Among certain circles, believe it or not, I am considered a source for answers on some sacred texts. I say believe it or not, because really, I am not that great of a source for answers on any sacred text. My small bookcase in my home office includes The Teachings of the Compassionate Buddha, the full collection of The Zohar, the Hebrew and Christian Bibles, the Sermons and Treatises of Meister Eckhart, books on Willie Nelson, Bob Dylan, Pope John Paul II, and the Tao Teh Ching. There are authors like Thomas Merton, Deepak Chopra, Wayne Dyer, various kabbalists, and I’m pretty sure I remember seeing the Tibetan Book of the Dead. None of these books have been fully read, and none of these books have convinced me to be a part of a different way of thinking.
At various times in my life, different thoughts have inspired me. If I read a book in its entirety, I give it away. They are all ongoing projects. They all comfort me in different ways. They do not define who I am, but they may say something about how I am. For me, a truth is a truth is a truth, whether it is attributed to Jesus or to Paramahansa Yogananda.
It brings to mind Gandhi when asked, and I am paraphrasing the story here, why, if he believed so many things similar to Christianity, why he did not simply convert to Christianity. His response was something similar to, “I know too many Christians”. But this is not meant for me to disparage Christianity or any other belief system. My question would be why we need a system in the first place. It is hard for me to believe more than one or two things at once, anyway.
All of this is to preface a conversation I had with my step-daughter yesterday. It was short. It was conducted through a text message that had less than four or five entries. She asked something similar to, “If it was God’s intention to destroy everything on earth with the flood, and only save two of each creature, what about whales, sharks and dolphins?”
My response was exactly this.
“My question is, why would a God described as Love in the New Testament want to kill everything on earth. My opinion is, I have the option not to have opinions or answers about everything in the Bible, and in this case, I have none… lol.
Maybe it is best to think about in a way that allows the story, not the facts of the story, to impact you. Perhaps, as an example, it is not so much about destruction, as it is about rebirth. Not so much about how an old world was destroyed, as it is about how a new world was born.
Just my thought.”
Some might be tempted to call this a cop out. Some might want to offer a more correct answer (admittedly, I am not an authority). And some might want to teach me about the inherent truth that is the Old and New Testament and how they fit seamlessly together. That is fine. There was a time in my life when I would have offered all three of these things to anyone answering that question in a similar way. There was also a time when I would have similar collections on my bookshelves, with the intent of reading them and proving their fallacy.
Guru I am not. Theologian I am not. I am not an advocate, a follower, a parishioner, or a devotee. I am, however, a believer. The question for me becomes, “what do I believe”. And from time to time, I am compelled to share that with others, like now, in simple terms, with no intent placed towards the conversion of those that listen. But now, in this moment, these things I believe.
Love is the Way. Ego is the antithesis of that Way.
We are individuals and bring to the world all that which our individuality gives birth. We are also, at the same time, a part of a family of individuals that deserve respect, help, and consideration.
Upon meeting someone selling religion with words or proofs, we should think about why a simple living of that religion is not enough to promote that religion.
There is a Creator. Who creates. But not without our help. We are fragments of that Creator, with the power and ability to co-create our world.
A kindness done in secret is the best way to pray. Blessings are bestowed with thoughts, as much, or more, than with material things.
And, finally, we do not know everything. If we (and especially me) believe exactly what we did six months ago, we are closed to the wonder of the Divine.
This is why I encouraged my step-daughter to think in a different way. This is why I read books written by people that think in different ways. Sometimes it is scary to float about on intellectual thought without the anchor of a deep, long-held, belief. But it is worth the journey. My thinking, my meditations, my living of my days, do not begin with reciting what I already believe or know. They start with the openness to learn something new. To see God in a different way. To be assured in by things that have yet to assure me. I do well in this endeavor some days and I create a disaster or two, on other days. But I begin again. Every day.
I am not proposing another belief system. I am proposing another way of thinking about ourselves. You are a wonder. You are a creator of joy. You are exactly what the Creator intended for this world, in this moment. And should the world flood again, should it get so bad that we attribute the destruction of the world to God, let us be reborn. My assumption, and my experience, suggests that our worlds have at one time or another, already been destroyed. That is just the way of living. Congratulations on your rebirth. My advice now, is to help others be reborn in the same way.
Please forgive my ramblings. Forgive my thinking I know a thing or two, about a thing or two. But if you take anything away from what I have written, let it be that you are more precious than you think. You are smarter than some might want you to believe. You are not an observer of beauty only, you are beauty in living form. Worry did not get us to where we are, and worry will not get us where we want to be. Tune into the Creator whispering in your ear, “I got this… I got this… I got this…”, and repeat those words to someone in need. You are worth all of the attention and effort you feel you may need to survive. You are worth all of the care that you feel you may need to be happiness.