When I was a young teenager, I studied Buddhism and found there the concept of each individual as a spark of the universal consciousness. There were meditative methods - not at all easy to do - intended to help the person attain a higher level of that consciousness for themselves. Mystical (as opposed to orthodox) Christianity also gave me the concept of God as the quality of Love, and that when we love (that is to say accept unconditionally) we are part of God. As the saying goes, "When we love, we are the universe and the universe lives in us" --O. Pirmez.
Later on, as a psychologist, I found that the rational and behavioral understandings of psychology were just as important as the more esoteric understandings to do with higher consciousness, and in fact each needed the other to provide a true and holistic picture of things. I put my awakening comprehension of all this together in a book, 'Transforming the Mind,' that has been freely available on trans4mind.com ever since.
Clearly the mystical and the everyday practicalities of life are just parts of the one picture. God is not to be found only in esoteric concepts but also in the hills and fields and in everyday relations. The Creator is equally a part of the Created. Cause and effect are intertwined. Understanding is to be found in realizing that the layered or hierarchic structure of our world actually has a unity.
As individuals, our being has several components: consciousness; mental processes; emotions; and the physical. One depends on the other. Even the layers of our brain - the cortex, limbic system and primitive/reptilian - correspond to our head, heart and gut. Each can do nothing much on its own.
At the cosmic level, too, God can be perceived as being of Spirit, Mind and Body. The Spirit is will, under Love, the essential nature. The Mind is non-local fields of information and the integration of all intentions. The feelings of God's body-mind are the flows of energies between us all. The Body is the Universe. And perhaps this pattern is repeated in several planes, separated by vibrational qualities, but in truth all One.
We function in the world according to our programming. This software is in our minds and the hardware is our body computer/robot. We are largely unaware that we can actually change this programming, switch one program for another, or actually to rise above the level of mind and write new programs for ourselves as the meta-programmer. We can do this as individuals and we can do this as humanity; it is our God-like spiritual nature. But first we have to come to terms with reality...
Any person is of the opinion that he is 'right' in what he believes - otherwise he wouldn't believe it. But he can have all sort of misconceptions, misinterpretations, false information and delusions, and be holding fast onto them in order to be right. The fundamental elements of his belief system, the things that have made sense of past confusions for him, are not changeable by reasoning alone because they are held in place by force - by an unwillingness or inability to face up to certain things.
The only way that I know of to resolve this impasse is through examining the reality of our present existence with ruthless honesty. Done with integrity, this can help one to see, bit by bit, the truths underlying our mental distortions. Thus one may gain understanding, and the ability to live consciously, to be one's true self, in those areas where one had shut off one's vision.
By increasing understanding one is increasing awareness of truth, and then in life one needs to actually face that reality with equanimity and take responsibility. Without actually putting our insight into action, it soon tends to be forgotten and the body-mind programming (the habit patterns of many years) take over again. Without such integrity of application, even extensive work on ourselves can become a charade.
The cycle of manifestation is Be - Do - Have. We first need to adopt the right way of being, then our actions and achievement will follow. To manifest our will, we need to remove the barriers of time (by visualizing what we will as already come to pass, in the ever-present now), of conflict (by recognizing we fully deserve to have), and of disconnection (by gratefulness). And we need to act with integrity to our feelings, so that the levels of life can become integrated and the spiritual moves into the physical.
It certainly is possible to regain causation in life. One is then motivated again because one has recovered one's true identity and is aware of one's own goals. What were previously heavy and serious problems are now games to enjoy. One is truly happy with renewed purposes that provide energy and excitement. Life finally makes sense.
My goal in life has been to break free of the consensus trance, to find instead my own truth and to help others find their own truth also. To transform and be free, like a caterpillar becomes a butterfly. Because we are each such different individuals, with personal goals and at different stages on our various paths, I have found there is no singular tool for transformation, there are many, and I've tried to select good ones for my web site, Trans4mind. Some of the tools have a masculine or feminine feel, a left-brain or right brain dominance, an intellectual or intuitive approach. Ultimately, however, I believe we need to integrate these polarities and develop both sides equally and together, for our being contains all of these. A certain tool may be right for us now but later we will probably need the help of another kind of tool that is not currently appropriate for us. Development is also hierarchic, one skill makes another possible and the correct order needs to be followed.
For some people, they find the concept of God as a personality - an all-powerful guy up there who knows them and looks after them - to be supportive and helpful. It's a belief they have faith in and - whatever one might say about the rationality of that belief - if that is a loving God then it can support a spiritual view and understanding of life that has as its essential core, again, the quality of Love. So it is not so far removed from the truth. Though if the nature of God is distorted, the belief can be twisted to point in the other direction, viz. the history of religious persecution and wars.
For those who believe in a 'personal' God, the book 'How to Find Your Way Back Home' is an excellent guide, pointed in the direction of Love and truth. It is written by Bess S. Permut who is a graduate student of philosophy and psychology, and has taught Spiritual Awareness for over 40 years.You can download a free sample chapter.