Does God Exist? How Faith Has Kept Me Afloat
Does God Exist? It’s one of the oldest, most important and controversial questions a person can ask. I’ve struggled with the concept on and off throughout my life, and I have finally come to believe that it does. In my darker moments, I doubt it because I am angry at the world that creates tragedies and horrific consequences to our irresponsible actions and negative thought patterns (ironically, in my darkest moments, I’ve taken great, unspeakable comfort in the notion that there is a God and that I’m safe because of this entity’s bottomless love). But I’ve also come to realize that the suffering we endure as humans is part of a much more complex web of intricacies involving our separate will(s), our soul’s choices, and perhaps even far away galaxies whose existence we are not privy to understand.
Last year I attended a presentation led by Deepak Chopra in which he discussed his new book God: A Story of Revelation (HarperOne, 2012). He argued that science isn’t capable of explaining the multi-galaxy world in which we live. What we see with our naked eyes is pure energy, he said; hence, it doesn’t exist. Ultimately our realities are an illusion of the mind, which we create to evolve as spiritual beings.
The more I listened to Chopra’s theories the more I understood the fundamentals of what he was saying. God exists in the space where noise stops. By noise I mean outside racket, the din in our minds, the words we speak, the ramblings we think. When all is still and all is silent, when our brains register nothing more than a straight line on a brain scan, we realize the presence of something that exists beyond us. This presence watches, listens, decides. It is God.
I wanted to raise my hand and ask questions. I didn’t. I did, however, reflect back upon moments I’ve experienced during meditation when the chatter around me and in my head subsided and disappeared. I felt an inexplicable presence and spaciousness inside me. Intangible as that presence was, it made me feel cherished. Loved. At times, I’ve been fortunate enough to carry that sensation past meditation, to allow it to guide me in ways that no human has ever been able to do. It is in that space where I have absolute certainty in the idea that we are spiritual beings, alive for a reason, and continue to exist long after we’ve passed away. God must be a part of such an equation.
Back to Chopra. In one of his previous books, he explained that our longing for a parental figure’s love and affection is nothing more than our deeply-ingrained desire to reconnect with our Creator. I can rack my brain all I want on this one but when it comes down to it, I cannot argue with Chopra on this belief. And within that I am offered a thought worth contemplating: Would I even be alive if I hadn’t been comforted and protected by something much more infinite and powerful than my mortal family? It is doubtful, I sometimes think. It’s likely that I would have succumbed to the darkness and distress and addiction and uncertainty that threatened to swallow me whole.
I was raised to believe in the God that’s fashioned out of Catholic icons: Tall, with a long white beard, a cape around his neck. It’s taken me years to dismiss these patriarchal ideas, and even more years to understand that absolutely everything that happens to us is part of our journey, and that,even the death of those we love the most is a small piece of a much larger puzzle. When their journey of learning, of helping others and/or teaching is finished, they go, just like we will go once we are done in our carnal form. It is not necessarily the end as we, humans, conceive it. It is only a passage to a different realm from what we know today.
Whether we believe or not is not important; what’s important is to remain open to the presence Chopra talked about. Perhaps this presence won’t arrive daily, but on my part I’ve learned that it’s visited me when I’ve needed it most. It’s kept me afloat.
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