The winds have stopped blowing to and fro and I've landed (at least for now) along my journey trying to find out what we know about life, our planet, galaxy, the universe and beyond.
I really spent a lot of time searching for a or the 'God', reading many 'Holy Scriptures' from around the world each belonging to different traditions and cultures.
I would never expect others to follow my path for each person has their own trail to blaze while experiencing life and the ultimate questions of 'Why?'. I don't judge or try to convert. I don't argue about deities, and I honor my well thought through perceptions. Words are so subjective anyways and many times I think we all are describing similar beliefs with very different words.
Today I believe we are the product of four billion years of life evolution as fossils and geology and astronomy and other studies suggest. Life began with the right combination of 'stuff' in the hearth of exploding star aftermath. I am comfortable with that explanation.
As we journey on a very thin living ecosystem on a rock hurtling through space I can now stop my incessant worry of looking for an answer as to why religion made any sense. I am happy believing I had a chance to experience life and someday will flow back into the cosmos, the iron in my blood created by an exploding star providing life to another plant, animal or creature somewhere.
This is not to say I believe science and the world knows everything today. Surely we understand much. But there too is so much to learn. So in a year from now my views may have evolved elsewhere, same as they have from the years documented below.
I say all this because acceptance of who I really am has allowed me to stop the worry about if I am good enough or saying the right words or paying homage to the correct deity. Less worry, less stress. Less stress, less inflammation. Less inflammation, happier dissected aorta.
Nature around us is full of beauty and complexity. I came from dust and will return to dust.
Now all that 'mind energy' I used up wondering about where I came from and where I am going is freed up to help myself and others heal.
My spiritual life has been a journey like the wind, blowing to and fro.
Having been raised in America I was strongly influenced by Judeo-Christian beliefs (I now call 'Judeo-Christian mythology').
As a plant biologist who spends lots of time in nature I've come to view the world - all of it - meaning the earth the universe and beyond - as timeless and infinite.
Today I have moved past my long held belief of a personal God guy up in the sky, primarily because;
- our language skills are inadequate to even begin to describe what is infinite
- our perception is limited to the human experience - and I believe there is so much more than what we can even imagine beyond our sensory perceptions
- we tend to think of time from a human reference (maybe a generation or so) instead of billions of years
I have been looking for the meaning of life and think I have found it.
|My search for true spirituality was long and complicated when it should have been easy|
When we love other people we have found The Divine. That's it. That's all.
I could stop here because there is nothing else to say.
But I going to try to explain myself in really simple terms because I need to try and be consistent with basic principles of western logic; for myself and for others and because, lol, my blog posts need to be a certain length.
First of all, for me ‘The Divine’ must be simple. Because my cognitive level is damaged as a result of multiple open heart surgeries and my being on heart by-pass for hours I have a difficult time with complicated things. So spirituality must be easy.
Complex liturgy and lists of things to do and not do may sound beautiful for a contemplative moment but the meaning quickly evaporates as the seconds tick by and my ADHD or stroke induced forgetfulness overwhelms my mind.
Fortunately, simple words like ‘I love you’ profoundly call out to my soul, my deep inner sanctum, my heart, the place where my self-realization and self-awareness reside. When I am in the midst of love I am also aware of the presence of a permanent Divinity and the paralyzing fear (so typical of my humanness) of temporality fades.
Secondly, walking on death’s threshold with my medical condition, I want to know God. I also need the Divine because I am scared of facing a cold, dark eternity alone, by myself. Believing in The Divine alleviates this fear, even if doing so exposes my fragility. But that is what love is for.
Let me be very clear here about a side issue. It’s OK if you don’t believe in life after death or God. I will honor your beliefs. In turn I expect the same freedom to believe how I need to, of you. And it is OK if you have a different religious belief from across the U.S. or the world. I hold you in esteem for your beliefs and wish the same respect in return.
Now, it is really hard to put what I truly want to say in written words. As a sometimes writer and blogger I like to think words are the best way to communicate ideas. But everyone perceives written words differently. We can both read a sentence and not find the same meaning.
I can even tell you what a group of words is supposed to mean and after hearing me ramble you may still have your own understanding. The words we use as a human race are terribly inadequate to accurately describe spirituality.
So, ‘The Divine’ is the term I will use here in this post mostly because for me the term ‘God’ has been permanently defiled with an image of an angry, scornful old man up in the sky waiting to strike someone in retribution for even a small misstep.
And I want to believe The Divine loves us no matter what feeble proper noun we choose to call it and won’t get pissed off if we spell or say the right name wrong or the wrong name right.
So, because I think on very simple levels and I am physically fragile with respect to cardiovascular health and realize each breath could be my last, I long for a really simple spirituality and a desire to know and abide in The Divine. Complicated words are confusing. Simple words may be the best. Love is a simple word.
But perhaps words are not even necessary to know The Divine. Yes, you can read scripture or verse over and over and tell me what it means. Quite possibly I may be able to see The Divine in those words but I really do not need those words to know The Great Divine; for God is much more than words.
Likewise, you can take me to the top of the highest mountain, through the depths of rain forests or down into the oceans and show me wonderful handiwork, creation, amazing life. Yes, I can feel God’s hand on my shoulders in the summit wind, or hear God’s voice inside flowing waters or calling birds but I do not need to see the brilliant handiwork of nature to know The Great Divine.
I may sit in a church pew and listen to elegant verbal illustrations of the theologian and catch a glimpse of God’s story. But I do not need the preacher’s well rehearsed script full of those words validating his or her learnings, to really know God.
Historic Dead sea scrolls with dusty ancient Greek, Hebrew or Aramaic writings may hold special insight about God. Yet none of these parchments from which much of the Bible is written are not necessary to know The Divine, neither is the Bible. In fact I really think one does not even have to be able to read, and they can be deaf, dumb or even in a coma and still find The Divine.
When I float in our swimming pool with my eyes closed my St. Jude aortic valve sounds loud under water and something I reason that is probably similar to what I listened to in the womb for nine months. But many of my other senses are shut down floating with eyes shut. And even without my cognitive logic and senses operating as they usually do, I still know love.
So to me, none of our human senses are required for pure and simple spirituality, or to be in a relationship with The Divine.
I find pure spirituality in love. I believe God is love. I believe love is of The Divine. I believe love is The Divine.
And now I want to learn how to love, forgive, be forgiven, and empty myself of negativity, fear or resistance I may have towards others. I want to live in love, nothing else.
Going back to those dusty parchments called the Dead Sea Scrolls, some of the texts have been interpreted to say God is love. We should pay attention to these powerful words. Weaving love into our life can be easy. Martin Luther's words helped me understand this when he said, ‘Love God and do as you please’. Meshing love and life can be easy (though we usually have a tendency to take the long, hard route) and as I said, my brain needs to operate on very base levels to be consistently functional.
Today I like to take Luther’s quote and adapt the words ever so slightly for my own benefit, saying, ‘love Love and be yourself’.
By loving love we are loving God because God is love. By being ourselves we are acknowledging our humanity. This is simple spirituality. Not much to it. To reside in the presence of God we should give and accept love. By living in love I will be living in the presence of God.
This is not a separatism of dualities rather it is an emptying of self interest and replacement of our desires with love, help, friendship, kindness and placing our neighbor first, that brings us into the presence of The Divine.
Acknowledging our humanity allows us to be who we are as a man or woman living in a complicated universe. And I am going to write another post about my humanity, my animalness. I am going to try and use words to describe why I am so much like the bear foraging in our swampy flatwoods, the osprey enjoying fresh kill from the salt marsh, the eagle ruffling his feathers and guarding his nest and female, the snake in the weeds or the wise old owl, the butterfly dancing in the wind and why I am also a human, one seeking permanency through love.
Suffice it for the moment of conclusion here to say I am drawn to another group of words from those old parchments found in a cave. Paraphrasing, they say ‘when two or three come together, in my name, there I am also’. I know when I am with others, uplifting them, I am in the presence of a great love and have found the meaning of life.
And I will be glad to share my bloody raw fish kill with you any day you are hungry. Just don’t mess with my female or my kids and leave my territory as clean as you found it when you leave.