We live in a most amazing time. Sitting in front of our computer screen we can access more information than can be contained in the largest library. We can read history, current news, philosophy, religious beliefs and just about anything that can be imagined. If ever there was an age of enlightenment, it is right in front of us. The opportunity to learn from any of the great masters of any subject is right here - right now.
But opportunity is often overlooked. We learn by stepping outside of our comfort zone. When we hear new ideas and new concepts for the first time, it's hard to understand and make sense of them. We try to fit them into existing categories and if they seem to oppose what we already believe to be true, we have a real problem. Dismiss them or re-consider what we believed was true.
If you are a person with natural curiosity and a desire to learn, it's not quite as difficult. But it is challenging to re-assess your belief system. You have to let go of your ego, open your heart and listen to the universal spirit that is all around you. You have to develop the explorer mindset - the desire to go beyond whatever you have been taught to believe. You have to believe that there is more to know. You have to believe there are places of the spirit that are not yet explained or understood - at least not yet by you.
This is where I find myself. Religion often offends me because it presents itself as having the end all - be all - answers. It's full of doctrine that people repeat like robots with little understanding or concern about the actual meaning behind it. It becomes something to hang onto like a rope in the middle of a river. Don't let go of the rope or you might float somewhere terrible. So, everyone is just hanging onto this rope believing it is saving them from some terrible demise. I'm willing to let go of the rope and discover what's down river. And I'm seeing some great scenery.
We get so caught up in lifelines - hanging onto terms and ways of expressing things - and we cannot see beyond our fears. We can't learn anything if we are certain we already know it all. There are great commonalities across all beliefs and even the belief in no great deity at all. There is something that binds us all. Yes, some have been so damaged that they can no longer see the bond but it is still there nonetheless.
We need to stop poking one another in the eye insisting that there is just this one language - one path - one understanding - one way. I know atheists and agnostics who are more generous and more dedicated to humanity than some religious folk I know. It's not convincing to me to say that a belief or a prayer will guarantee a greater reward in some afterlife. I cannot believe you can be bitter, judgmental, self centered and self righteous but you pray to God and Jesus - go to church - and you're selected above all others.
I do believe that our spirit, our energy, lives on somehow. But I also recognize that I believe that because I was carefully taught to believe it. It's a theory. It's a guess. My curious explorer self seeks evidence. That "evidence" is not something I can experience with my normal senses. I have to seek with my spirit - my intuition - my ability to "believe" or to suspend disbelief. All things are possible.
What is probable?
What can I live with?
What belief will motivate me to be more, do more today? That is what counts for me. What will inspire me TODAY to be a better person for myself and for those around me? My mission is to be a creator - to make something more each day for myself and those around me. TODAY. I don't need anyone and any thing to dictate that to me. I may be inspired by a message at church. I may be inspired by a story on the news. I may be inspired by an immersive experience observing nature. My spirit seeks inspiration. My spirit seeks collaboration. My spirit seeks truth and understanding. But I trained my spirit to seek these things. TODAY. Tomorrow and the afterlife will come. I don't need a ticket. I don't need a rope. I don't need to poke anyone else in the eye. Though sometimes I want to. I need to be the best me I can be. I need to encourage and inspire others to do the same.