What's it all about, Alfie?
Good question, and one that is pondered over by just about everyone on the planet at one time or another!
The most frequently asked question within this context, especially when disaster strikes, seems to be ‘Why’? Why him? Why her? Why me? Why now? What have I/he/she/it done to deserve this? It’s not fair! And if this is a precursor to looking for someone to blame (especially God), then it becomes a very vexed question indeed, one without satisfactory answers, and one which leads to wounds that cannot heal and a festering anger which consumes, and eventually destroys.
Perhaps the way to end that self-defeating, self-destructive never ending cycle of trying to find answers to the unanswerable is to take ‘God’ and ‘blame’ out of the picture, and look at what science, and particularly Quantum Physics, has discovered - that everything in the Universe is energy - and that energy is the lowest common denominator of every atom, molecule, sub-atomic particle etc., in existence. Energy is the first and most basic building block of the Universe, and it comes in two forms, positive and negative, and most importantly, like attracts like.
You see, life just ‘is’. It’s not out to get us; there is no white-bearded deity out there playing chess with the human race, no ‘fates’ written in concrete. There is only life, which happens to us all in a very democratic way, doing no favours, imposing no paybacks for past misdeeds, handing out no gold stars to the best performers or dire punishments to those who fall by the wayside. The only difference between how life appears to ‘treat’ us, fairly or otherwise, is our reaction to it. That is the only control we have, choice as to how to react.
Once we get our heads around this, regardless of our religious, agnostic, atheistic or other affiliations, the one thing we can see we all have in common is the free will to decide whether we will now align our reactions to ‘go with the flow’ of the positive energy stream, or the negative, and perpetuate that positivity or negativity.
Because of science, this philosophy, or way of thinking, or whatever you like to call it, has evolved far beyond the traditional teachings of many of the world’s religions. All religions give us a list of rules and conditions under which we may or may not achieve a spot in Paradise. Follow the rules, silence your conscience - you don’t need it if you follow us - and you’re okay! Christianity teaches us that God created man with ‘free will’, but if you don’t use that free will in a ‘good’ way, you will suffer the tortures of hell for eternity. Some free will! Cults do the same thing.
These ideologies do one thing very well, they encourage the herd mentality. They even talk about the ‘Shepherd and his sheep’! They totally absolve us of the responsibility of thinking for ourselves, and questioning things that do not sit right with our own conscience. Perhaps all ideologies would be further evolved if they had encouraged healthy debate and questioning from their inception, instead of promoting the idea of infallibility and ‘we’re the only true faith’. It’s that kind of thinking that has littered the pages of history with the unspeakable horrors of war and crimes against humanity, and is still doing so.
Somewhere along the line unconditional love, acceptance and forgiveness seem to have got lost in the catechisms of do’s and don’ts. We seem to expect a great deal less of our ‘gods’ than we do of ourselves. Can you imagine the uproar if a parent abandoned a toddler because it was taking too long to learn to walk? Can you imagine, as a parent, never forgiving a child its transgressions but torturing it and throwing it into an active volcano as punishment? Yet that is the level of our expectations of ‘God.’
So, regardless of your spiritual beliefs, rest assured in the knowledge that LIFE JUST IS, and it’s your reaction to it that makes the difference; a positive one or a negative one. That is the only ‘choice’ we have.
Once you can accept this indisputable fact, then it only makes sense to choose to make the best of it and move on. In choosing acceptance, looking for the gift in every situation (and there is one, even in the worst of them), recognising that you are not alone - you are surrounded by other ‘space travellers’ with as little control over life as you have, who are coping with similar setbacks, disasters, losses, illness and disease, death and mayhem, and are asking the same question, ‘Why?’, then you can accept that there’s nothing and no-one to blame, and you can move on without carrying the debilitating and pointless burden of anger with you. You can exert your only control, choice as to where to go from here. Learn from the experience and make it a better, stronger you, or allow it to cripple it you and stunt any further growth.
Our emotions not only directly influence the quality of our lives in the here and now, but they also ripple out into the Universe and influence the creative process itself. That’s a pretty awesome responsibility. But again, there’s no ‘right and wrong’, there is only experience, and every experience weaves another coloured thread, another variation of pattern into the tapestry of creation.
These thoughts were triggered by the experience of the death of loved ones by some friends of mine. As I watched them struggle with the ubiquitous ‘why’, my heart ached because I understood the futility of the question. If these thoughts and ideas can bring them the same comfort they have brought me through my struggles with life through the passage of time, I will be comforted also.
I have never been content to accept ideas that do not ‘gel’ with me. Ever since childhood, I have been a questioner, sometimes to my detriment! Those questions led me from Christianity and Catholicism to utter rebellion and atheism.
But that didn’t sit well with me either. The prospect of the beautiful, intricate, miraculous and infinitely diverse patterns of life, death and creation within the Universe happening by accident was just inconceivable. As improbable as the prospect of a monkey tapping out the complete works of Shakespeare if he sat in front of a typewriter long enough! Electron microscopes, science and technology are constantly revealing and making sense of the marvellous patterns in what was once considered chaos - a theory I have never subscribed to. There has got to be a creative intelligence behind it all. The conclusions I’ve reached after all my questioning and research are as follows:
As every cell in our bodies contains the DNA of the complete person, so too, every soul contains the DNA of all creation, which is the ‘Creator’. We are one with all else; not separate in any way. But the proposition that ‘the whole is greater than the sum of its parts’ makes perfect sense in this context, and solves for me the dichotomy present in the ‘Him and us’ idea presented by formal religions.
But perhaps ‘conclusions’ is the wrong word. How can one impose ‘conclusions’ on a never ending story; an ongoing experience or experiment; the eternal quest to create something more achingly beautiful, more fascinating, more magical than anything that has gone before? If I, a mere mortal, contain that unquenchable thirst to know, do, create, experience more and ever more, how much more would that apply to the ultimate ‘Creator’? As a child, I used to feel so sorry for God. I told my grandmother once, much to her chagrin, that it must be so boring to be God, because he knew all about everything and therefore could never experience the joy of discovery!
Out of the mouths of babes and sucklings - hmmmm?!!!
SHIRLEY ROBINSON MARSH