Photo Credit: Robby McKee. (CC 2.0)
Have you ever felt like blaming God for all the bad things, which are going on around us? Take death for instance. Why have a world with a nasty thing like death? Can’t we all just live forever, or something? Yes, let’s do away with death. What would the world look like then? Well, it might create a few problems.
It is estimated that there have been over 100 billion people born in the world since it began. That is about 14 times the current population. The world would be a bit on the full side if all those people were all still around! If many of them were making babies it would soon be a nightmare. How would we feed them all? If they could not die what would happen to them when the food runs out? Nobody would be able to move for so many people and from being weak with hunger. Sorry, but eventually we would have to re-invent death.
Disease is pretty nasty too. Let’s get rid of that. What would people die from if we did not have disease? In the previous paragraph, we just re-invented death so we have to have something for people to die from. If there were lots of accidents that could take care of it, but that would be chaos. There would have to be crashes and disasters all over the place. I suppose people could just choose to die when they were ready, but that sounds a bit like suicide. Besides if earth were as crowded as it would become without disease a suicidal choice to exit might become a bit too popular. Looks like we have to re-invent disease too.
What about pain? Surely we can get rid of pain? Well, not really because we need something to tell us not to stick our hands in the fire when we want to warm them up. We also need emotional pain to let us know to stop doing something really bad for us. Looks like we are stuck with pain as well.
Of course, this is a rather flippant way to address issues that are really deep, yet, getting too heavily serious about them does not seem to help much either. If you find yourself in the middle of a dark, and murky swamp it is better to give your attention to finding the way out rather than wondering why swamps exist (and plaintively asking, “Why am I here?”).
Once you are out of the swamp you can get to some high ground and get a wider perspective where things make more sense. Likewise rather than blaming God about why things like death, disasters and disease exist, it is better to align with what is good in the world, and what is good within ourselves, and let things out of our control take care of themselves till we get a better perspective.
Reconnecting with God & the Purpose of Life
When we are happy we do not tend to wonder overly much about the purpose of life. Usually we wonder about the purpose of life when we feel low. Unfortunately that is the worse state in which to find, or create, any such purpose as negative attitudes will filter out the more pleasant possibilities till only the most unpleasant options are left.
At such times it is all too easy to assume that life is all misery, drudgery and pointlessness – and that is on a good day! If that is going on it is tempting to see life as a bad joke and to resent God for putting us here. This is like sticking our head down the toilet and then blaming God for how bad life looks.
It is good to remember that just because we don’t see our life purpose does not mean that it is not present. If the purpose of life is to develop a range of spiritual qualities, then life is perfectly set up to help us do that. No matter how tedious, banal, or meaningless life may seem in our worst moments we can still be growing tremendously.
Even in those moments of our worst days of grumpiness, anger or irritation we can be making immense strides without realizing it. If, that is, we make an effort to make something out of the situation and not just play victim. If we choose to think and act in a creative way we are acting as “creators”.
A Big Hint About One Aspect To The Purpose of Life
Another name for God is “The Creator”. That is a very big hint about one aspect to the purpose of life: to learn to create. When we get to the point of, “I am fed up complaining about this. I am going to do something about it.” When we decide, “Life feels so pointless just now, but I think I will go and plant a tree,” “Look how irritable I am getting, I think I will give myself a treat to cheer myself up.”
When we make those kinds of changes within ourselves we are learning to move and shift energy in a very direct way. We are learning to be creators and shapers of energy. We are also learning to convert our personal reactions into spiritual qualities. Qualities like compassion, good humor, patience, tolerance, spontaneity, boldness, courage and the like emerge as the gifts we gain from the situation we are in.
The very circumstances that test us to our limits are what helps us to increase our limits. We find afterwards that we are bigger and can handle more. What we thought was too much is now something we can cope with as we have developed the qualities to handle it. When standing in a queue we can cultivate patience or we can just remain irritated. It is our choice.
There is a way out even if you are in circumstances where you really feel completely stuck and helpless, or in a situation you find disturbing or challenging. Discover and learn to express the spiritual qualities that experience is meant to teach you, and you will exit that situation like a cork out of a champagne bottle. Where there seems to be no way out, suddenly the way will appear. Where everything seemed impossible; everything will seem possible. Having found your ability to get to the cause behind events, you will be much more amenable to truly connecting with the larger life we call God.
Do You Really Want To Reconnect With God?
Do you really want to reconnect with God? It is possible that you might feel ambivalent about it. “What if I don’t like it, can I go back to where I was?” What can get in the way are the old concepts of God that we have inherited, where God is presented like some ghastly medieval King with a liking for brutality and torture. Yes, we better love Him, and quickly, or who knows what he is going to do to us! “Oh no, He can read my thoughts! I’m really in for it now!”
You may have a wall of resentment, which stops you approaching God. That resentment comes from painful experiences in life that make no sense to you. It may come from people who have hurt you “in God’s name.” You may have become frightened of God because your experience of others having power over you was not pleasant. It is not God’s fault that some of those who claim to be his representatives on earth are stupid, devious, or just plain evil.
Such people like to present God as an exaggerated version of themselves to justify their behaviour. Many of them are focused on power rather than love and so do not make good representatives of God as they don’t have a clue about unconditional love.
There Is No Dilemma: We've Always Been Connected
When looking at our relationship with God we can find ourselves in a dilemma: “I want to be totally one with everything; and I want to be totally separate from everything.” We want to connect with our source, but we don’t want to lose who we are in the process. Yet, the process of reconnection is not as threatening as it might seem. From one angle reconnection with God is not necessary as we are always connected.
As we get better at hearing the quiet voice within us, which guides us to the light, we realize that it has always been there. Sometimes the demands of the world get in the way. Sometimes even the voice of our social conscience can get in the way. Yet, when we begin to listen to what our inner sense of rightness, which some call The God Within, is telling us, we become more at-one with God. We realize that what is best for us harmonizes with what is best for all.
It is really so simple; listen to the Goodness within you, trust and take action. “What if I make a mistake?” you might ask. The biggest mistake you can make in your life is to not make enough mistakes, because that means you are living too fearfully (of course some live life too recklessly, but if you are the cautious type that is not you). You learn nothing from the mistakes you do not make.
Naturally, we can still use religious books and teachings to uphold us through times when we are not clear, or when life gets confusing and particularly challenging. Yet, more and more we find that what guides us is an inner knowing. That inner knowing is our connection with Goodness, which is our connection with God.
Connecting with Our Own Sense of Goodness
The connection with God that is most immediately available, when we awaken to it and live in harmony with it, is our own sense of Goodness. We also realize that Goodness is the Goodness in everyone and is not exclusive to us. Some people are more awake to it than others, but the Goodness is always there – somewhere.
Reconnecting with God is easier if you put aside thinking of God as some form of strict parent ready to leap on every mistake you make – and ready to judge you for every mistake you ever made. God’s message to humanity is not about judgment and punishment as some would have us believe.
God’s message to you is much kinder than that. It can be expressed as a restatement of a saying from long ago. “You are my beloved child in whom I am well pleased.”
1. Can you put aside any false modesty and feel a sense of Goodness inside you? If so how can you cultivate it and let it grow in you?
2. Can you see ways that the challenges in your life contribute to your spiritual development and how the challenges in the world contribute to humanity’s spiritual development?
©2013 by William Fergus Martin. All Rights Reserved.
Reprinted with permission of the publisher,
Findhorn Press. www.findhornpress.com.
Forgiveness is Power: A User's Guide to Why and How to Forgive
by William Fergus Martin.
In this manual on how to forgive, there are insights and exercises without a preachy message or assumption that people “should” forgive. With chapters that explain what forgiveness is and how to deal with obstacles to it, it also addresses reconciliation with others and one’s own self. Practical and accessible, the book does not require religious practice or philosophy; it simply shows how to forgive in order to enhance self-esteem, be happier, and break free from limitations that can hold a person back.
About the Author
William Martin's experience of over 30 years involvement with the Findhorn community is encapsulated within these pages. He has had many roles within the community including working in the famous gardens, Managing the Computer Department and at one point having the grandly titled role Chairman of the Executive Committee. He also worked within the computer field as a Freelance IT Contractor to BT, and Apple Computer UK. Additionally, he developed and delivered courses which combined Computer Training with Personal Development where trainees gained self esteem while they gained computer skills. He put his experience in writing computer training materials to another use by writing this User Guide to help make Forgiveness very practical, usable and accessible by anyone - no matter their Faith or philosophy.