What is 'God'?

‘The grandest purpose of life (contrary to the implications of novelists) is not to know human love or to produce children or to win men’s fickle acclaim; man’s sole worthwhile aim is to find the everlasting bliss of God.’ 4:27 Yogananda, Paramahansa. God Talks with Arjuna: The Bhagavad Gita . Self-Realization Fellowship. Kindle Edition.

I like this quote, it gives us a bigger purpose than just chasing or being chased in the external world. I am now studying the fourth chapter in the Bhagavad Gita, and there is a lot of reference to God or the Divine to whom we can fully surrender and to whom we can fully offer all our actions.

The concept of God is somewhat difficult for me since I grew up in a Catholic country in a family that disapproved of the Church as an institution. God wasn’t a topic in my home, and the only idea I have of God is the popular idea: a man somewhere in the sky observing all my actions and taking note of them. Early in life, I decided I didn’t believe in this ‘God’.

Lately, through my studies of Yoga, I am revisiting the idea of God or the Divine. What my teacher says is that the Divine is not something outside ourselves. I think that many religions at their core say the same, but institutions have taken that away from people with the wish to control the masses. God is within us and it is in everything and everyone. He usually defines the Divine as ‘pure potential’. We all have pure potential. We all have a source of love, freedom and bliss inside ourselves, and our job in this world is to keep reaching towards it by slowly letting go the grip of tangible and ever changing things and ideas…

What does the idea of God mean to you? I observe that it is difficult for me to talk about God in most contexts. The moment the word God is mentioned in conversations, people get stiff, as if it was something ‘wrong’. But lately I wonder, if we remove completely the idea of ‘something bigger than what we see’, what remains? What is our bigger purpose in life?