I was never religious growing up. My parents briefly took me to church to help get me into the local Christian primary school, but I was never overtly taught to believe in God and, even as a small child, was extremely skeptical when they told me of the miraculous stories of the Bible. It wasn’t until I was at university that I started considering the ‘God thing’ once more. This time it was in the form of Hinduism.
I had gotten into doing yoga for my health conditions, meditation for my anxiety and indulging in the texts that the Buddhist monks on the high street give out for free to further my understanding. Something very profound struck me about Hinduism: it wasn’t one singular thread of thought; it was the name for a wonderful and diverse tapestry of belief systems and life practices that had been insultingly oversimplified by the Western forces when they colonized Asia.
There were many who laughed at my new interest, mostly Scientists who praised fact and honored cold hard evidence, and they were right. But here was the catch: meditation was the most powerful thing I had ever experienced in terms of healing, and this was something that was becoming more and more accepted by the medical profession. If both evidence-lovers and spiritual-messiahs had come to this conclusion via observation of patterns and systems in the body and our relationship to the world around us, it made me wonder, how were the laws of Science any different from the Laws of religion. A quick study in to Quantum Physics told me that they really weren’t.
But then it hit me; it was so very simple. Of course there is a power out there greater than us, you can see this from just looking around. Do humans make the seasons change? Do we create light or tend to the cycles of decay and growth? No. All through history, we have been observing the nature of these things, hoping to understand them, in whatever ways and means are available to us. While some of us might label them ‘String Theory’ or ‘Gravity’ or ‘The Laws of Physics’, others categorize them as one simple thing: God. Personally, I like to refer to it as ‘The Universe.’
The reality is that a whole system of consequences exists around us. A course of events has set out to happen, and we do not understand why or how it is occurring. Some may call it chance, but even ‘chance’ is nothing more than a vague linguistic description that we’ve created to explain that which seemingly has no reason. So why is this so confusing? Why are there so many disputes worldwide over the true explanation of something that is so unexplainable in its essence?
The Lies We Tell Ourselves
Unfortunately, as humans we seem to have an inbuilt aversion to anything that we don’t understand, meaning we dedicate our lives to seeking out the real explanation behind things. Throughout the whole of human history, we’ve told tales to fill in those gaps in our understanding that we can’t get rid of through physical knowledge. We created a giant painting of this greater power in the sky, using a tapestry of words and stories as our medium. We saw the symptoms of this greater power and we made ourselves understand its significant by draping it in a description that we could comprehend.
Did God make man in his image, or did man make God in their image? Do you think it’s any coincidence that almost all of the world’s religions are based around holy sites that just happen to be where that specific belief system was conceived? Is the Ganges really the holiest river in the world or was it just the special to the people of India because it provided them water and, subsequently, life. Did Mount Olympus house the Gods or was it merely a majestic yet unexplored site that the Greeks had raised to higher stature because of the mystery behind it. I am telling you right now there is no doubt that “God” exists, but does he exist as a two-legged, two-armed, physical, touchable being – I’m not so sure.
The fact is that our tiny little human brains will never be able to properly comprehend the power of the universe/God/whatever you want to call it. We will go on making up truths to placate our anxieties for the rest of our existence.
The Ultimate Truth
The only real metaphysical truth is that there is no truth. I accept this is a bold statement, but when you consider truth as a purely human concept, it becomes easier to understand. Meaning, purpose, fate, even karma: these things all hold very little weight if you can’t view them through a human brain. The tree in your garden doesn’t fret about why it’s here or what its purpose is. Neither does the wind nor the moon nor the solar system. Finding a comprehensible truth in all of this miraculous existence is akin to trying to get a mouse to find the surface area of his own tail.
In essence, everything we do and believe has a manifested meaning. We can notice patterns and cause and effect, but the words with which we chose to describe them and the language we develop around them is courtesy of our own little minds. The way we speak, the way we describe and the way we believe is all decided via our unique perspective on this great vast confusion we call life.
So What Now?
Nothing. Nothing changes. You can still believe whatever it is you believe and you can have faith that’s it’s true. In your mind, your experience of life and your gained understanding it is – for all intents and purposes – completely factual! But then so is everybody else’s. It’s true that humans have free will; we have the free will to choose the paradigm in which we exist.
We cannot escape these greater questions; it’s fundamental to our own mental and spiritual wellbeing that we fill the void that is our understanding of why we’re here. Whether you chose to address that through religion, spirituality, science or even atheism, your choice of meaning is personal, valid and worthwhile. No matter your outlet, having faith in the greater systems of existence and our ability to create our reality is fundamental to our ongoing happiness and survival as a species!