“I don’t believe in God,” she shook her head, long, bias-cut bangs framing her gray-green eyes, and she cut her gaze back to the employees leaving the building, smiling and high-fiving some as they passed. I stared, listening inward, watching the cascade of sentiments and thoughts running through my layered psyche as my eyes took in her flawless pale skin, perfect teeth and rosebud lips.
She said “God”… She didn’t say “a God”. She’s depressed. So young and already so much disappointment has been piled at her feet. She believes. She’s just angry with God. Don’t try to engage her now. Let her grieve.
“Why?” I have so often heard it asked in vain. “Why me?” “Why, if there is a loving God, is there so much suffering in the world?”
People ask and they do so as if they expect an answer, often shouting it passionately at the impassive blue dome above. Rarely do they stop and reflect: listen inward for a reply. It’s as if they expect the clouds to part in the sky above and light to stream down with a voice to explain it all. They are half-correct in that expectation. The inner clouds do part. In inner stillness a voice does answer and, for the one who has an inner ear to hear, lucidity dawns. Peace and Joy and comforting Love do up-well from an inner sea of knowing, its vastness mirroring the sky above. But this inner sea is warm and responsive. Learn to hear its gentle sighing and you will never again feel alone. In contrast, looking out into the world for comfort is certain to bring only more disappointment. Observing the way humanity treats its selves (and other sentient beings) is certain to appall and depress. Nature too is red in tooth and nail. Most all of the evidence in the world around shrieks “Please no! God! No, God! …No god…”
The watchful and sensitive may in fact notice that it appears that this world was constructed precisely to keep God out. It’s as if some deranged demi-god decided to go truant from heaven and build his own fort – his hideaway. Finding there was no “place” to go, he shrouded a little corner of Heaven in clouds of confusion and guilt and posted a sign: “Abandon all faith who enters here. No God allowed”. Yet, even for the thrill seekers who wandered in for the rides, the feasting and sensory “rush”, help is always available. It could be a pleasant, even glorious, trip – so long as the visitor re-members who they are and holds in their awareness one pivotal reckoning: It’s not “Real”. God alone author Reality and He builds no worlds of death and carnage and suffering.
People say, “Why would a loving god build such a world?”
Quite a prescient question, that. Why do people then abandon the obvious answer: He didn’t. This world is the work of a deranged and brilliant intelligence.
Let me be blunt: There is no world “out there”. To be precise, there is no “out”. There is consciousness and everything that appears to unfold in the “outer world” is but a projection This is a realization modern quantum physics has been demonstrating for years, slowly dragging the reluctant priesthood of science to the altar of Truth while they shriek “Consciousness is an epiphenomenon of matter! Matter rules!”
“Right,” says I. “Inert dust organized its self into ‘life’. That makes as much sense as ‘Nothing created something’. Get thee back to your labs. The data speak. Yet you build wild models to navigate around the simple truth Occam would direct you to embrace.”
“At length, the unguided ship loses its bearing.”
Science has rendered us as orphans of an insentient cosmos, fodder for the machine of cause and effect, directing out attention outward with the flashing lights and garish music, the lurid details of entrails and the futility of it all. Prozac is not God, but we’re deaf and blind and any port will do in a storm. The only inward looking most do these days(/daze) is into the medicine cabinet, counting our escape pods to make sure we ration ourselves to the next chat with our “physician”. BIG PHARMA has the answers, but they wear off and you have to swallow the whole sad scenario over and over again.
Yet lasting answers and comfort can be found if we look/listen “in” to our own mindspace and consciousness. Learning to hear and see inwardly, developing the ear to hear and the eye to see, is foundational craft for navigating the carnival of carnage of this world and keeping one’s sanity/direction. It is the compass of the inner Guide, The Navigator, to whom I direct your attention. Without the will and skill to listen to this Guide, at length the unguided ship will surely be lost. I spent the first two decades of my life learning these skills and I’ve amassed a few useful answers, assembling them into a model of this lessor “reality” we call “the world”: how, and why, it works the way it appears to work. So let’s ask the questions together in this column. I invite your questions and we’ll see what we can resolve together. As we’re new to one another, I’ll start with the question I have most often heard from those who say they don’t believe in God: “Why – why the suffering?”
Many think God doesn’t care what happens to them and so they “reason” that God does not exist. We are eternal beings. We cannot die, not in the “Reality” of our transcendent nature, and so, in a way, God doesn’t care what appears to happen here. Let me say that again: God doesn’t care what appears to be happening here because it’s just a bad dream from which He is trying, constantly, to waken us.
This world is just a dispiriting dream. I can assure you from direct personal experience that “dying” feels exactly like wakening from a bad dream. Suddenly, one is aware and perfect and joyous, with no pain, no debt, no guilt, no demands of any kind being made of them – and they look back at what they had called “their life” and laugh, grateful that they exist in a broader context into which they can flee the specter of shattered hopes and the minions of suffering.
We are eternal beings. The world cannot really hurt you. God does care what you/we think/feel/believe about what appears to happen here. Indeed the point of all success and suffering is the same: edification – learning. We are here to learn and we learn by one of two methods: We either ascribe meanings ourselves, reasons for what appears to happen, or we ask inwardly and listen to the (most often wordless) answer that comes if we will but wait. And that is the entire point of suffering: For most of us, it is not until we are suffering that we truly look/listen inward. Those who are dreaming happy dreams never bother to ask the questions much less actually listen inward for the answers. Suffering’s redemption is that it waken us from this dream of believing we are hostages to a world of causality and prisoners in the meatsuits we call our bodies. If suffering can lead you to hear your guide, it is no longer suffering. It is transformed by the value of the gift it brings. It is redeemed as a blessing – perhaps the greatest blessing of all in this world.
We each have a guide, an angelic or celestial twin, who understands both our human feelings and thoughts and our Eternal natures. This Twin serves as the intermediary who sees the path back to clarity and an understanding of what we are and why we are here. He/She is, as I like to call Him/Her, “The Navigator”. If you follow this still small voice for Love/Truth It will guide you home by teaching you how to perceive and how to think: how to remain lucid in the dream of the world. Learning to hear your guide is the most important skill you can develop in this world. Once you have found this voice in your psyche you have all you need to make your way through the world and to be a portal into this world for your/our divine nature. You have reached the level of knowledge of your Holy Guardian Twin. You have developed “ears to hear” and become a mirror for less prescient souls and a useful tool in Eternity’s designs.
I met my own Twin when I was six. My childhood was fraught with peril and pain. My father had not a mean bone in his body, but he had a snap, harsh temper. My grand-uncle was, unbeknownst to my family, a pedophile and my mother often hid me at his house to protect me from Daddy when Daddy was having more trouble than usual dealing with my hyperactive antics. And so I heard the inner wordless voice, intruding into my mindspace to direct me up a tree to hide one hot spring day. My Twin, whom I also call my “Daemon”, directed me to climb in my slick-soled Sunday shoes, so I could escape my grand-uncle who could not climb because he had one wooden leg.
People rarely look up, He told me, and no one would expect to find such a little girl up so high in those slick-soled shoes…
After the old man left the yard, a deep comfort rose from within. A peace filled my mindspace and love asserted its verity to my six year old awareness. I would love the old man one day, my Twin told me, Love him in the way I love you… my Guide reassured me. I could not, at the time, see how that could ever be, yet it came to pass. Indeed, because of that suffering introducing me to my Beloved Twin, I bless my grand-uncle now. He has become what in India is called mangalam param: an embodiment of supreme auspiciousness. My greatest tribulation was my liberator from the dream of captivity to the world of “cause”.
Hare, hare… I hold it all harmless and bless it, smiling…
Nothing can cause you to hate. You choose it. Nothing can cause you to fear. You choose it.
The problem is, most of this “choosing” goes on unconsciously: without lucidity, and lucidity is what suffering is about. When you’re afraid/suffering, time dilates, moments expand, captured in the mind with the freeze-frame clarity of the Eternal. Identity broadens. Self straddles realms – the temporal and the Eternal felt simultaneously – just the way the Guide experiences them. In fact, perception is, in times of trouble, raised up to touch the consciousness of the Celestial Twin and the heart swells with a strange love and peace that defies the circumstances that provoked this shift. It has been coined “the Peace that surpasses understanding”, because it seems so out of place in the context of circumstances that provoke it. Indeed, it seems out of place in this world yet it is precisely what this world needs. Once you reach this blessed perspective, the fulcrum of the balance beam, the crosshairs of the cross, you are a portal for Eternity’s Love and Sanity to enter the nightmare of the world. As you move through this imagined time and space you bring Heaven’s gate with you. People see it when they look at you. You shine with a radiance the inner eye perceives.
This is the point of suffering: That you learn to redeem it for the blessings hidden therein. It provokes you to find the voice of your Guide within your awareness. You learn to follow and trust that Guide.
Mistakes you learn from are transformed to “experience”. Suffering transformed to blessings is the first experience of your Divine Eternal Nature and your Godly estate. As you label the significance of an event, so shall you experience it. This is real magic: You summon the experience you have of any event with the labels you assign. As treacherous as it can be at times, it is the first subtle witness within this world to your godly estate, and it works outside of time’s constraints, allowing you to transform your past from a bad dream to a great blessing by reassigning significance in retrospect. There is great power in this practice. I call it “The Way of Redemption”: For every seeming tribulation you wait to assign its significance, keeping your mind primed and tuned to seeing the blessings hidden therein.
As a man thinketh, so shall he see and be.
Choose wisely the way you name and judge experiences in this world. Your names and judgements have the power to liberate or confuse your perceptions and your Being.
I love you all and welcome this opportunity to explore inwardly the answers that come from within as we learn together to discern the Voice for Truth/Love. Please feel free to write me at email@example.com.