To the religious ones, please read until the end before you judge. This may make so much sense to you.
To the non-believer, please read until the end before you judge.This may make so much sense to you.
Today in church I came to the conclusion that our relation to God may be the reason so many of us have parted with the ways of the church. What do I mean by this? According to Oxford the definition of relation is a thing’s effect on or relevance to another.
Growing up in the church I was always under the impression that God lives out there somewhere, in the heavens, beyond the sky. At times, I remember some say that he lives in our hearts as well. But I feel that wasn’t really explained well or maybe I wasn’t listening well. I also remember many aspects of God and Jesus that were driven home and that I read from the scriptures such as him judging us, the need for us to love him, give ourselves wholeheartedly to him, at times I read or heard about him punishing us and even getting angry. I remember he also turned his back on some people, taught lessons in life, and I also remember reading that we did not “think” as he did.
At some point the whole concept just didn’t hit home. I wanted to believe, and there was so much that I felt but almost equally so much that I couldn’t feel. The relation I had with God was just not what I had learned God was. Nevertheless, I always felt there was more to life than us becoming so lucky as to become humans.
The probability of you existing at all comes out to 1 in 10²⁶⁸⁵⁰⁰⁰ — yes, that’s a 10 followed by 2,685,000 zeroes! Binazir concludes that the odds of you being alive are basically zero.
I pretty much left the church with the thought that there must not be a God since it just didn’t make sense to me. However, many times I wanted a relationship with him. Throughout my life I found myself in need of his direction, of his advice, his love, his support.
At some point in my life I discovered philosophy; the study of wisdom. Somehow this all brought me back to God in a way. After some time studying philosophy I determined that maybe I was simply following the wrong religion growing up, but that in actuality there is a God. I began my journey studying and being exposed to different religions and ways of life like hinduism, buddhism, taoism, bushido, Judaism, Toltecs and some others.
I felt that I was able to look at the relation of God and I from many different lenses, from him being all the way out there all the way to him not existing at all. Throughout it all I’ve kept my christian beliefs while having many doubts if that makes any sense.
I don’t feel that I would feel the same as I do now, unless my journey included all the religions, practices and philosophies that I have learned and been exposed throughout my whole life.
Through the years I’ve continued to attend different churches and I teach my kids about God, the parables and the lesser confusing lessons I’ve learned. In trying to do my best with my children I have focused more on the God that lives within themselves and the relationship with their inner self or God rather than the God that lives beyond the skys.
I’ve spoken to them about praying like they’re having a conversation with themselves or a friend and focusing on being grateful for the life they have and everything in it.
I have a very deep feeling that one, if not the most important aspect of life is the relationships we have. The relationships we have determine who we are, become, and each one demands a different version of ourselves. I am a different version to an extent with my mother, my wife, my friends, my coworkers, etc.
I may be having a simple contemplation, or maybe a conclusion. Who knows? Maybe it’s wisdom kicking in at my tender age 😏 or maybe I am completely off base. But, I think what has made me struggle so much throughout the years was simply my relation with God. I feel that the God within has been trying to clarify it all along through my instincts and/or through the many signs (books, sermons, videos). Sometimes we may just need to listen intently and truly believe in ourselves, believe. I can recall the book Conversations with God which the author wrote himself, even the parts where God was speaking to him and he never claimed that a spirit or some astronomical or metaphysical being wrote it in some ways.
I’ve always believed in God, just not the God with the devil to his left and santa to his right sitting on a throne way up there beyond the heavens. I believe in a God that resides inside me as he does in you and in every living being. When we speak of our soul, I believe that’s the God within us. Not too long ago I wrote a blog about our hearts alternator which I concluded to be God. We know everything in existence runs on some sort of energy yet a human beings energizer bunny only stops when we die. The heart pumps blood throughout our bodies but who or what beats our heart? I believe it is the God within.
I don’t know what’s out there beyond the heavens and the sky. As far as I am concerned the “gods” may be playing marbles in some infinite galaxy and we’re simply bacteria on this little marble we call earth. What I do know is that I am part of something bigger than myself, I am interconnected to this earth. I am not above this earth but of this earth.
I believe that the truth cannot be told, hence why in most religions we learn by story telling, by parables. When we listen to a story we can picture ourselves as part of it and feel like we can experience it. The truth can only be experienced.
I think we’re part of the whole organism that is life and all it involves. I believe the devil that chistianity taught me about lives within my mind and he only shows up if I don’t have a good relationship with God, with myself. If I have negative self-talk the devil shows up in doubt, in anxiety, in anger, hate, disappointment, in negativity and so on.
The stories are endless throughout every religion and way of life, we just need to listen.
An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life:
“A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy.
“It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil–he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.”
He continued, “The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you–and inside every other person, too.”
The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather: “Which wolf will win?”
The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”
In the east we have the ying yang where it is believed that there’s a little good in each evil and a little evil in each good. Yet the reality is that life itself contains the whole ying yang.
In the east we’re perfectly imperfect and in the west we’re born sinners, both are correct yet we’re not necessarily broken or damaged goods because of it.
I recall reading the story of the Toltecs and the smoky mirror with a resemblance to the reason why a hindu temple had a mirror in the front, the end result is to find your true self, maybe the God within.
In the Hindu practices of worshipping in front of a mirror, “The mirror’s placement symbolizes that God is inside oneself and it is of no use to seek God elsewhere”. Wikipedia
“Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do.” Jesus
The lessons about treating the body like a temple seem to go inline with my thoughts here as well. The mind is a beautiful thing but it does go a million miles with no destination many times in our lives. I can see why meditation is needed, to slow it down a bit and focus, quiet the mind a bit, and breathe deeply to energize and fuel our temple. Nature is perfect and in breathing deeply we give our God within a breath of fresh air, pun intended.
Jesus was put to death for committing blasphemy for saying him and the father are one. I think the same. I think he realised that God lived within him rather than “out there”. I just think Jesus couldn’t say it any other way. I don’t think he was trying to offend anyone and I don’t think he thought himself better than anyone else. He preached to believe and you too could do these things. Whether or not history is accurate or not, I get the lessons from his life.
I find endless life lessons in the scriptures and in other ancient texts but I do take them as face value. I don’t really believe in unforgivable sins or in absolutes on a life that was created on the premise of evolution.
“Evolution, the gradual development of something, especially from a simple to a more complex form”. Oxford
I do believe that we humans struggle with simply stating the fact that we don’t know all things. Coupled with the fact that for centuries nations have used religious scriptures to control the masses, I tend to utilize what my intuition (maybe my God within) shows me I can use to grow and be the best version of myself that I can and leave the rest without even judging it.
I do my share of jogging and I work mostly on my self talk throughout those runs. I am very frank with myself. Thanks to some of my best mentors, authors of philosophy, self help, motivational, and non-fiction books I have learned how to call myself out and be critically honest with myself. On my time jogging I often judge myself rightfully so, while not partaking in negative self talk which if you ask me, it’s an art form.
I believe self love is incredibly important while not becoming egotistical. Until one learns to love oneself, one cannot learn to fully love another. This has been proven over and over many failed relationships between an endless number of people in this God given green earth.
If I am known for only one thing when I am gone my hope is that it will be on my undeniable discipline. I believe that no matter what anyone thinks, says or does, I must trust the process, I must trust myself, and wholeheartedly be disciplined in my belief in myself, my true self, not the materialistic, egocentric self but that God within.
There have been a couple of times where I got off course for one reason or another and I have made it a point to “make up” for my misstep because I was angry and disappointed at myself. For example last year (2020) covid hit and I went almost a month without running, so when I began running again, I ran for 30 days straight without taking a day off while still spending quality time with my family and working an unreal amount of hours. Some may call this punishment.
Throughout the years I’ve come to the conclusion that sometimes we need to turn our backs on others in order for us to do what is right for ourselves, to save ourselves. Not everyone is on the same journey as you, and everyone doesn’t need to be on it. But sometimes you just need to let go and let God.
I know that this bag of bones that I call my body is not who I really am. Furthermore I know that there has to be something or someone that has created this whole thing, it may have all started from the Big Bang but there’s no chance that life has continued on a daily basis with the odds above. The fact that oxygen is poisonous to almost every other life form (rotting most life) yet we thrive in it, is miraculous to say the least.
Knowing that I am not this bag of bones, knowing there’s a higher power and knowing that although I am part of it, I am not it all, I realise that I don’t think like said higher power if said high power even has to think, and I don’t fool myself by thinking such an egocentric idea.
The above statements help me make sense of the original statement I began this article with;
“I also remember many aspects of God and Jesus that were driven home and that I read from the scriptures such as him judging us, the need for us to love him, give ourselves wholeheartedly to him, at times I read or heard about him punishing us and even getting angry. I remember he also turned his back on some people, taught lessons in life, and I also remember reading that we did not “think” as he did.”
Again I state with certainty that I needed to be exposed to everything I have been in order to come to this contemplation.
As you can see many religions, ways of life and philosophies have been used in the examples above to come to this.
In Taoism it is held high that we are an organism from this earth rather than a creation. As Alan Watts put it, “the way the apple tree apples, the world peoples”. It is held with high regards that we are imperfectly perfect in the same way all of nature is, the stars, the clouds, the leaves, grass and such; chaotic yet perfect, asymmetrical yet perfect.
In Buddhism it is believed that karma is all about the undeniable laws of cause and effect. It is also based on the belief that life is suffering(4 Noble Truths) and that there can be an end of suffering (8 Fold Path) which basically tells us to live a righteous life.
My mother is a Judaism practitioner which has many resemblances to my previous christian teachings. However, what has impacted me more on this way of life being that she is an orthodox practitioner is the ridiculous attention to detail and unwavering discipline to each and every practice, from what utensils to use with which foods, to the different prayers each time one washes one’s hands. The faithful rituals each and every sabbath from sundown to the absolute end, I can appreciate such amazing discipline.
I can go on and on into each and every religion, culture and way of life to prove how each and everyone has created layers of truths based on my experiences that prove they all have the same message and that to at least a certain extent and in a real way they are all correct and right. The message is the same in all, live a righteous life.
Every single human being that I have asked and had a deep conversation with has had the same exact goal in life. Everyone’s goal or destiny might be colored with a different brush but they all read the same, to leave this place better than they found it. To be a good human being, a good person, a good citizen to this God given green earth, that’s the goal.
I may not be the smartest person in the room and this may be the reason I prefer simplicity. The simple lesson extracted out of a bit of a complex life lived is that we should live a righteous life.
We’re all the “chosen” ones. Like the Elder Cherokee said, “The same fight is going on inside you–and inside every other person, too.”
One of the many commonalities between the different paths is to be a great example, to be born again, a witness, enlightened, etc. I don’t recall any of them claiming to do so since you’re different. The reality of it is that you are the chosen ones, however you also have the same struggles as everyone else that as a matter of fact is chosen as well. You must go through the path overcoming anxiety, depression, physical, emotional and spiritual battles.
I always say the most important aspect of a leader is his example. I see why a monk goes through that practice, the missionary puts their life on hold to serve and so many examples throughout every culture, religion and way of life.
I have said to some close to me that I cannot marry a religion because I don’t want to disqualify any others. They’re all right at their core. I am not blind to the fact that many have some aspects that we may not understand, agree with or that are down right wrong, but that’s what we human beings sometimes do, we try to make sense out of things and mess them up in fear of admitting that we just don’t know, that we don’t think like the higher power.
Maybe that’s why Socrates, one of the wisest human beings to ever walk this earth said “I know nothing except the fact of my own ignorance.”
I love them all and they have all taught me so much. May God, god, Yahweh, the universe, Krishna or your true self, whatever you call it, bless you dearly and may you listen intently when the message is there and may you have the foresight to know a sign when presented with one or in my case a huge amount of them.
I love you all!