thoughts?

-Have you ever been awestruck by nature, a work of art, or a piece of music? Have you ever experienced tears of love or compassion from your parents or towards a friend or child? Did you ever sit down after an overwhelming emotional experience and wonder what had just occurred? What do you think occurred in these instances?

-Do you think it possible to experience God or the Divine in any circumstance, or is it more limited to specific conditions or experiences?

-What do you think life is like for those who look to see God or the Divine in every person?

-Do you think resonance with the Divine comes more naturally to some people than others, and if so, why?

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Rob Sayre
Rob Sayre
1 month ago

My wife and I began studying and prating tai-chi some 11 years ago. Besides the many health benefits, it has taught and reinforced the idea that to center our live on a higher purpose or to connect with this, with God we need to first clear our minds. In the language of this article, to be “in tune” with the divine, we first need to calm or clear our mind. The practice of tai-chi has done this for us. It is moving meditation along with breathing. Once your mind is clear, you can center your mind then on a higher… Read more »

John Hessell
3 months ago

We can resonate with others when we make music. Some of my best memoires are of a band in my younger years. I happen to know that this author is an avid musician, which validates his credentials.

John Hessell
3 months ago

Resonance is the right word for being ‘in tune’ with God, and a tuning fork is the right metaphor. Thanks for that great insight!

Robin Graham
Robin Graham
5 months ago

I am reminded of a conversation with my sister… also some years ago. Maybe1987.For context: my sister had gone to a church affiliated school in the UK. Most people tended to grow up at least nominally Christian. My sister was. Unfortunately, her second child died early on due to SIDS or “crib death”. At the funeral. the priest said that 6 weeks old Victoria had “gone to a better place”. Good bye to the church, and a huge distance in any relalionship with God. For my sister what better place could there be for Victoria than being with her mother… Read more »

6 months ago

I have been thinking alot about this “tuning fork” idea. It is actually a very fundamental principle in the Trager work I have been doing since 1987, my 5Rhythms dance practice and the energy healing work I am doing now. In my world of health and healing, it is resonance that connects us to the experience and expression of our authentic self. In the language of God as I see God, the authentic self is who we truly are as a child of God, in the eyes of God, who we were created to become, connected and resonating with God.… Read more »

Henri Schauffler
Henri Schauffler
7 months ago

Very nice piece, Jim. I love the idea of resonance with God. And yes, I have felt that many times. Believe it or not, it has often been when feeling down over the state of the world and society. In those moments, I realized, “If there is a God, He/She must feel the same, at least, as I do – if not cosmically more intense.”