Who is Like God?

After these discoveries I made about my true identity, "Who is like God?" took on a whole new meaning to me because now I wholeheartedly feel that— I am. That you are. That in reality, God is all there is.

Who is Like God?
Archangel Micheal defeating the devil by Guido Reni in 1636.

The "G" Word

One of the first things I did when I started my self-discovery journey was to research the meaning of my name. I spoke about how impactful names are to our identities in the first newsletter of this month's series, and though I sometimes get annoyed by the fact that my name is shared with so many other people, time has revealed that it was the perfect choice for this incarnation. The name "Micheal" is of Hebrew origin and means "Who is like God?" The legend goes that when Archangel Micheal was preparing to strike the final blow on Satan, he first asked him, "Who is like God?"—rhetorically and sarcastically—because Satan is said to have believed himself to be greater than God. Traditional religion perpetuates this sentiment; I was raised Southern Baptist Christian and was taught that God is all-seeing, all-knowing, all-powerful, and that to even question the authority of God was blasphemy, punishable by eternity in Hell. As you might imagine, this scared the shit out of me as a little boy to the point where if I was watching a show that even joked about God, I became so uncomfortable that I immediately had to change the channel.

Lord Shiva, the image of God that I personally resonate with the most.

This fear of God remained in me for most of my young adult life. For most of that time, I imagined God to be like a person, to think like a person, to have feelings like a person, and to judge and punish like people do. I imagined God to be this all-powerful (but somehow also insecure?) being, who spent all his time watching humans and keeping track of those who dared to disobey him so that he could smite them later. And though I've always considered myself a bit of a philosopher, I never really questioned these beliefs because of my inherited fear of God. That is, until my mom got diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer. Entitlement doesn't always look like expecting to get the things you want. Entitlement can also be expecting to not get things you don't want. When it comes to health and my family, especially my mom, I felt super entitled. Part of the pain of hearing the news of my mom's diagnosis was having to accept the fact that we became a "cancer family," which, in my immature mind, at that time, meant being a "defect family." A pitiful family. I was used to hearing about tragedies affecting other families and pitying them for it—pitying them because God clearly didn't love them enough to prevent misfortune from falling on them—and feeling glad that God loved my religious family so much that nothing really bad ever happened to us.

The image of God I was raised to believe existed — except ours was Black 🙄 lol

So when something really bad did happen to us, I ran through the gamut of emotions. After the shock and dismay wore off a little bit, the prevailing emotion that remained was anger. Specifically, I felt angry at God. So angry that there was no longer any fear in me about the consequences of questioning him. I was no longer afraid of any punishment God could throw at me because it felt like nothing could be worse than the pain of potentially losing my mother. It became hard to believe in God in general at that point. I felt abandoned by a God to whom I'd dedicated so much time and energy during my younger years. I felt abandoned by a God whom my 89-year-old grandmother gets on her knees and prays to every. single. night., without fail, before going to bed. I felt abandoned by a God who I'd believed in, committed to, and publicly defended. The day I found out about my mother's cancer, God gained an enemy. And I became determined to track him down so I could force him to answer my questions. And one day I did find him, but to my surprise, he was not in the clouds, in a temple, or in a book. No, I found God in a very unexpected place — in the closet.

Coming out the Closet

After learning of my mom's diagnosis, I found it hard to focus at work—or do anything except anticipate her death, really. I think I googled "Why do I feel nervous all the time?" and "anxiety" was the first result that appeared. Up until that point, my emotional vocabulary was devoid of the word "anxiety," but learning about it made me realize that it's something I'd dealt with my entire life. This was the first of many ways that the tragedy of cancer ended up blessing me, as it's impossible to heal something you can't identify. One day at work, I found myself having an anxiety attack. My mind was racing at 100 mph, I had the nastiest feeling in the pit of my stomach, and just couldn't escape this sense of impending doom that became so overwhelming that I had to ask my supervisor if I could go home sick. Thankfully, he obliged. I got back to my apartment, and for reasons I can't explain, I felt a strong urge to try to meditate. I say "try" to meditate because I'd tried to meditate a few times prior to that day and either got bored, felt too uncomfortable, or got lost in a fantasy of some sort.

The apartment I lived in at the time had cheap rent, but I definitely got what I paid for, which was paper-thin walls and loud neighbors surrounding me on all sides. This meant the only place in my apartment that was quiet enough for me to meditate without distraction was in my closet. So, I went into my closet, shut the door, found as comfortable of a seat on the floor as my tight hips would allow, closed my eyes, and started to take deep breaths. Instead of focusing on the unending chatter in my head about how awful it would be if my mom died, I just focused on the sound of my breath. I think just how mentally drained I was helped because I felt almost immediate relief from just not having to think for a second. It was like finally finding a piece of shade to rest under after working in the Sun all day. After about 5 minutes, I felt really relaxed. Really calm. My mind had slowed down enough that I could sense some space between my thoughts for the first time ever. Then, suddenly, like a thief in the night, I felt this overwhelming sense of love in the center of my chest. "Love" is the best word I have to describe it, but to be honest, it didn't feel like anything of this world. It felt nothing like the "love" I'd supposedly experienced from others up until that point. And not just love, but also joy, ecstasy, and finally, peace.

It felt Divine. As if, God had finally got the message that I was looking for him and pulled up on me like, "you rang?". And I feel like so much was communicated to me in those moments, not necessarily through words, but through some other form of transmission. A part of the download I received is that I am loved, unconditionally, wholly, completely, without any terms or conditions. That my mother is loved unconditionally as well and that, despite how things might appear, she is totally fine. That love is greater than life and life, at least the way we experience it, is not as important as we think it is. But the biggest and most important download that I got in that closet was that God lives in me. It is without a doubt that what I experienced in that closet did not descend from the heavens and into my body but rather it came out of my own soul. That day was the first time I truly recognized myself as a soul. And that I understood that I am not only human but also, Divine. Believe you me, I know how farfetched this likely sounds and though I've told this story many times, it still makes a me bit uncomfortable to share because I feel it sounds like bullshit. But what has not been bullshit is the fact, not the opinion, that my life was never the same after that moment. I went into that closet only a person but I came out of it Divine.

Actual footage of me coming out that closet 😂🙏🏾

Who is like God?

I've had many mystical experiences since that day in the closet. I don't talk about them often because I don't want to be locked up in the looney bin but the craziest thing about it is, I'm sure you have too. I once ran a poll on my Instagram stories and asked if anyone ever had an experience that they can't explain or that felt not of this world and 90% of people responded "yes." I also don't want people to think that I think that I'm special because of what I've experienced. Because I don't. I know for a fact that the same Divinity that I experienced also exists in you. Because God is not a separate being that rules over and acts independently of everything — God is the energy that creates, sustains, and destroys everything. And who you actually are, beyond your name and your beliefs and your desires and your fears is that same energy.

I speak often about death and the importance of contemplating death, but the truth is, I don't believe in death. I don't think that death actually exists in the way that we imagine. Now, don't get me wrong, one of these ole mornings, this body is going to die. This 6-foot-tall, 190-pound or so sack of meat called "Micheal" will one day return to the dust and ashes it arose from. In less than 100 years, there will be no one on Earth who ever knew that Micheal Sinclair Irby existed. Fortunately for me, Micheal Sinclair Irby is not who I am—it's the name my body was given and that my mind adopted as an identity. However, if you took my name away from me somehow today, I would still be. What I am, and what you are, is the "I am" itself. The "I" I speak of when referring to myself and the "I" you speak of when referring to yourself is the same exact "I." In reality, there is only one being, and it has an infinite amount of eyes that allow it to experience itself from every perspective. When I speak about growing home to Self, this is the Self I'm referring to. The Universal Self. The Self you were before your body was born, and the Self you'll return to once your body dies. The Self that is the happiness, peace, joy, bliss, and ecstasy that is your birthright. And my work is to help you understand all the identities you've adopted during your life and as a soul incarnated in this plane of reality, so that you will eventually transcend those little identities and remember your big identity as life itself.

It's kinda like this!

You are not your body; you are the consciousness, spirit, or soul that fills your body, and you already know this. This is why you say "my body," "my mind," "my arm," "my hand," "my face," as if these are all things that are external to you (because they are). It's kind of like driving a car: while you're driving, you feel one with it, but you also always know that you're not actually the car. Similarly, our souls kind of drive our bodies. And while we are in the body, we feel one with it, but deep down, we all know that we're not the body. What makes someone alive is not a brain or a body but rather consciousness. A body without consciousness is merely food or fertilizer, which means that who you are is not the form you currently occupy but the life that animates the form. The only living "thing" in existence is Spirit itself—everything else, including a lifeless body, is ultimately just inert matter.

Who is like Micheal?

Tattoo of Angel wings that I got for my 29th birthday victory to commemorate my own supposed victory over "Satan". Ironically, it triggered an intense ego death because I didn't really like it when I first got it. An important story for another day.

The way I understand it, "Satan" is a metaphor for the ego and its obsession with convincing us that we are separate in all its devious ways. It is the belief that we are separate that is the underlying cause of all the conflicts in the world. The belief in separation causes greed, fear, lust, desire, envy, hatred, anger, conquest—you name it. Pretty much any negative force you can think of is powered by the belief that you and I are separate. So, what Archangel Micheal was actually defeating wasn't a red, horned, goat-man who literally thought he had more power than God but rather the force within each of our minds that leads us to believe that our individual will, desires, and preferences are greater and of more importance than what's best for the whole. What separates us from our sense of Divinity isn't some malevolent external force tempting us to "sin," but rather the creation of our own minds, fueled by fear, locking us into a limited perspective where we can only see ourselves as human and not recognize the Divine, eternal nature of our being.

After these discoveries I made about my true identity, "Who is like God?" took on a whole new meaning to me because now I wholeheartedly feel that— I am. That you are. That in reality, God is all there is. That separation and independent existence are very convincing illusions that make it appear that there are independent parts of the world that are often in conflict with one another but in reality, all is One. And that everything that happens happens for the benefit of the whole. Now, don't get me wrong, a lot of pain and suffering transpires in this human experience and I won't pretend to completely understand why it's necessary. But if you can humor the idea that life in the physical realm is just a play of sorts, a Divine drama with the purpose of allowing God to experience itself, then suffering no longer carries the weight that it once did. Because ultimately, no one is actually getting hurt. Ultimately, nothing is lost. Ultimately, what we are is beyond the capacity to be affected by anything that transpires in time. And if we can detach from the heaviness that our ego uses to keep us tied down to the density of the physical world, we can become "enlightened", and ascend to a higher level of consciousness, or rather, a higher experience of ourselves and of life in general.

For most of my life, I've felt really lonely because it felt like no one out there understands me. But recently, I've begun to find a lot of peace surrounding this loneliness because I'm realizing that no one will ever understand me. Because they're not supposed to. A big part of embracing our Divinity is embracing the incarnation that we currently embody in all its uniqueness because uniqueness itself is an expression of Divinity. Being unique expressions, we shouldn't be as concerned with others understanding us as we are with understanding ourselves. Because there's no one on earth who can confirm or deny your Divinity—it is something you must seek within yourself, for yourself, and by yourself. And your unique expression of Divinity is your unique path to Divinity for you to explore and discover. The truth is, I am alone. I was born alone. I will die alone. But what gives me peace in knowing that in reality, I am alone is that if you look at "alone" from a slightly different perspective, you'll see that it actually means "all One," and that in reality, I'm never alone—I just have to step out of the illusion of separation to realize it.

Growth Challenge

This week's growth challenge is straightforward.

If you feel comfortable enough in doing so, take this time this week to contemplate God. I know that "God" can be a triggering word so feel free to replace it with any other that'd you'd like. But I'd like to challenge to you to contemplate the concept of God and your relationship with it. Here are some questions that might help your inquiry.

  • Who I am?
  • How do I know who I am?
  • Who is God?
  • How do I know who God is?
  • How do I know where God is?
  • How has my concept of God evolved over time?
  • Is my sense of morality influenced by the belief in a God?
  • What does it mean to be divine?
  • Where do I experience God in my life?
  • What beliefs about God do I need to re-examine?
  • What is the relationship between God and the universe?
  • What practices help me feel more connected to God?
  • If I could ask God one question, what would it be?
  • What role does love play in my understanding of God?
  • How do I reconcile different cultural or religious perspectives on God?
  • What does it mean to be created in the image of God?

Further Study

After my first spiritual awakening, Ram Dass and his lectures became an invaluable resource to help me understand and not feel so alone in what I was experiencing. The first of his lectures I ever listened to is called "Ram Dass on his Spacesuit" where he speaks about recognizing his identity beyond his body, or rather, his "Spacesuit".

I have so much love for Ram Dass and I'm sure I'll speak about his influence on my journey more in depth in later newsletters but part of what made me fall in love with him is that he has a way of communicating things that is just so clear, down to earth, humorous, and loving.

Listening time 13mins.

Direct Link:

What's Going On With Me?

I had a revelation this past week that the reason I've had so much resistance to start making videos is not so much that I don't know what to say but more that I don't know who to be. I want to be myself. But I discovered that one of my barriers to consistently making videos in the past is that I felt like I was performing. Not that I was "faking," but rather playing a role, like a speaker. When I get in front of a camera, it's hard not to subconsciously start playing a bit of a role and I want my videos to feel like you're just chopping it up with one of the homies, not like I'm giving a lecture. I still haven't determined how to bring that vision to life, but I promise that as soon as I have clarity around the "how", it will manifest quickly.

Otherwise, I feel great. It wouldn't be quite accurate to say that I feel like myself again because I feel like I've already grown so much since the version of myself that I missed was documented in my memory. That's probably the biggest lesson I've been learning lately—"myself" is not fixed. And "normal" doesn't really exist because everything is constantly changing. What "normal" really means is "what I'm used to." How I feel now isn't what I'm used to, but it does feel like myself, nonetheless. In fact, I think it's the most myself I've ever felt.

The Divine in me bows to the Divine in you 🙏🏾,

Micheal Sinclair 💜