Over the last weeks, I have written a couple of blogs but not posted them. Something seemed missing or incomplete about them. The one entitle “Faith” came closest to what was/ is emerging. I have settled on the term ‘belief,’ often used synonymously with ‘faith,’ but not quite the same.
I have had some rather extraordinary experiences (or perhaps perceptions of experiences) in my life. I shared the tree hugging one and will eventually share some others. My understanding of what they mean can change over time. But I have not made them into defining moments. I do not worship my own experiences, make gods out of unusual people or events. I see no need to do so.
Since my involvement with Unity, and more specifically my practice as a prayer chaplain, I have been reading Unity and related books regarding principles and understandings of life, God, the universe and our place in it. This has brought up many thoughts and feelings, as well as memories of life events which I now view somewhat differently. These days I am also experiencing strong emotional reactions listening to certain music and hearing about some events, feelings that I really do not understand. Yet this feels right if confusing and scary at times.
A quote I have heard some Unity ministers use recently, and I read in the forward to Marianne Williamson’s book The Law of Divine Compensation, attributed to Albert Einstein, says: “The most important decision we make is whether we believe we live in a friendly or a hostile universe.” I presume this means that if we believe things are negative, our perspective will be somewhat paranoid, prepared for and expecting the worst. If we believe that things are basically positive, then we will look for things to work out well. Yet what if it is neither? What if the universe we live in only becomes as positive or negative as we make it to be? Things will continue to happen that we like and do not like, but our attitude will determine how we react to it and how we allow it to affect how we feel and think.
Unity speaks of the One Power some call God, some the Universe or Spirit, that is both all connected and good. Do I believe in this? If yes, then I look to see the good in all that transpires, easy when things are going well, much more challenging when horrors happen. Seeking the Good I will eventually find it. Yet what if this unifying presence is just an illusion, something to find comfort in times of trouble? What if?
If God the Good is simply my imagination, a construct which makes me feel better, find the good in life, and act in ways that promote that good, what is wrong with that? The way I see it there is really only one choice. Seeing and seeking the good in life. From that what emerges is a positive life experience, and the conscious choice to add to the joy and caring for others and myself. Whether God the Good actually exists or is a product of hopeful construction it leads me to living a healthier, more moral, positive and constructive life. And with Unity at least, God is not some supernatural external power but the superior, creative aspect of ourselves which we share with all existence.
So, what do I believe? For me I have times of faith in God and times of doubt. Perhaps ironically, even my doubts continue to point me in the same direction of faith in the good and the growth that comes with it. I can see and feel the benefits of doing so, the joy that is added to my life, the sense of connection and growth.
So what, if anything, do you believe?