Are there really NO answers in life? To the big questions, I mean? Is there a God? Is he a he? A she? An it? Where is God? I used to think God was “up there” somewhere or “out there” somewhere. But then, when I was young, I had no idea how impossible it is to wrap my head around “out there,” knowing, as I do today, that “out there” is endless. I suppose that, in my youth, I just thought of God as somewhere slightly beyond the clouds – not unlike the way virtually everyone believed at one time…so strongly in fact that, if you questioned such a belief, they felt justified in killing you. Some still do.
Now that we know the “heavens” are ever-expanding, the mind…my mind, anyway…is incapable of wrapping itself around the infinity that is beyond us. So, where is God? Does she live on a planet somewhere? If so, where? How long would it take to get there? Even if you were traveling at the speed of light? Or even faster? Traveling at the speed of timelessness maybe?
Further, which religion is right? How do any of us really know? Can I (we) be sure of anything?
There was a time I pretended to be sure. I boasted my God was the “real” God…my religion was one of relationship, so it wasn’t a religion at all (like that’s what really distinguished it…come on, it’s the same in all religions…relationships). But, I shouted about as if I was certain I was right in my beliefs and, if you did not agree, you were the one who was wrong. Not I.
I am so beyond that nonsense today. That narrow-mindedness. I now know, however, that during those pretentious days of mine, which were more like years, rather than really being certain of anything, much less my God…my religion, it was I who was of all people the most uncertain…the most frightened, delusional, as well as lost. It is likely true that those who pretend to know…really don’t. And, that those who know don’t need to pretend they do.
Here’s what I DO know. Here’s all I may EVER know. I have experienced Something in my life that I have chosen to call God. Then, is that which I have experienced really God? How could I possibly know?
I don’t. Nor does anyone else for that matter. The most I can say is that what I have experienced has been so incredible…so mystical, as well as meaningful, that I could no more deny it than I can describe it. Instead, it is personal, deeply moving to me, and absolutely wonderful. This knowing IS making me a better person. Or, so it seems. I am more aware of the needs of others and concerned about them. I am less interested in just living for myself…just being wrapped up in myself. I have this longing to make sure you are doing well in your life, too. I am far more at peace within than I’ve ever been at any other time in my life. I could go on and on, but I trust you get the point.
My point is this: Is this that I have experienced…God? Am I experiencing God? Or, just a figment of my imagination? A neurotic projection of my own unmet needs?
I do not know. Neither does anyone else. But, I know this much. It no longer matters to me to try and prove anything. What matters is that life…this indecipherable riddle, is infinitely more meaningful to me…more peaceful and loving…and an infinitely more enjoyable experience, knowing and believing as I do.
Is this everyone else’s experience? Probably not. Does everyone else have to believe as I believe? I hope not. For me, I cannot deny what I’ve experienced…couldn’t if I tried. As Mark Nepo so beautifully put it, “Though my lids be closed, I still feel the warmth of the sun.” Though I live with questions…sometimes doubts…I cannot disregard what I feel inside, what I think I know but cannot know, too. “I’m like a bird,” wrote Nepo, “gliding on a current of air it cannot see, or a fish swimming with the tide of deep it cannot see, or a note being sung as part of a song it cannot see…”
So today, as every day, I will live in the peace of not knowing anything for certain…what they call in the east, the “wisdom of uncertainty!” This is the secret to happiness.