What Do You Call God?

Deepening My Connection with Source

I don’t like the word God. There I said it. Please stay with me here. I don’t mean to offend. I am not saying I don’t believe in ‘God’ or that I am not devoted to ‘God’. I want to open a loving conversation about the connotations of this word that often alienate people away from ‘God’. My prayer is that we explore and include different interpretations of the one true Light of ‘God’. To end the separation within our communities in how we perceive ‘God’ and speak about ‘God’.

The word God is not a peaceful and loving conjuring for me. Without going into too much story, the word for me is loaded with negative and painful connotations. Although I’ve tried and tried, I just can’t get past it. Whenever I am in good-intentioned places with good-intentioned people who use the word ‘God’ I do an automatic flip to: Existence, Love, Universe, Mystery, the Divine or Light. These are interchangeable for me. They all give me a sense of connection to the Divine source, to Oneness. I am comforted by the expansive, inclusive and benevolent meanings that are, for me, imbued in these words. I know that’s what the word God means to many people.

What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet. – Shakespeare

Words have power and deep significance. Sadly this word was used as a threat for me, a punishment, a means of control. Paradoxically it suppressed any creative expression or exploration of the divine joy of my ‘God-self’. By God-self I mean living as a ‘child’ of ‘God’ – an expression of God. It’s taken me many years to unravel the mysteries of my greatest relationship on Earth: the philosophical and experiential journey home to myself … Which for me is a coming home to ‘God’.

I once did a powerful spiritual retreat that took me deep into locked pain and trauma in my body. A physical-journey to find the root blockage and then using radical forgiveness and compassion to release it. It was magical. For the first time in my adult life, I had glimpses of what I innately knew as a baby and small child; when I was still very close to the source of my human creation. A ‘time’ before any false and defensive ‘me’ was formed in order to survive in this world. I blissfully remembered the experience when Trust and Love governed my wide-eyed curiosity of this wonderful, perplexing, contradictory, joyous, painful and curious life on Earth.

Even though I was a novice in the world of self-exploration and self-enquiry, so many painful jigsaw pieces fell into harmonious place. I felt reassured, hopeful. I had an awakening of sorts … the first true ‘conscious’ or cognisant awareness that I was more than my conditioned self. I was much more than the limitations and ideas of myself. I was not just an ego construct. EGO – Eases God Out.

During this ‘awakening’ I felt like a tiny bird in a tiny cage on the edge of the Universe staring back at planet Earth. The cage door had just been opened. I was perched looking into the Mystery of this realm. I was lost but unafraid. The magnitude of this experience was cellular and human, and simultaneously, intergalactic and otherworldly. I wrote the following lines immediately after this process …

Everybody is teaching me to open my heart and let God in
I now know, all I need to do is, open my heart and let God out.

This was a great comfort to me. A catalyst for that inaugural flight, to start the long journey home. For some people the flight is short. The truth is we are already home (with ‘God’ and of ‘God’). It would be more accurate to say, ‘the journey of remembering that we are already home’. But again language trips us up and falls short. The closer we circle towards home the more and more silence will guide us inwards … language will always be of the Mind. It does not mean that we cannot have fun striving to express the inexpressible: Poets try, artists try, musicians try, mothers and fathers try, lovers try … some even get exquisitely close.

I was dead. I came alive. I was tears, I became laughter. All because of Love, my temporal life, from then on changed to eternal. – Rumi

I have struggled with being here on planet Earth. For me, the feeling, because of religious ideology and indoctrination, was that I was ostracised here on Earth and far from ‘God’ and ‘heaven’. I was angry with ‘God’ for taking me so far away from the Light, the Truth of Oneness, The Divine. I have been perplexed and stunted with the endless questions of why have I been exiled here on Earth …

“Why has ‘God’ forsaken me?” There has never been a more sorrowful victim song than this. And yet it has been my ‘reality’; my direct human pain-body experience. It has been my longing, my prayer and sometimes my only connection back to the Divine, a way to stay close to God. I understand the irony of my faith in pleading with a presence that I believe has abandoned me. I am reminded of this powerful poem that always gives me a reality check and a kick out of existential victimhood.

Footprints in the Sand (Original Author Unknown)

One night I dreamed a dream.
As I was walking along the beach with my Lord.
Across the dark sky flashed scenes from my life.
For each scene, I noticed two sets of footprints in the sand,
One belonging to me and one to my Lord.
After the last scene of my life flashed before me,
I looked back at the footprints in the sand.

I noticed that at many times along the path of my life,
especially at the very lowest and saddest times,
there was only one set of footprints.
This really troubled me, so I asked the Lord about it.
“Lord, you said once I decided to follow you,
You’d walk with me all the way.
But I noticed that during the saddest and most troublesome times of my life,
there was only one set of footprints.
I don’t understand why, when I needed You the most, You would leave me.”
He whispered, “My precious child, I love you and will never leave you
Never, ever, during your trials and testings.
When you saw only one set of footprints,

It was then that I carried you.”

This poem helps me understand why, at the start of my remembering who I truly am, it is helpful to personify Oneness in the form of ‘God’. I recognise that language is a ladder to the stars … to the infinite mystery. On my continued remembering of who I truly am and in my current state of awareness the poetic statement I wrote after that above process of forgiveness and compassion is no longer true. It feels inauthentic to imagine me letting God in or out, no matter how much it served my old consciousness. Naturally, without that stepping stone I could not write the following statement:

Love is. I am Love. Love is communing with Love.

I recognise that Ego and ‘God’ are opposite sides of the same coin. All concepts that I have of ‘God’ arise from the Mind. The only true resonance as Oneness is when I throw the coin away. I imagine it flying past me, travelling billions of years backwards, and landing in that tiny little birdcage I once knew, at the edge of the Universe. I know that when I am in the direct experience of Love expressing Love, when there is no separation or idea or sense of ‘I’ or ‘Self’, language will dissolve into the infinite explosion of Silence. A silence so full that it contains all sound and light and ‘Truth’ – a truer word will never need to be spoken.


What do you call ‘God’? How is language useful or not useful for you in remembering who you truly are? How is silence for you? Where and how do you commune with ‘God’? Does the mystery and conundrum of life inspire you to find words, music, dance, or any other expression to feel closer to the Mystery?

We’d love to hear from you in the comments below. And also if you have written a poem, a story, a prayer … we’d love to publish it on our wonderful Community Contributions Page.

Much love always,


BY Paul C Pritchard



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3 years ago

I can totally respect your need for a name for God that doesn’t trigger memories and feelings from past abuse. I have a good friend who cannot conceptualize God as “Father” because her earthly father physically and emotionally abused her.

I have had my share of religious and emotional abuse and this makes a lot of sense to me. However, before the abuse started, I had some sense of a benevolent God. I remember being four years old and asking, “Where is God?” My sister pointed up and for a while I thought God lived in our attic. I remember being five or six and hearing a sermon at church on John 8:32 – “And you shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.” I was so impressed by this that I wrote it on a scrap of paper when I got home, which totally amazed my grandmother.

I agree that we do partake of the Divine when Jesus lives in our hearts. But before that can happen, we have to have an understanding that our mistakes, rebellions against what we know is right, and just generally missing the mark separate us from the perfection (holiness) known as God (or as you call Him, “The Divine.” We can’t have oneness until we are in harmony.

Those mistakes, rebellions, and missing the mark are more widely called “sins.” Jesus Christ came to our realm and took on flesh that He allowed to be beaten, mocked, scourged almost to death, and finally hung on a cross to die because He didn’t agree with the religious leaders of His day. And in the midst of unbearable pain, the Father laid on Him the sins of this world – yours, mine, everyone’s, for all time. Every sin you or I ever committed, from birth to death, has already been forgiven by the substitutionary death of Jesus in our place. But such a gift (relationship, eternal life) requires only two things: request for the forgiveness that was prepared for you personally, and an honest effort to walk in harmony with His truths and teachings. This is called “repentance.” There are all these churchy words to describe all that I’ve just shared, but salvation and an everlasting relationship with God were made to be simple. He knows our faults and failings and loves us anyway. Look at what Jesus suffered for proof of the kind of love He has for us.

I’ve been a Christian all my life, but after all the child abuse I didn’t feel in my heart of hearts that I was “lovable.” I’m 48 and just in the last year or so have I begun to feel His love for me on a daily basis. He had to do a lot of healing over time to get me to this point; but His love is lavish and it never gives up. But believe me when I say, it was all worth it. His love is unimaginably comforting, secure, and personal.

3 years ago

You are SO right! Words, and their associations, are so powerful. Thank you for putting into words what I’ve been struggling with all my life due to early, toxic teachings. I shall use another word for ‘God’ and I think that will make a huge difference.

Halina Goldstein
3 years ago

I love this article. So much resonance and so many parallels, in our journeys too. Thank you for your courage to share it.

darinka scriven
3 years ago

Love is my God and although I do not use the word, I found love was within me and around me and I was free. I do not judge, it is not my right, I have no weapons, I have no hate, I am me and all that I am and all that I do I share with love and compassion because I am free. My spirit keeps me still and in turn I help those that cannot help themselves. Thank you for the kind words it keeps me in my peace. I wish for love and peace to all beings and all that lives and breathes because I am free.

3 years ago

This is why we can the creator. “I am”. fill in the blank. The creator of the universe is not a male or female but a Spirit who loves you and wants a relationship with you. it is promised “if you seek Me you will find Me”. this is why there is the parable of the shepard finding the lost sheep comes in. The creator will find you where you are at IF you seek. Understanding you are comfortable in your sins. You must be willing to leave “self” and selfishness behind and so here is the hard part which is SUBMIT. that might mean you cannot live they way it feels good to you because the creator has other plans for you. This is the part about picking up your cross and following that left the “rich you ruler” behind.

3 years ago

A long time ago, after spending many years dedicated to learning more about myself as a spiritual being and interacting with Spirit, it was ‘given’ to me that everything was ‘God’. Ever since, my ‘name’ for the Deity is ‘All That Is’.

Natali Anam Àire
4 years ago

Dear Friends!

This is absolutely beautiful and also true for me, my way about God whom I call the eternal source of all life. I also have this “struggle” about the word God, but it’s gradually getting better…

Lots of Love,

Saran Lauwers
4 years ago

Thanks Paul. For me GODESS is LOVE. I am GOD. I am LOVE. I AM.

Jeanne Rose
4 years ago

Thank you so much for writing this article, it made me smile just reading the first sentence! I, too, feel the very same thing. I don’t like the word God, and never use it. Growing up, God to me was a being who is ever controlling, who watches and criticizes every move and is able to fan the fires of hell for you when you misbehave. I prefer to think of this life as an ongoing classroom where we learn that we are not perfect, that we can and do make mistakes and that we are not judged for our errors. When it’s my time to go ‘back home’ I hope that it will be as I imagine – sliding in, smiling, and saying ‘what a ride’ ! Thanks again.

olga sapiains
4 years ago

wonderfull path into the awareness of our divinity

Manuela Meier
4 years ago

Absolutely inspiring text. Paul, we may use it as a spiritual text on our Gentle Art of Blessing website if it is OK with you. With full credit of course. Pierre Pradervand wrote a beautiful short piece on identity which you might enjoy https://gentleartofblessing.org/i-am-love-a-meditation-or-prayer-on-identity/

4 years ago

Heard Hell Fire & Brimstone at an early age and was bored but Dad said we needed to go to church. Then became more interested in a new Minister who spoke of LOVE & hinted of DIVINITY. And then had a study group where we read and discussed the book, “God Is Dead”. A first experience where I was encouraged to think for myself without any judgment. That minister was black-balled out of the Convention. The final blow came when a Black couple came to service and sat in a pew “owned” by some little ole ladies $$$.That was it. I couldn’t associate with thoughts/behavior like that. Nature was my church, animals were the congregation.
Then Mysteries crept in. Got back to my childhood intuition. Got life. Got cancer. The Mysteries surrounded me. I raged and cursed out of fear. then one day the thought popped into my mind-“Hay wake-up, you’re DIVINE and so is everybody else. The veil was lifted. When I told some of my “Church” friends this, they looked confused and asked where I got that. I replied that that’s what came to me and I believe it and it’s the truth to me. I feel it. We’re all part of the “hood”-Father-Mother and children. Jesus is our Brother. And I believe he came to tell me/us who we really are. And I believe there is no sin-except forgetting our Divinity. That’s the guidance we are given-LOVE ourselves so that we in turn can love our father/mother/sisters/brothers. And the other guidance is TRUTH in thought, word & deed.And from this Love and Truth of who we ARE, we have great power to create and heal ourselves, others and our worlds.

4 years ago

Wow beautiful words. Letting God out has given me a totally new concept of what I have been lead to believe. During my recovery I can feel God/Universe within. I too have a notion from my childhood re heaven and hell which was deeply entrenched in my ego. My search was long and arduous. But I was looking in the wrong place for many years. Thank you God/Universe for setting me free. Love always Wendy.

Ellen Swanson
4 years ago

My favorite “Footprints” version, also author unknown:

The dream: You and the Divine are walking down the road together. For much of the way, the footprints of the Divine go along steadily, consistently, rarely varying in pace. But your footprints are a disorganized stream of zigzags, starts, stops, turnarounds, circles, departures, and returns. Gradually your footprints become more in line with the Divine’s, soon paralleling them constantly. You and the Divine are walking as true friends.

This seems perfect, but then an interesting thing happens; your footprints that once etched the sand next to the Divine, are now walking precisely in the steps of the Divine. Inside the large footsteps are your smaller ones. Safely you and the Divine are becoming one.

This goes on for many miles, but gradually you notice another change. The smaller footprints inside the larger ones begin to grow. Eventually they disappear altogether; there is only one set of footprints; they have become one.

This goes on for a long time. Suddenly the second set of footprints is back. This time it seems even worse! Zigzags all over the place. Stops. Starts. Deep gashes in the sand. A veritable mess of prints. You are amazed and shocked. Your dream ends.

You speak with the Divine, saying, “I understand the scene with the zigzags at first. I was new and just learning, and you walked through the storm and helped me walk with you.”

“That’s correct.”

“And when the smaller footprints were inside yours, I was actually learning to walk in your steps; I followed you very closely.”

“You have understood everything so far.”

“And when the smaller footprints grew and filled yours, I suppose I was becoming like you in every way.”


“So, was there a regression or something? The footprints separated and this time was worse than the first?”

“You didn’t know? That was when we danced.”

4 years ago

Grateful to read this today. I learn from your journey as your words meet me where I am.
Agai, gracias.

David Sholemson
4 years ago

Think Less…Feel More. It’s all about feeling from your true self. When you just know and feel love and inner peace and joy you are tapping into divinity. Agreed. There are no words. We are here on earth to find our way home to the divine. It takes many lives. Be patient and keep working at it! lol

romain goorman
4 years ago

Meister Eckart once said: “God, set me free from God”. This little sentence summarizes it all.
The word “God” is probably the most abused and misunderstood word on this planet.
Once we start using words to talk about the “unspeakable” we loose the essence of what it is. Only silence and deep introspection and/or meditation can give us a glimpse of the unspeakable.

Marion Hubbard
4 years ago

Thank-you. Some more words to try to express the inexpressible: What is God? The inner field of transcendental intelligence or the ‘transcendental reality’ is experienced in transcendental meditation. Transcendental reality is the source of creativity and transcendental intelligence is ‘creative intelligence’. With lower duality consciousness the egoic mind objectifies the transcendental reality, making it an object separate from itself, creating a mental concept, giving it a separate personhood and calling it ‘God’. In this way, the God concept becomes a projection of the ego and God becomes a separate deity. As a projection, God is created in the image of the human mind which created it. The mind then justifies the projection by claiming that the human is made ‘in the image of God’. In the context of most organized religions, God as a concept is a mind-made construct, and so a function of the ego. With higher non-duality consciousness of ego-transcendence, the transcendental reality is merged with the subjective self, making it a subjective experience. In this way, God is experienced as higher transcendental consciousness, pure consciousness or ‘God-consciousness’. This explains Jung’s answer “I know God” when he was asked the question “Do you believe in God?”. The question is asked as if God is a construct of the mind and the answer points to the fact that God is the transcendental reality of ego-transcendent experience.

Tay Scott
4 years ago

How refreshing to hear how others deal with this – I, too, avoid “God” because it brings up “judgement” and “heaven and hell” – things I don’t equate with “The Source.” In speaking, I usually say “Goddess” – because that’s different from what most expect to hear(because most seem to be into the judging Father god who sweeps you to heaven or hell on death)- but I don’t really believe Source is male or female… it’s both and everything. (I wish there was a word for us to use for this… the Ineffable oneness… the conscious infinite longing to feel everything.) And I believe God/dess is Love experiencing Love thru us. There was a line from the movie “Winter’s Tale” – where Russell Crowe said that God loves a good fight… that got me thinking more about “love” – that it isn’t necessarily “kind and gentle and good.” Finally – I love your phrase “to let God out.” That is so meaningful to me… (as allowing our Souls their expression – seeing Souls as passengers – Souls as God/dess experiencing our loves thru our forms as no other can feel.) Thank You!

John R DiVerdi
4 years ago

I use the terms “God/Universe” together depending on who I am speaking to. If I know someone follows a Christian religion(like myself), I usually just say “God”. If I know someone is Spiritual, or of another faith, I’ll say “Universe” more. As far as letting God out, If God and/or his attributes do dwell inside of me, I could never presume to be on the same level as He/She/They. We are to serve. Thus that puts us not on the same plane as the creator. Just my two cents. Thanks!

4 years ago

We are infinite beings from all walks of life God in all seasons and the divine light of our universal language the mysteries and wonders of our Planet in Genesis the world was void Planetariums and matter carried forward with ideology and Humanitarianism

4 years ago

This is one of the most memorable reads I had in a long time. When reading and re reading many many times the words reached a very deep place in my heart and soul. I felt connected, loved, that it’s safe for me to be vulnerable, there are others like me and energized to continue on my path.
With all the gratitude and love.

Dirk Schulz
4 years ago

I really like the way you approach this sensitive topic. There is truly so much more beyond our perception when it comes to the divine. Sometimes I think to myself how can we even act in the name of something we really have no clue about. And that´s where the suffering comes in. To let God finally out is a great and important way to open up and let divine energy flow it´s natural ways. Paul, thank you for sharing these eye opening words …

Catherine Sherlock
4 years ago

A lovely article. I tend not to use the word God (with my outside voice). I do on the inside because I know what I mean. My favourite pointer is ‘Mystery’, but there are so many.

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