I woke up this morning thinking about God – or, rather, the concept of God. When we got smart and quit believing in an actual, living God, we sort of “threw the baby out with the bathwater.” Because, while I do not believe in God as an entity, that word can still stand for a concept of something in which I do believe.
There is a power – in us, around us, in everything – it is LIFE – and it is magic. And when we believe and we pray – it does sometimes work miracles. All of that is true. Life is better when we feel God is there. So to turn our backs on “God,” we are depriving ourselves of that Power, that Magic. And it doesn’t matter what we call it; we can still call it “God” for lack of another name, but in this sense, I do believe. And that belief can, in fact, “move mountains.” It can give us the power to heal ourselves, it can work miracles; it is powerful and magical. You just have to take RELIGION out of it.
It is not churches; it is not mindless devotion or ritual. It is, purely and simply, nature, life and the awareness of which brings awe and supreme gratitude, humility, and peace. But it is not a “God” who sits up there somewhere watching us. It is US, all of us, all of life.
So perhaps I would do better to say that I do believe in God – knowing what that word really means to me – because I certainly don’t buy into the other, Christian view of God. There lies ignorance and pain and fear.
“God” is not separate from us. It is simply the power that we can choose or choose not to partake of and use. So this morning when I woke up in pain, I chose to use some of that power in gratitude and humility to try to ease my pain and heal my knotted muscles. And I am not crazy. By the same token, I can also choose to use that power of life and goodness to help my son see his way through the world. It was a miracle that I was given this child to have and care for in the first place. “God” got me to where I am now and I have much to be thankful for.
Last night I watched the movie Contact again. It was created from a book originally written by Carl Sagan. Science and spirituality collide and then meet in the middle, a common theme. In fact there have been many deeply spiritual scientists who spent their lives striving to find a meeting place between the two. But what it comes down to is that they are essentially one and the same thing really. Science is nature and from our contemplation of nature comes spirituality. Knowledge and spirituality are, or should be, one and the same thing. Sagan once stated the following, which reflects exactly my own thoughts:
“Science is not only compatible with spirituality; it is a profound source of spirituality. When we recognize our place in an immensity of light-years and in the passage of ages, when we grasp the intricacy, beauty, and subtlety of life, then that soaring feeling, that sense of elation and humility combined, is surely spiritual.”
The problem I think has been RELIGION; that of trying to interpret the Bible literally where the “facts” do not match the reality of scientific discovery and proof. And it is beyond my understanding how so many religious people can blindly and stubbornly refuse to accept scientific fact. But the Bible was written many, many, many years ago and at different times and by a number of different people. A lot of it contains myths that were passed along from other times and places. And these things have been proven historically. There was no God that came down and told people what to write. People used what resources and insights and beliefs they might have had and they wrote those things down. There is “god” in some of those writings – but not the way the Christians suppose. There is inspired truth in many religious writings; there is always truth where one looks for it. But it doesn’t mean what the Christian beliefs say it does.
Our species is very young and very ignorant for the most part. Some of us get glimpses, and we learn. But too many get caught up in the idea, the goal, of acquiring personal power that has nothing, or little, to do with real power. Because that comes with wisdom. There have always been odd ones here and there in our history; those who have discovered links to this power seemingly inexplicably. There have been people who can do amazing, sometimes freakishly bizarre or “supernatural” things, or seem to know things without explanation. I think they have simply found a way to tap into the power that is all around us and inside us and thus, they became forever changed. But I believe everyone contains those possibilities. I believe it is our minds that can grasp and use that power, but that it is also our minds which tend to interfere. Because our common sense and our belief systems reject what we do not understand or what we fear and those limiting beliefs interfere with our potential. And that could be why drugs can sometimes bring about such strange experiences. Drugs can unlock the restrictions our minds put in place; drugs can seem to be magical – but at a huge price, one that can greatly harm us or, even, kill us. I remember reading Carlos Castaneda’s books and what a trip that was.
I’ve been enjoying reading about Shirley Jackson lately. She believed in magic and that she was a witch. What is it that allows some, who have particularly brilliant, creative and intelligent minds, this “gift” of being able to “see” or perceive things that others can’t. We often just call that “crazy,” and say there is a fine line between genius and insanity. I used to feel like I walked that line when I was young, growing up – I felt like I “knew” too much, felt too much, perceived things too deeply to the point where things often seemed bizarre and totally pointless. It’s like I could perceive the universe and its immensity made our little lives seem so small and so fleeting. I used to sometimes feel afraid and that this type of knowledge, of thinking, would make me crazy. It was about seeing life straight on, straight down the road to oblivion; and to see the whole big picture made things seem so meaningless and, well, that made things a bit hard to accept sometimes.
And I have actually had difficulty my entire life to accept certain things that seem totally pointless; often things that other people seem to accept without question. And I have always wondered why that is – why it was that not everyone could see it. But all I ever wanted was to be happy, to somehow find contentment and peace of mind that forever eluded me. I was always driven – but what was I being driven towards? Or was it that I was being driven away from something – myself, most likely.
And so now (and for many years now) I take my little pills for depression and anxiety and for ADHD; drugs to give me some contentment; keep me here in my little place and prevent me from beating my head against the walls in frustration.
But actually, it is more than that: I had to learn to slow down, to become aware – not stuck in the busy immensity of my mind, but aware of the here and now of my individual day-to-day life. I needed a chance to learn some wisdom, to learn that I didn’t have to fight; that I have all that I need within me. I no longer feel that I have to question everything because I know that I can always find answers when I look for them. And that the universe is a good place. There is no God sitting in judgment of me. I am no longer afraid.
Why is it that high intelligence and creativity so often come coupled with pain and unhappiness, an inability to get along well in this world, and the feeling of being so incredibly alone? There have been many people, especially writers it seems – many, many intelligent and creative individuals who have questioned the status quo and lived in pain, many who died too young or who lived sad lives. I wonder perhaps if they had lived longer, could they have found some truth, some wisdom to bring serenity and peace. Because I think I have come a long way towards better understanding and thus a better, happier existence. Age and experience do bring wisdom. Raising a child does also, even if you often feel like you have no idea what you’re doing.
But I now understand much more fully the true meaning and purpose of my life. It isn’t about the drugs that I am stuck with taking. I think the meds were necessary to bring me to this point. But I do not know how I would be if I gave them up; my brain is too adjusted to them and I don’t know what would happen.
But I have slowed down so that I can take notice, see more clearly, feel myself grounded and in control of how I live my life. And I am happy. What is still hard for me to accept is the shortness of our lives. I want to live forever – or until I have all the answers and have accomplished all I set out to do. But I keep telling myself that I still have a lot of time. I am still young enough and can stay young and healthy and strong and capable for many more years, possibly another 30 or more years. Thirty years is a long time; 30 years ago I was just starting out in this world as an adult. I knew very little about life or what I wanted to do with it. I was in many ways completely ignorant and largely oblivious. I just hope that I can stay strong and healthy. I must take care of myself, mind and body – make use of that power of the universe and be powerful – and love my life.
And finally, I did a quick search for links between depression and creativity, and I found something that I rather like that explains it all rather well. The link between depression and creativity, and how it can be good for you: Apparently creative people think a lot and RUMINATE (ha!) on their thoughts and this can bring on depression. Well, what do you know…