Please Note: I first wrote this essay on my personal process of finding belief years ago. It’s never static, it’s not perfect and I make no claim that it is so. It just came out on paper one day and today, after my latest revisit, I decided to share it. I’ve never let anyone see it before. I do return to it ever so often, and it morphs as the moods see fit and my convictions allow. It’s always in flux, just like our world at present…just like me. This is the current version, though I wonder what it will sound like on the 5th of November?
At one point in the journey I found myself at the crossroads looking for answers. Actually, I was desperate for them, and equally desperate for console.
You see, I live in this world, too.
A world where programmed waves of broadcast ignorance wash over me with clocklike regularity; this world where “faith-based” truths are bellowed nonsensically as answers to my cries for considerations for serious resolutions; this world where Science so fears to speak up and demand that it’s logic be heard that it will allow the teaching of that which to the very core of its belief it knows to be false; this world where our leaders believe that instilling us with the idea that fear in living life is our only avenue to a secure life, and so a joyful life; this world…
Somewhere in this world I felt there was a wise soul seeking to share wisdom…seeking a student…seeking me.
I found him at the crossroads (echo’s return: He stumbled over me at the crossroads).
Upon finding him I thought the journey over, but upon letting himself be found the first thing he taught was that the journey was just beginning.
Well…of course! How stupid of me! At the crossroads all roads lead on and out. That I found anyone was almost unbelievable.
Upon that reflection, he illustrated some thoughts on Belief to my poor mind.
He showed me disbelief. Taught me Blind Faith (the false faith). Fears without reasons. Love with No Return. On giving your all, sometimes even your life, all for the pat on the head and the “go away, now…come back when we need you” smile.
Well…beg pardon? I thought this was going to be easy. Find a teacher, learn the lessons and then go out into the world and live a great life.
There’s a world of difference between living by the rules and living aware of the rules. The first model controls you while the second frees you. While truth may be only a perception of attitude, we all live in this demanding world. How you choose to live in it will shape your convictions and define your beliefs.
What should I believe?
Ask yourself, instead, he said: How should I find belief?
Belief is not elusive. Belief can be found on every highway you choose for the journey. The price of one’s belief is a good measure as to it’s value for your soul. Many who will tell you that to believe what they believe is the way to salvation, as if your salvation has not already occurred, as if salvation has guidelines, as if salvation is understandable by mere mortals, as if your salvation is necessary at all. Others will demand that you believe in their special sight, their singular ability to see into you with precious abilities given only to them by a magical being only they seem to understand. They will demand that you believe that only they can use this righteous gift to seek out and eradicate your inherent inner-evil. And that they will save you.
He said: If this is what you choose to believe, then please believe.
Others may ask you to believe in their beliefs, then demand a show of proof. They will sing of life after death (as if such a thought has never before been floated!) and preach in great houses on how to conduct your lives within their belief (now your belief, bought and paid for). They will be reassuring and confident when asking for this proof. They may ask you for money, they may ask you to sing of yourself, they may ask you for your life…proof that you believe. They will assure you that they have discovered the pathway to a glorious afterlife filled with happiness and comfort, and that this road can be yours, all for a little belief and proofs. No human can give you absolution. It is not within them to do that, regardless of whatever you both may believe. If that human could absolve you, then that human would be god. And that human is not God. God requires no proofs. God requires no beliefs, and only God can provide absolution, though God’s absolution is most likely not what you believe it to be.
He said: If this is what you choose to believe, then please believe.
And then he said: But remember, and this is from one who assures you he is no god…from one who sits the farthest from perfection…if you must believe in anything, consider these thoughts:
Please, by all means, believe what you want. For God’s sake, for your sake, have beliefs.
Just don’t hurt anyone in the process of believing what you want, for no belief gives you that right.
Don’t poison anyone else’s mind while you believe what you want; this is not your job.
Don’t determine anyone else’s belief to be poisonous, this also is not your job.
Regardless as to how lovely another’s belief may seem, it will never be the same for you. Believe what you must, not what they want you to believe.
The simplicity of a belief does not determine its worth. Simplistic beliefs may seem reasonable, but they bring a double-edged sword.
While listening to others, remember that words are not benign. They are beautiful and powerful, bringing darkness and light, and hold much risk to you when exposed to them. But you must be exposed to them, and if what you hear is what you want to hear, but only that, then find others to listen too as well.
And keep listening. Listen to other beliefs, for what you truly want may lie within all that you hear.
What you hear may not be what you believe, but the road you are placed upon when the belief sweeps over you may lead you to what you believe you need.
The many branches and byways of the road to your belief can only be walked by you. It is your road, and the only road you can and will walk. Believe you have found “it”, choose to stop seeking, close down your odyssey and settle in for a long night’s rest, then the place you find yourself in may just be what some call Hell (it was for me!). Look to the road and the journey it presents. If the road goes on, then you must as well.
Questioning other’s beliefs from the standpoint of what you believe is easy, a superficial exercise that adds nothing to your journey. Questioning other beliefs from the vantage of an innocent child is backbreaking. It is terrible-hard, for it makes you actively think, not only about what you are questioning but how your soul is considering the puzzle.
Every thought you think, every word you speak, every motion you make is thrown out into the ether of life for all to see, hear and react to. Don’t add confusion to the mix. Believe in what you want, but don’t assume everyone else will need to believe it as well. For believing what you want is personal. Share it if you wish, give of it freely but make no demands of anyone but yourself.
Always question what you believe, reassess it and reevaluate it regularly, for in order to get to what, get to where you want, you must know you can change…believing all the while you can accept that change.
There is no change in belief, only in yourself.
Believe in yourself. I do. In me, and in you.
And with that he was gone.
Well…Of course. Neither one of us were at the crossroads with easy questions.
Oh damn! Still so much to learn.