It's common knowledge among my family and friends that I have long been questioning my understanding of God. There are times I honestly don't know who God is to me and then there are times I actually wonder if God exists at all. Throughout my life, in order to help my mind wrap itself around the sheer awesomeness of the concept, I have even changed the name of this deity to a more non-denominational, mellow, all encompassing loving entity: "Spirit", "The Universe", "The Great Divine", "The Guy Who Demos Those Chimichangas At The Downtown Costco".
And yet I still have not been able to nail it down - what the heck makes sense to me. I marvel at my family members who are Christians because they are so certain of their relationship with the big He. I am also intrigued by those of my friends who are oriented to the more atheist side of things. They believe that this is all there is, we are all there is, there is nothing "out there" helping us and therefore there is nothing within us connected to that outer divine force because it simply doesn't exist.
Neither of those concepts resonates with me fully. While I find that there are deeply beautiful and monumentally helpful scriptures in the bible, I also find there are absurd edicts therein which either profoundly inhibit the self worth of certain groups of people (people I happen to love) or they otherwise attempt to govern areas of our lives which seem trivial and unworthy of such divine intervention in the first place. (Is it really an abomination if I eat shrimp or wear a poly-cotton blend?)
On the other hand, when I think about my life without a greater power to support me, I feel utterly alone. I become the very definition of that spec of dust on the lonely planet. And so, I continue to search for my connection to God, whoever the heck He, or She or It might be.
Over the years, I have explored the Law Of Attraction, The Secret and the Centre For Spiritual Living. And, like the bible, while I find there are so many helpful philosophies within each of these movements, there are also those that make zero sense to me. For example, according to the Law of Attraction, we genuinely attract each and every experience to us based on our vibration. So then am I to understand that very small children who are beaten and abused have endured this traumatic circumstance because they attracted it to themselves? Or that all those people who died in the tsunami of 2004 were vibrating sudden death by drowning all at the same time? I don't think so.
And so the totality of acceptance of yet another Spiritual teaching bites the dust. And that is a very isolating place to be. If I don't know who or what to believe in, then to whom do I pray? To whom do I give thanks? To whom do I say, "Listen, I don't know what the hell I'm doing anymore and everything I've tried works sparingly at best or not at all in the long run. Can you throw me a friggon bone here?" I've gotten down on my knees to ask anyone who will listen if they could give me a sign. And sometimes I do receive a meaningful message which has a temporary salving effect on the state of my dilemma but then I turn around the next day to find that I am still immersed in envy over the prosperity or sheer damn good luck of others.
If I had my perfect daily salvation it would be to believe that Life always supports me in all my endeavors and that all the effort I put out there is transformed into evidence that I am taken care of. And that when I set a goal, I am meant to achieve it. Period. And if there were any obstacles in the process, they might simply be considered a temporary bump in the road instead of an indication that this is how the road will always be.
When I think about how God might be trying to reach me specifically, I must acknowledge that I find great spiritual guidance from Gina Nicolaas at Prashanti in North Vancouver. Her bio states, "She is an Ordained Minister, Reiki Master and Holistic Body Massage Practitioner." A person can walk into her reiki room and immediately have the essence of their life experience assessed by her, without a word of dialogue having passed between the two. She has the uncanny ability to choose the most meaningful of the scriptures, mix them with the most profoundly wise of Eastern teachings and present them in a loving, healing way so that you feel as if you're hearing the voice of God via the soothing tones of an angel.
I have found great comfort in those walls. And I have left them every single time feeling as if God has actually been walking beside me all along. I just find that I still have a challenging time implementing that wisdom in the trials and tribulations of my daily life. But then, isn't that a fairly universal part of walking the Spiritual path? Don't we all - Christian, Buddhist, Agnostic, and Atheist alike - struggle at times to apply the corresponding tenets of our beliefs to our daily lives?
"It's not necessary for you to exacerbate your contrast with struggle in order to get it into a higher place. It is not necessary to suffer in order to give birth to desire. But when you have suffered and you have given birth to desire, so what? You've got a desire. Turn your attention to the desire. Think about where you're going and never mind where you've been. Don't spend any more time justifying any of that stuff."
If I could wave my magic wand, I would make it so. I would open up the cumbersome sack of struggles that I have been lugging around with me all these years - the one that's jam-packed with the disappointments and doubts, the strife and frustrations - and I would take all this lingering evidence which I have always allowed to prove to me that I am meant to fail, and I would dump it all into a big bonfire. Then I would watch the flames snap it all up, crackling and spitting, as they transitioned the pieces of my disappointment into a thick smoke, wafting the remnants of my relentlessly limiting beliefs to the higher power I have been searching for all my life.
And I would say, "Please take this burden from me. It is too heavy. And I cannot bear to carry it anymore."
Then I would take a stick and carefully peel away the end of it, carving it to a carefully crafted instrument. I would then take a big fat bag of marshmallows, poke one on the end of the stick and, standing before the flames, I would proceed to roast the most delicious marshmallow of all time. And it wouldn't matter to me how long it took to consummate, as long as I could see the fruits of my labor becoming all that I have ever envisioned them to be in the process.
As long as I could see.
And this is what it comes down to for me in my quest for a better understanding of and with my God. I am tired of seeing what I desire only in my mind's eye. I want to see the evidence of it in my life. If You are here, show me no longer by only a whisper of confirmation but by the unequivocal validation I have so long been seeking.
This is where the rubber meets the road. If You want me to believe. Then show me that You exist.
The Happiness Detective