Not So Blind Faith

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“If there is a God, I want to see Him. It’s pointless to believe in something without proof.”

~George Harrison (my favorite Beatle)

I can remember my parents dragging me to church on Sunday mornings when I was younger, and how that typically brought up such a mixed bag of feelings for me. Some Sunday’s I thought, “I seriously believe I’m going to die of boredom here” and other Sunday’s, if the priest delivered a killer sermon, I felt like my little soul had been hit with a bolt of joy.

I distinctly recall developing a habit of letting my mind go as soon as I’d sit down in the pews. I knew I had to kill about an hour, so I would just follow my thoughts wherever they wanted to lead me—which turned “going to church” into a sort of magical hour that took me into the heart of my own creative grey matter.

When I got older and my mom was ill, I found myself going to mass on Sunday nights down the street from my apartment. Those 9:30 p.m. services always left me with a somewhat groovy feeling in that they left the church lights off and had lit candles all around to illumine the space, which added to the holy vibe in there. But while I felt I was getting some peace from attending, it was not anything mind-blowing . . . and I began wondering, “Is this really it? Is this all faith has to offer me?”

Growing up in my family and in our neighborhood, faith was something that was assumed. You were raised to believe in whatever religion your parents chose for you and that was that. “Personal experiences need not apply.” In retrospect, I think it is good to grow up in a particular faith, because it gives you a baseline from which you can grow, a place to start your spiritual exploring and questioning.

As adults, however, I believe it’s our job to take matters into our own hands. You know, to find out what we actually believe . . . and if the desire is there, to move towards higher states of consciousness; in other words, to become proactive and focus in on how to mature in life and in faith.

Fast forward to the day I learned to meditate—the day the doors blew off the hinges.

... when you learn how to turn inward, you learn to speak God’s mother tongue."

As time went on (weeks, months and years) and I kept up my meditation practice, I had the same thought over and over: “Why should I go to church? I don’t need a middleman. I close my eyes and just go directly to God.”

I realized that I had come into my own personal power, and as a result, my entire view of organized religion shifted.

To be clear, I still think attending religious services can be helpful, but nothing can compare to the power of direct contact with that which lies in the silence of your own soul. Here’s how I see it: when you learn how to turn inward, you learn to speak God’s mother tongue.

As my inner eyes opened, I was no longer interested in being told what I should or should not believe. My personal experience, in and out of meditation, was all that was necessary to show me “the kingdom of heaven” was where it always had been: right inside of me. Prior to learning to get quiet, I kept looking outside of myself for some sort of larger-than-life connection. But then, seemingly out of nowhere, I’d learned a simple meditation technique and obtained God’s perception. What the hell?!?

“I don't have to have faith. I have experience.”

~Joseph Campbell

The notion of just being told you should have faith without having any personal experience now seems like a laughable idea. I spent years reading books, majoring in theology, visiting churches and other houses of faith all over the world . . . and in a single moment’s time I knew more about God than I’d ever learned in the 20 years I had been “studying” Him. The feeling I had then, and still have now, is that anything and everything can be known, and that our greatest teacher goes by the name of “Mr. Silence.”

"Without going out of your door You can know all things on earth Without looking out of your window You could know the ways of heaven."

~The Beatles (Lyrics by George Harrison)

As my favorite author, Richard Rohr, so boldly explained, “You either see God in everything, or you don’t see Him in anything.”

Today, I see God in everything. My silence is the walkie-talkie I share with the Big Cheese. Nature is my 3D View-Master (remember when Doctor Who came out with one?) and truly, love is all I need.