As human beings we all have beliefs.
Some of us believe in God, some of us don’t.
Some of us believe what they write in the newspapers, some of us don’t.
Some of us believe in ourselves, some of us don’t.
You get the picture.
The seeds for many of these beliefs were planted in childhood. The rest we pick up along the way as we live and experience life.
This post is about how I came to believe in a power greater than myself. It’s a story of beliefs based on everything I was told, rebellion and rejection, spiritual bankruptcy and finding the right path for me. It’s the story of one man’s journey, a journey without a destination.
You can’t choose your parents
“You can’t choose your parents but you can choose your friends”, so the well known saying goes. It’s pretty obvious really. The point is we are born into the families and circumstances we are born into. As small children growing up there’s not a lot we can do about this. Our parents bring us up (hopefully) in the best way they can, according to their beliefs.
My parents did. They did the best that they could.
I was raised in a very religious household. My father was a Baptist minister and so it was church every Sunday and a daily diet of full on Christian doctrine. I was told what to believe. It was all very black and white. This was right, that was wrong. There was only one truth and I’d better believe it or I was heading for hell.
I didn’t have a choice.
Around the age of 16 I rebelled (as most kids do). I rejected everything, including God. I decided to go my own way.
The forgotten years
For the next 30 years I lived my life according to my own rules. I had some successes, and made many mistakes. There were good times and there were bad times.
I think it’s fair to say that hedonism became my God.
The God of my childhood was nowhere to be seen and I had no real connection with the spiritual side of my being.
My life was going nowhere.
Eventually I hit rock bottom. I reached a point in my life where I realised that something needed to change. I was spiritually bankrupt.
Stepping into the light
What to do?
Six years ago I began to look at the spiritual aspect of my being. I began to explore my spirituality.
Who was I, what was I, why was I?
Initially I stepped straight back into the belief system that I had rejected as a young man. Straight back to a God, sat on a cloud, with a long white beard etc. It was dead easy to do and it helped, for a time.
There was still something missing though.
So I continued to explore.
I became open, open to other thoughts, beliefs and ideas. I read veraciously. I talked to friends. I talked to strangers.
A number of people said, “why don’t you pick a God of your understanding?” This was revolutionary. I had, up to this point, thought that the only ‘God’ was the one that I’d been brought up with. This simple question liberated me. It gave me permission to define my own beliefs.
The question back from me though was “how?”
Then one day I read a book that changed my life. The book, recommended by a friend, was called ‘Conversations with God’.
The reason that this book changed my life is because it challenged all the ideas that I had, as a child, been told about God. Contained within the pages of that book were concepts that resonated with me on a level that I cannot describe. They spoke to my soul.
Let me give you an example. As I child I had been told that we are all sinners and that if you don’t repent you will go to hell (hell being an actual place that you end up when you die). ‘Conversations with God’ challenged this. It said that God is love. If God is love then why would he create us knowing that we would end up in hell? In fact, if she were that hacked off with us why wouldn’t she simply destroy us rather than torturing us with eternal damnation? It went on to say that hell and heaven are actually states of being, states of being that we can choose. Even Jesus had said “the kingdom of heaven is within us”.
This was the God I had been searching for: a God of love, a God of compassion, a God of peace.
And so I came to believe. I stepped out of the darkness and into the light.
Spirituality: a never ending journey
The beauty of the spiritual journey is that it is never ending.
Nothing is set in stone.
I am open. I walk my own path.
You can too.
Today I see the world, the Universe, in a different light.
For me God (the Universe, he, she, it etc.) is everywhere and everything. She is the energy that pervades. She speaks to us all constantly: through other people, through the book that you’re reading, through the TV show that you’re watching, through nature, through that still small voice in each of us. The question is not “is God talking to us”? The question is “are we listening”?
As the journey continues I have realised that I can never define what God is. By doing so I would be limiting God to that which my brain can conjure up, and for me God is limitless. Rather I can know, just simply know. All the answers lie within and when I am in touch with my soul I know.
We are all here to experience life. I often ask myself “why”? Perhaps the reason is as simple as this. God is love. If God is love, and only love, then how can she know or experience that love? It’s like hot and cold i.e. you can’t experience that which is hot unless you have experienced that which is cold. Likewise, for God to experience the love that she is, she also needs to experience that which is not love. And so we are created, put here on earth to experience life, to experience love and fear, hot and cold, dark and light etc.
We are aspects of the divine, God looking back at God.
We are here so that God can know herself.
We are here to remember who we truly are.
We are here to experience life.
We are here to remember that we are all one.
This post is a ‘heart on my sleeve’ post describing my spiritual journey and some of my beliefs. It is in no way meant to be a sermon. It is simply my truth.
Your journey is your journey. Your beliefs are your beliefs.
I wish you well on that journey, may you find that which you seek.