LEARNING TO USE THE POWER FOR GOOD
Recently I wrote "Working Through Your Uncertainties" and your responses were real interesting. Thanks to everyone who wrote and shared your own way of coming into your kind of spiritual life.
One person wrote, "How can people who don't believe in the inerrancy of the Bible find God?" The same day I got this note I saw another one that read, "If God read the Bible he would sue us for libel."
How is it that some can only find peace by believing in someone else's words (the Bible) while others find peace by believing in their own mind and its discoveries and their own spiritual experiences? I think it is possible to find peace either way or by a combination of the two experiences.
While I have never thought the Bible is verbally inspired. Speaking of substantial portions of the Bible, Paul said "these things are allegories," or stories. But for me, it contains a wealth of inspiration. It is a record of others people's searches for truth and spiritual meaning. It is helpful to me to read their words and compare their insights to my own discoveries.
If I got a long letter from Grandma, I could find something good in it without having to find it all good. She might say eating a rooster's comb would cure bronchitis. I can keep loving Granny without accepting that.
If we were not given our minds to ascertain truth, what are we supposed to do with them? What higher function could there possibly be for a mind?
The basic question of both theology and philosophy is, "Does something come from nothing or must something come from Something?" I have never been able to accept that something (human life, for example) can come from nothing. It doesn't matter to me how that Something created life, whether by evolution or direct creation, or by a Big Bang or a Big Bounce or a Big Burp or a chain reaction of celestial firecrackers. I am with Einstein who said if you miss the Mystery, you miss it all.
Under any philosophical or scriptural umbrella, it definitely is a mystery. And aside from that fundamental mystery of creation itself, we find many sub-mysteries like the mystery of evil and suffering. The closest I can come to that one is to say Buddha's was right about life being suffering but Helen Keller was right, too, in saying life is also the overcoming of suffering.
I cannot blithely explain the massive suffering of humankind. But I can think it possible that it may in some mysterious way be part of a plan to develop some kind of eventual good. I have seen that happen in my own life and that enables me to think it may be true. Still, I have always wrestled with the dual problems of evil and suffering and I refuse to parrot some kind of easy answer.
My spiritual practice is designed to help me respond to life as I experience it. You may think me a fool for thinking that I do experience a transcendent reality. Call it God, or the Life Force, or Source, or Jesus, or the Holy Spirit, or the Great Spirit or the Great I Am, but I find that I experience it no matter what I call it. A dear mystic who influenced my life simply called Jesus "Little Brother." My friend, Al Harvey, calls this reality "My Manager." I once had a book called The 1700 Names of God that have been used by different cultures and religions down through history. I love a lot of those names. I also love Mary Baker Eddy's seven synonyms for God and find them helpful in my meditation times.
I love Margaret Stortz's words, "Surely God makes a home on the solitude of every soul." And to paraphrase Ernest Holmes, "There is a power for good in the universe and you can learn how to use it."
Learning how to use it is my spiritual practice.