This is the first in a six-part article. Parts 2-6 will be posted monthly. Be sure to watch for them!
It is safe to assume that readers of The Edge occasionally consider life’s biggest questions: Who are we? Why are we here? Where are we going? Not everyone asks such questions, but some of us are driven to find the answers. This article answers these big questions. And if you read and understand what is presented here, you will be better able to answer life’s other questions whenever they arise.
Please do not be in a hurry to skim through this article. What you are about to read is profound. You are fortunate to have come across it. Let it soak in. Understand it. Take your time and listen to what your mind and heart tell you about what you are reading and how it applies to your life. Reread it occasionally. Let it form a solid foundation for everything you do.
Writings on this subject often include details about the author or the source of the information. This article does not offer that. As readers, we tend to use such background information to help us determine the validity of what is written, but when the concepts lie beyond current science, who wrote them or from where they came is information sometimes better left unknown. The validity or non-validity of such concepts can only be determined by each individual for himself or herself. This is a very important understanding.
If someone is introduced to us as a holy person, master, cleric, guru, psychic, or prophet, we might tend to give their words more weight. We might be inclined to believe their words, or the words of a religious document, more readily than the words of someone less exalted. But maybe we shouldn’t. Many problems in the world are the result of our giving power to concepts because of their source rather than from a determination that they actually hold truth for us. Consider what others say but make your own evaluation of its truthfulness. Do not feel small or guilty if something is not believable to you. Do not be intimidated by the credentials of a teacher or a concept. Do not feel less capable than others of determining truth. It is possible that thousands of intelligent and sensitive people have, for hundreds of years, believed things that you simply cannot accept. Respect their right to believe them, and also respect your right to find their beliefs unbelievable. Be aware, though, that when we form our own beliefs in all areas of our lives, our imagination, linked with our desires or past training, can be very convincing. Use discernment.
A teacher or an author might have personal experiences that seem to validate for himself or herself the accuracy of what they say, but that is still their truth. Each of us must determine our own truth, but we must also be willing to change our truth when new and better information and experiences come along. They will come along, forever. This is an important understanding. Do not be so invested in your own beliefs that you feel overly threatened when something better presents itself. Nothing is stagnant, everything grows. Allow your truth to evolve, even if that is scary.
Using only an intellectual, investigative approach to understanding nonobjective reality is not very helpful. Sometimes feeling, intuition, and one’s inner experience have to come into play. This article is not a purely intellectual analysis of the unseen nature of reality. It includes concepts that are not yet provable by science. That is simply the nature of the subject. Relax your intellect a little, and feel your way through these paragraphs.
This article is full of uncommon truths, but judge the merits of each statement individually. Even if the first nine claims ring true, do not accept the tenth claim if it does not. Let’s call this the first claim: The purpose of human life is much less complicated than we have traditionally believed it to be. The why of why we are here is simple. Life is just as it appears to be. There are not any deep, hidden secrets to be uncovered if only we could read the right book, practice the right technique, or ask the right question to the right person. There are not any chapters of vague, esoteric, or contradictory details that need to be interpreted and explained to us by someone wiser. That is not to say that living life is easy or uncomplicated. Life can be very challenging, but if we all understood a few basic concepts about the nature of our lives, our confusions and their resulting problems would largely go away on a global scale. That is the purpose of this article: to help us understand, relax, trust, learn, enjoy, and love a little more.
Words such as spiritual, God, divine, evil, and enlightenment can have so many meanings. When we hear one of these words, we think of certain things, yet we probably all think of slightly different things due to our history with the word. There is an old saying, A thousand monks, a thousand religions. Such words are subtle. When we use them, or when we hear others use them, we should be sure that the way in which they are taken is the way in which they are meant. Even the simple word spiritual can be a problem if it is not clearly defined. What is spiritual and what is not spiritual? This article offers clarity.
Starting at the Top
Probably every language in history has had at least one word for the ultimate reality or the source/creator of all that is. In English, the most commonly used words are God and Goddess. Even though the word God is so widely known and used, it is probably one of the least well-defined. It means so many different things, good and bad, to so many people that when it is used in conversation, what is meant and what is understood are often two very different things.
If you are asked, “Do you believe in God?” you may answer yes or no based on a definition of the word you learned in your youth without actually knowing how the person who asked the question defines the word. The word God can be packed with so much meaning for each of us that we may shy away from using it altogether. But it could be a good and useful word if we used it in its most basic, universal sense. It should be okay to use the word God.
What if God were defined simply as that which is omnipresent, that which is everywhere and everything? Certainly, no definition of the word would omit that characteristic. No one could reasonably deny the existence of molecules and atoms. And, of course, there are subatomic particles and energies that are finer and more pervasive than atoms. Our scientific understanding of the nature of existence is forever being refined and expanded. Physicists are working toward identifying the one force or energy underlying everything. It is just a matter of time until we have the Unified Field Theory / Theory of Everything / Final Theory / Ultimate Theory / Master Theory. It may not be an oversimplification to say that identifying this one underlying reality would be, by definition, identifying something approximating omnipresence. There can be only one omnipresence, and it can be given any name ̶ God being one of them. If and when science identifies that which is omnipresent, and if we are not averse to calling it God, then no reasonable person would be an atheist.
Aside from any claim about the existence of God, simply stating that God means omnipresence is self-evident and should not lead to argument. It is when we try to add to that definition that the discussion gets tricky. While claiming that God is all-knowing or all-loving may seem reasonable to some, adding even that bit of personalization can send up red flags for others. And we often attribute other significant traits to God, such as the insistence that we worship Him/Her/It; that we think, believe, and act in specific ways; or, horribly, that we fear, hate, condemn, or kill anyone who does not believe our definition of what God is or wants. (Given that definition, no reasonable person would be a non-atheist.) Certainly, for some, adding beautiful nuances to their understanding of God can offer richness, but that is best done on a personal level. God may not be a personality with likes and dislikes, but It might not be a dark, lifeless, unmanifest void either ̶ knowable only through mathematics.
Omnipresence and infinity are concepts that our human brains have difficulty grasping. We are adept at living life in this time-space universe, but comprehending that which is one or more steps removed from this reality is not one of our specialties. We can get a sense of what lies beyond, but doing that takes as much intuition and feeling as it does intellect.
This is the end of Part 1. Please look for Part 2 in future months of The Edge. If you wish, you may read the entire article as a free download at LifeInTimeSpace.com