Belief is in the mind of the beholder

Seeking a spiritual ‘reality’

You’re not a religious man but you do like going into cathedrals. St. Patrick’s in New York. Notre-Dame in Paris (before the fire).

You and your wife visited Notre-Dame on a trip to Paris years ago. She, being Catholic, felt closer to God, You, being nothing, felt closer to Something.

When you and your wife went into St. Patrick’s she prayed for her dying father. You gave thanks to a World War II paratrooper who jumped out of planes and helped save the world. And for giving you your wife.

When you lose a soulmate of thirty years you feel like half your life has been shot away. You are maimed. You need help. You don’t find it in the material world so you take the train into the City and go into St. Pat’s to feel closer to your wife.

You don’t know where she is, maybe nowhere, but if there is a spiritual ‘reality,’ then inside that cathedral is a good place to find it.

So, religion has its place. But you don’t need it to believe in a life after this one.

The afterlife, if it exists, is a metaphysical, supernatural ‘fact,’ not a product of religious teachings which may be mostly, certainly partly, mythical and fictional.

In other words, it’s possible to cut through the bull and go straight to the ‘mind’ of the matter, an awareness beyond objective experience.

Words like God and heaven and soul become irrelevant. What is the soul anyway? — but the mind — ah-hah! — now there’s something. The mind, or more precisely, the brain, is a masterpiece, a miracle of creation, and not necessarily God’s creation. What is God? — an illusion, delusion, a fervent hope, an unanswered prayer?

Religion is like politics — too many different ideologies preaching, yelling, fighting among themselves to be heard and obeyed, or else — or else what? — eternal damnation? To hell with that. Religion confuses, it screws with your head, it rattles on about God and Jesus Christ and soul and heaven and adoration and Glory be to God blah blah blah.

Too much noise, man. You don’t need it to belief that there is — that there may be — a dimension, sensation, phenomenon, an as-yet undiscovered wavelength, an otherworldly life after this lousy one.


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The silence of the gunshot

Paying for our sinsDrawing by Franz Kafka

We are shut in and shut out. Perhaps we are paying for our sins. Sins against our wives and husbands, fathers and mothers, sons and daughters. And they, at least the ones who are still alive, are paying for their sins against us. A harsh penalty for all, but maybe we deserved it.

Many of us are in solitary confinement. The isolation is the hardest to bear. In total despair, you take the gun from the drawer. Young beautiful girls and boys who have only begun to live. Loneliness can be worse than death. Death becomes instant release. You don’t even hear the gunshot. You will see your dead loved ones before the gun falls from your hand.

Or you won’t. That’s the chance you take. If you don’t see them you won’t know it. That’s the fail-safe feature of the ungodly plan, so we don’t exist in an eternity of misery. The Godly plan has a different outcome. You can read about it in the Bible. Millions have. Millions believe in the Godly plan.

Belief in the Godly plan requires faith, and faith is the most elusive creature in the human psyche. Even if you think you’ve got it by the tail, it’s hard to hold onto. It’s Jehovah’s jackrabbit.

You could spend all your days and weeks and months and years in isolation just trying to grab hold of that jackrabbit.

If you do manage to get a firm grasp on it, hang onto it for dear life. It will take you home, and all the isolation and the loneliness in the ungodly world will be but a moment in hell.


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The road to God

Lost in a godless wllderness.

Everyone, every body on this grain of sand in our infinite Universe is at the mercy of a microscopic mystery bug that kills tens of thousands and potentially millions of people.

Everyone on earth, from tradesmen to nurses to movie stars, can become infected. Death is on everyone’s mind. We need courage and a boundless spirit of togetherness and humanity to survive this.

People of a certain age who live alone are the most vulnerable. They face not only the virus but the despair and stress of being alone. They fear being stricken with no one to help them, or even know they are gravely ill. They could be lying on the floor of their house for days before someone might decide to check on them.

This is a desperately lonely dilemma for them. They need someone to look after them, or at least be aware of their existence and look in on them at times like this. But that may never happen. People have their own lives and deaths to worry about.

A man in his seventies recently lost his wife and over the years has lost his son and two brothers. He has no family left. He is one of those people who could collapse with no one in the house to call for help, or anyone, in fact, who might think to check in on him from time to time because he has no friends in his isolated world.

UNANSWERED PRAYERS

Then, not long ago, a friend of his deceased wife from thirty years ago contacted him with her condolences and they have kept in touch. She says she is a messenger from God. Her very name, Renata de Dios, means “Born again of God.” She came out of the past to help this man of little to no faith.

His wife, being raised Catholic was a believer, and when he held her hand in Intensive Care as she lay dying, that was a consolation to him. And throughout the past thirteen months since her death he has prayed, in his own faltering way, for a sign from her or from her God that she is “somewhere” now and not lost forever in an oblivion of emptiness. But he has never received the slightest sensation of any communion with her or felt even a hint of her presence in his lowly bungalow.

Renata de Dios persevered. During their many telephone conversation she has tried to direct him to the “road to God.” He doesn’t rebuff her or her faith but he doesn’t automatically embrace it. He tells her it’s not like a light switch you can suddenly turn on. You have to feel it in your heart. You have to believe it.

Once, a few weeks back, he actually set out on the road to God, only to lose his way and wander off into another wilderness of despair.

The guy seems like a hopeless case, but Renata de Dios keeps trying. What have you got to lose? she said. Give it another shot, I’m here for you, I’ll guide you.

Some things in life you can’t do alone. You need a guide. He dials Renata’s number. She answers right away. She’s there for him.


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