I received a message from a member of my family who had read this post about my ever in limbo relationship with God/Spirit/The Universe (herein referred to as God). This fellow is an atheist and he wrote to me the following opinions about religion and God:
"... supernatural - there's *never* been *any* evidence for it. This is a cold hard fact. And none appears to be forthcoming. Being in thrall to it will only leave you vulnerable to the manipulations of various priesthoods. Remember it was priests, not gods, who wrote the edicts you mention."
I have heard this logic before. Many times. And I replied to him by offering my respect for his beliefs while stating that, for me, atheism could never be enough because it just feels too lonely and that not having a higher power to turn to makes me feel completely alone.
And then a funny thing happened. It occurred to me that ever since I can remember, I have felt alone seeking to have a relationship with this higher power. Since the age of about four, I have been aware that there are those who have and those who have not. There are those who have two parents, food to eat, a secure home, financial prosperity and a general sense of safety and being cared for. I've always thought that God must have really been looking out for those kids. Because not all of us consistently had these necessary basics of a stable, happy early life.
Now, I'm not going to get on my soap box here and turn this into a big sob-fest about all I believe was missing in my life when I was a kid. But what I realized last night upon reading my relative's comments is what is currently missing in my life as an adult: A sense of security, confidence, inner peace and the ability to believe in myself. All of these qualities have been underdeveloped or underutilized throughout my adult years while instead, I have devoted a sizable amount of energy to either being angry at God for forsaking me all these years, or to constantly begging and pleading for God to show up in my life.
I mean there are times I have railed against the Almighty for crimes against humanity and I have wept and sobbed at other times for the seeming absence of Him in my experience. I've been like a needy girlfriend who calls ten times in as many minutes in a fury wondering why the hell He isn't taking my calls. Is He seeing someone else? What's wrong with me? Am I not good enough for Him? If this were happening to me in a real relationship, I might well give my head a shake and come to the conclusion that He's just not that into me.
And so this got me to thinking - what if it isn't a matter of whether or not God prefers to shine His/Her/Its light on some while casting shadow on others, as I've always thought? What if the feeling of God's absence I've carried around in my life simply means that God doesn't exist in the first place?
Now, I don't mean to offend anyone here. I am not spit-balling to come up with a theory that then must be applied to the masses. There are people in my life who thrive in their relationship with God and I don't for a minute mean to suggest that anything I discover for myself is meant to undermine their beliefs. They are so certain in their faith and so strengthened by it that nothing I might deduce for myself would ever take away from that certainty for them, nor would I want it to.
But I have never had that certainty. I've mostly always had neediness, frustration and envy at observing how God bestows ease and success upon the already bountiful table of others while leaving the scraps of struggle and failure at mine.
So I'm going to do a little experiment: God/Spirit/The Universe and I are going to take a little break. For one week, I am going to wake up every day and take the mindset that God doesn't exist. That we are all there is. That, as human beings, we are capable exactly as we are and that what we don't know how to do we can learn. And that there is no outside force with which we must come into alignment in order to achieve our goals. I will look back at my past not wishing it had been any different as a result of not being one of God's chosen few but instead, I will simply see my past as a series of events and circumstances that occurred previously (and not in this moment) and leave it at that. It has nothing to do with who I am as a person.
My intention is not to behave like a spoiled child and insist that if God exists, that He give me my way already dammit. The signs that I have been seeking are more to do with showing me that I'm not alone and that all my efforts are supported. And yes I would love to have the career of my dreams show up after all these years, later today after lunch (just to give me a little time to put my eyebrows on in preparation for its arrival). And yes I would like the money, the house and an easy-bake oven in every room. Miniature homemade cakes are delicious and important to me. But if I had all those things, would that prove to me that God exists? Because there are still people who are right now dealing with the aftermath of a devastating earthquake. There are people across the globe who are starving due to poverty. Hell, there are people ten minutes from my doorstep who are starving due to poverty. If all my dreams came true right now, I assume I would have a sense of inner peace knowing that I am taken care of but would it prove to me that God exists? Or would it just prove that God finally decided to shine His light on me while turning His back on others? Would it simply mean that for once, I was one of the favorite of His children or would it mean nothing other than that I finally caught a few lucky breaks?
I know that life is what you make of it. I have been trying very hard to make something of my professional life for a very long time. And for that length of time, I have been carrying around a debilitating mental block: That I'm not good enough to have what I want. I can provide years' worth of evidence to support that mindset. So this experiment is designed to see if by removing, what in my perception, is one of the main pieces of evidence which supports that theory (that God/Spirit/The Universe doesn't have my back) and by replacing it with an element I had not previously considered (that God/Spirit/The Universe never rejected me because God/Spirit/The Universe simply doesn't exist) if that will help me to stop predetermining my failure before every attempt at success.
It will be interesting to see if I am able to re-frame my past and finally find a way to let it go so that I can thrive in my present. I'm going to see if by changing my viewpoint on God's existence if I can learn to have the same faith in myself that those I love have in their God.
Will the experiment need to take longer than a week in order to gather more data? Will I simply need this time in order to change my self-imposed limitations and will I then in fact come to a deeper understanding of what God can mean in my life?
Liberation? Clarity? Confidence? Gratitude? The ability to actually be more present in the moment? Will any of these things come more readily to me as a result of this experiment? And if I do ultimately experience these things as a result of the experiment, does it really matter if God is a part of the process as long as I am able to finally embody these qualities to begin with? I don't know.
I do know, however, that I'm tired of being in limbo land. It no longer makes sense for me to let go and let God. So let's see if my mental landscape about cause and effect, and my life in general, become any different if I simply choose to let go of God...
And as my relative also stated, "...the natural universe is so unbelievably beautiful on its own."
So let's see if this beauty is enough for me.
Day one begins now. I will report back daily.
Thank you for joining me in my quest for understanding and in my continued quest for bliss.
The Happiness Detective