I think that those of us who search for meaning in our lives, do so because we need some sense in our chaos, some hope in our darkness. We have pasts that have left us with scars and we want to know how to move forward. The fact that we even think like this, is a huge strength, because it keeps us searching for improvement, for betterment.
Sometimes, there are set-backs. Sometimes the past comes back for a visit and dredges up old hurts.
That happened to me this summer and it’s taken me the rest of the year to finally get that particular thorn out of my side. That was not necessarily a waste of time. It made me rethink a number of things, including where I want to go for the rest of my life, and giving oneself time to think is never a bad thing.
However, one of the effects during this latter part of 2007 was a feeling of being separate from God. I have never read more literature that states God is not some mean man with a beard, but a life-supporting joy that permeates everything and has no concept of good or bad, just life and light, while at the same time feeling that this God and I were moving apart.
I found myself feeling my connection to the divine as something outside of me. God wasn’t inside, expressing as me, but out there somewhere, withdrawn from me. I knew this was wrong, but I was struggling to make it right. The sense of separation, the lack of feeling one with everything, of seeing the good in all, kept increasing.
On impulse I grabbed the book “Living the Science of Mind” by Ernest Holmes and just let it fall open. If fell open to page 201, which says, in part:
[…]The whole Divine nature is reproduced in us, but we are ignorant of the fact. Our thought is creative, but in our ignorance we use it destructively.
Theology has called this the problem of evil. We call it a misuse of that which is Good. We as individuals are centers of consciousness in a Power infinitely greater than we are, but which is placed at our command by the very nature of things. From the consequence of our use of this Power we cannot hope to escape, because It is the very Law of Life Itself.
I liked reading that. That I cannot escape the oneness, I cannot escape my source, my belonging to God, my birthright to be alive and enjoy it. I like the last paragraph on page 201, too, which clarifies this inability to ever be truly lost, which affirms that this is where I find freedom:
This fall I attended a lecture given by a Danish Buddhist lama, Ole Nydahl. An amazingly fit and energetic 60-something, he spoke on the differences between Western religions and Eastern philosophies. Western religion tends to define behavior within the concept of good versus evil. Buddhists define it as stupid versus intelligent. As Ernest Holmes suggested above, it is when we understand how our minds work, its creative power, and take control of that power that we are set free.
Neither Holmes nor Nydahl were talking about CAT scans and frontal lobe activity, but rather how our own thoughts – based on memories, experiences, beliefs and habits – can trick us and have us believing a reality set in stone. When we become aware that our thoughts determine our experience, not the other way around (think self-fulfilling prophecy), then we start to wake up; we start to take back our God-given power and delusions and illusions leave us. We all grow up thinking a certain way because our parents and culture taught us certain things, a certain way of seeing the world. This leads us to believing that what we see and know is fact. But listen to a political discussion and you will immediately notice that the same reality can be described in very different and opposite ways. So there is no one reality; there are, instead, as many realities as there are people. The “sin” or stupidity is not letting ourselves explore other realities and maybe even change our minds.
There really is no conflict between Western and Eastern definition about the order of things: Both acknowledge that we humans are more than our immediate experiences and our bodies, and that our beliefs play a large part, if not the pivotal part, in determining how we feel about ourselves and what life we each have.
And there is no escaping this inevitable path to freedom, to our guaranteed release from suffering. I find that very comforting; it has helped me find my way back to my belief that life is inherently good. Sharing it with you cements it further for me.
Thank you for reading.