I think about God a lot. Not in a heaven and hell, old man in the sky sort of way, but in a deep reverence for the power that keeps the planets in orbit and the stars in the sky sort of way. I’ve learned, through much reading, research and practice, that this very same power lies within each of us.
Yes, the power that turns the fetus into the baby and the bulb into the rosebush is the same force that each and every one of us as humans carries within. The difference between humans and animals or plants is that we have the power to say yes or no, and that we are at the effect of the mortal realm. The mortal realm makes us forget that which we truly are, which is a perfect creation of the divine.
Excuse me for getting so mystical, but this truth is nothing short of spectacular.
If you look at a baby, it’s generally joyous and at ease and playful. That is the true nature of us all, but heartbreak and bills and mean bosses make us forget this, and as we get older the burdens of life seem to outweigh the pleasures. The purpose of life is to remember the joy that we were created with; it is to adjust our perceptions to be open to the miracles that are available to us at every moment.
Our lives are up to us to create, of course, and seeing the beauty of life is not foolish, it is profound.
Dwelling in the negative, asking why me, or letting suffering get the best of you simply gives power to that which is concerning you. Adversity builds character, and recognizing difficulties as tests enables you to learn and grow. Maintaining a ‘beginner’s mind,’ that which is open and flexible instead of rigid and closed, allows you to ebb and flow with the tides of life.
Life is messy. That’s just the truth, and you can fight it or you can accept it. No one has it perfect, all we can do is our best. It is by that which cannot be taken away that we must define ourselves.
That which cannot be taken away comes from within.
Life, especially in the United States, is defined by our accomplishments. Accomplishments are extremely important. They build self-esteem, they let us explore and display our best qualities, and they have the power to make the world a better place. However, have you ever accomplished something only to find that the completion of it leads you to yearn for the same thing you wanted when you started out?
Making a certain amount of money, buying a home, and tying the knot – things our culture trumps as its highest values- tend not to deliver the joy and satisfaction they seemingly would. If they did, we’d have a lot less depression, divorce, and dissatisfaction in general. Ever met anyone who seems like they have it so good, then come to find out how sad, confused and lost they feel? Try reading a tabloid.
While taking care of our outer life is critical to our financial stability and worldly obligations, taking care of our inner life sets the stage for us to be happy no matter how much or how little we have. And, if you’re reading this right now, I’m telling you, you’ve got a lot.
Ok, back to God. Or creation, or Mother Nature, or the universe, or whatever word makes you feel comfortable. It lives within you.
There is a story that God used to live on the earth, but every day humans would come to him with their troubles. One person would ask for rain, and another would ask for sunshine, and it was impossible to please everyone. So he decided to go to the highest mountains, but climbers found him. So then he decided to go to the moon, but then space travel found him. So then he decided he would live within man, because man would never find him there.
That which you seek lies within. The peace, the power, the mental fortitude, the joy, it’s all within. It’s not in the ‘right’ home, or the ‘right’ person, or the ‘right’ mega-yacht. It’s in you.
Go inside. Spend time alone, in silence, and yes, in meditation. True happiness is properly manifested through physical and mental soundness.
At a time when religion seems to belong to extremists, it’s important to discover the truth for yourself. Having faith doesn’t mean leaning on something or discriminating others for taking a different path. It means tapping into your oneness with this planet, and recognizing that we and the birds and the rocks and the trees are all created of the same matter.
God is not a force to watch over and punish you, it’s a divine energy that can be accessed at any point to heal, uplift and guide you.
Be grateful for your health, your home, the sun and the sky. It may sound simple-minded, but a simple mind is one free of drama and free of delusion, both of which make this beautiful life a harsh one. If you have pain, look at it. It’s there to teach you something. If you feel lost, do something. If you don’t feel heard, use your voice to help someone who really doesn’t have a voice. There is always a direction to go. Inward is a good place to start.
Photo by Sebastian Boguszewicz