Six Ways to Remember God

Religions generally have four ways to remember God:

  1. Prayer
  2. Scripture
  3. Ritual
  4. Art

In Christianity, there are set prayers, such as the Lord’s Prayer, the Hail Mary and the Jesus Prayer, as well as petitionary prayers and “freestyle” prayers where God inwardly teaches the soul the right way to pray. The other three ways involve reading the Bible, especially the Gospels, attending a church service and/or taking Holy Communion and engaging in sacred art and music.

I have two other ways to remember God:

  1. Mantras
  2. Entheogens

I call my main mantra “The God Mantra” (see the blog post of that name) and I sometimes call psychedelics “entheogens”, which means “generators of God within”.

The distractions of everyday life make it difficult to keep your mind rooted in God, to practice the presence of God. It takes the same conscious effort as being in the here and now, or being aware that you are aware (Self-remembering). Ultimately these three practices converge in the same experience of Zen flow.

Religious people have access to the first four ways, and sometimes (Hindus and Buddhists for example) to the fifth. The rare religious believers with shamanic sympathies (or practicing shamans) who take psychedelics potentially have access to all six ways. SBNR (spiritual but not religious) people who take psychedelics have access to two or three at most, since they are unlikely to regularly attend religious services, read sacred scriptures or pray.

Non-religious people who take psychedelics may not have access to any of the ways, since they don’t regard psychedelics as entheogens, are unlikely to frame their experiences in an explicitly spiritual manner, and are unlikely to have powerful and compelling mystical experiences in the first place. (For some reflections on why this is so, see my post Why Naturalists Don’t Get High.)

Nominal Christians go to church once a week (usually less) and only occasionally read the Bible. They only pray in times of particular stress and mostly disapprove of psychedelics. So although they consider themselves to be religious, they don’t actually “remember” God very much at all. They are too busy with their lives. Their minds are on other things.

Religious, SBNR or atheist, most people don’t “know” or “remember” God at all. These are really just identity markers, which define people as members of particular social groups with particular views and tastes. Their predominant motivation in life is to be successful and respected members of their respective tribes.

Those who have had direct experiences of God or the Divine, however, have a very different motivation. They may have had one or several mystical experiences, but for them that isn’t enough. There is no resting on your laurels when it comes to the true, living God. The goal of the genuine mystic is to sustain the vision, to keep faithful to it, to keep the covenant and commandments, to remain in the presence of God, to pray without ceasing, to live a life of meditation and service, to worship, give thanks and praise, and do everything to the glory of God.