Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Being At One ~ Being At Peace

There's a certain connection with everyone, from every walks of life, male, female, varied religious views, race, background, etc., etc. And while we're all so different in so many ways, we're all so connected to that big mysterious 'ending' we all are on the path to. Is it an ending, or is it a new beginning on a better path? Philosophers and religious people can believe and rant all they want about how the ending truly ends, but what really happens when we die?  Where do we go? Do we all meet again, and what will our next path after that be -- or is that our final destination? As a Christian, I do believe we go back to a 'oneness' to which they call heaven. I have no clue 'how it is' or what it's like up in "heaven" -- I just know that it's a resting place - a place with no physical exertion or emotional torture or even sadness. And as a firm believer in God, I still have many questions left for Him. For me to say, "well this is this and that's that" would be ignorant and assumptive just because we've heard of "paradise", it does not mean it's going to be like that.  God promised He'd have a room prepared for us in his house up in heaven - to which that can be interpreted in so many ways. Is it a real modern looking everyday 'earthly' house? Or is it something that humans would never comprehend? Science will never prove anything otherwise. We only rely on faith, and who can argue with what one believes in?

Getting back to that big connection that everyone has with one another, there is always something in common with someone who is completely different than you. Sometimes it's past history, similar life events that have taken place or perhaps just emotional ties where you feel the same way about something in particular. As I was sitting at the bar having lunch with Madelene yesterday afternoon, a woman from a completely different walk of life than us started talking about her life and what she had been through. For whatever reason, we seem to draw people in who need extensive therapy. (Don't we all...?)  And while listening to her woes, I finally saw the connection: missing a loved one. "But where isss heeeee?" she asked, crying her eyes out, while speaking about her son who had recently committed suicide, leaving behind his wife and daughter. She had gone to psychic mediums and all sorts of ~alternative~ methods to contact her deceased loved one. Odd as it sounds, before we walked into the bar, I asked Mad, "Would you ever go to a psychic medium to see how your dad or poppy is doing?" She said firmly, "Deb, we don't believe in that. Remember, any spirit can tap in pretending to be them, especially on a Ouija board." She was right and she knew where I was heading with that. I guess I had a weak moment. But, getting back to this lady who unleashed all of her sadness on us -- she was questioning the same as I was, and yet we all had one thing in common: faith in God. So why would we worry about where they are? Aren't we content that they're with God right now and being taken care of?

The point is, regardless of how much faith you have in God, there will always be unanswered questions. Faith is a huge step in believing 'this way'. But still, faith without the scientific proof still can be faulty and yes, some people like myself have those weak moments where we just want that little itsy bitsy tiny truth that lets us know they're well and doing much better than ever. Then I think, how can we be true faithful Christians if we still have questions, regardless of what the Bible may tell us. And even so, the Bible can be very vague and 'fairy tale-ish', as far as what happens when we pass on. Yes, we'll be with God in heaven - but not all go to heaven as far as the Bible's concerned. Then you have a ton of reports about near death experiences where someone dies momentarily and then sees that big bright light where deceased relatives are greeting them at 'the door'... And most of these stories are very similar. But no one has ever said, "I saw God!" ...Not to my knowledge anyway. They only saw their relatives. I have questions about that. As I connected with this woman at the bar, I rarely spoke about my own grief, just because she was hysterically crying, trying to compose herself the best she could. "A mother isn't supposed to bury her child!" she kept saying as she banged her fist on the bar. I can't even imagine. Then she said she felt guilty for telling her son before he died, "How could you be so selfish to even think about suicide and leaving your daughter without a father?"  I quickly chimed in and told her that was her way of saying, "Please don't leave."

Guilt is an awful emotion that plagues many of us, especially when we don't get to apologize or forgive the person who is now gone. It sticks with us for a long time, if not forever. She has this gnawing sense of guilt that she is struggling with even more than the passing itself. All these raw emotions and a huge loss in her life had her sucking down more than five Sambucas in a row. She was self-medicating and ironic as this sounds, has a wellness center for healing other people. "Isn't that funny? I own a wellness center and yet I'm a wreck!" I reassured her that being human and having these emotions is something we all go through. It's what makes her relate to people more on a more intimate level. What -- so you have a wellness center - so you can't help others? You may be able to help others through your own pain and heal yourself at the same time. It's the same concept as someone being an AA director without having the experience of having been through a an alcohol addiction. You just can't relate if you haven't been there. And that's where our connection with the world resides on: relating on this journey called life. We all have questions, whether we admit to it or not. If you don't have questions about where you'll go after your die or you are completely confident that you'll be meshing into the soil and that's it --- your mind will still wander over about different beliefs. It's only human.

But what if...?

I do believe there are times where "faithful Christians" will have a standard belief system and no room for any other beliefs. THIS IS HOW IT IS AND THAT'S THAT. No questions asked, no wonderings about anything other than the written 'vague' word of where we'll be when we die. When it's that hardcore and no room for interpretation or different views, many can sway and even convert to atheism or agnosticism. My question is: when someone of a particular set religion turns to atheism, do they still have questions about the afterlife? And do they still think about God and if there really was a God? Or is there atheism all about rejecting God's followers? (Which would make a heap of sense since most of them are so self-righteous and judgmental.) And even with a lack of belief, or full-fledged belief of "GOD" and religion itself, we all have a connection of wonder that leaves us ....as one. At least, this is what I believe.

What do you believe?

For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com or join her on Facebook.


Anonymous said...

I was in a serious relationship with a man who took his own life. I remember he called asking me to pick him up that fateful evening. I did not. it was the ONLY night I did not pick him up. It HAD to be MY fault I told myself; over and over again. if I only picked him up he would be alive.

Not true

Guilt is nothing but EGO. The reality is that even if I did pick him up that night there was the next day, week and year. Who is to say what would and could have transpired and what would be next if I DID get him??

I took some time and asked myself "WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE?" If I can't make snow into rain, or feathers into gold; WHO did I think I was that I could control another persons thoughts and actions? As a single parent to 2 young adult the same applied. The reality is the ONLY thing we can control is our own thoughts, actions and choice of attitude. I try to reserve all my energy for only those 3 things...everything else I TRY to control is really not in my power anyway

I used to wish for a magic wand, so I could be more powerful Now I know I am holding the ultimate power in myself. My choice. My actions My attitude. Life somehow gets a lot easier when you take possession of your own power.

Susan said...

There is that distinction between religious and spiritual. I've come across yogis who remind me of some evangelicals, political liberals and right wingers whose way is the only way. So I think it is more about attachment. If we attach ourselves to a vision of how a belief system should be (behavior included), much of the spiritual is gone and only the law remains. And I like what anon says about ego. That is always a factor when one person is making another feel guilt because of absolute belief. It is what we believe about ourselves that ultimately makes the difference.

Snowbrush said...

"when someone of a particular set religion turns to atheism, do they still have questions about the afterlife? And do they still think about God and if there really was a God?"

As to whether an atheist wonders about such things, you have to determine whether he or she is a 100% atheist or else a 90% or a 70% atheist. I would put myself in the 95-100% category, so I have every confidence that there is no supernatural being and no afterlife. However, I will admit that, unlikely as I think it is, I just could be wrong, and that some being that is deserving of the title God just might exist. However if even I learned that I am wrong, and that the god that exists is the same god that is described in the Bible, I had rather spit on that god than to worship him. Part of my problem with Christians is that I don't get how they can excuse their deity for all the monstrous things he has done and the inadequacy of his attempt to communicate his will to us.

The Elephant's Child said...

If I knew where my guilt button was I would turn it off. I cannot think of any good that has come of feeling guilty. I rely on my ethics for direction.
Interestingly I am with Snowbrush here. But not all the way. I am about 90% atheist with the rest agnostic. However if I am wrong and there is a God then I see no need to spit on him/her. Which perhaps is because I don't know the Bible nearly as well as Snow.
All I can do, all I try to do, is live the best life I can.

Deb said...

Anonymous, wow that’s so awful and I’m very sorry to hear that. I am relieved that you didn’t hold onto any guilt and realized what that was. It’s all out of our control. My grandfather took his own life due to his illness. My dad was supposed to go see him that day, but decided to go elsewhere & catch him tomorrow... but unfortunately, my grandfather took his own life and my father felt that guilt for years and years to come, until he passed away himself. Your ability to realize that *you* have the choice of either feeling the guilt or not is something not many people can say they can do. Thank you for sharing that with me.

Susan, your comment reminds me of what I tell conservative Christians when asked how do I justify claiming to love God but being in my lifestyle - that I cannot possibly have a relationship with God if I am gay. I always say, “I have a personal relationship with God and that, no one can ever take away from me.” It’s much more than just being “religious” or going to church every single morning like clockwork - I truly believe it’s having the passion behind whatever you worship, rituals you practice and how you pray and meditate. It’s not “supposed to be like this” -- it’s catered to you! At least, that’s what I believe. Even in the bible it says to not pray like the hypocrites in the street do - but close the door behind you and pray to God in your own words without repeating the same prayer over and over.

Snowbrush, see - I didn’t know there were percentages of atheism. I just thought atheists were confident there is no supernatural “god” or higher being that made us. Let me ask you this (if you’re still connected to this thread) --- if an atheist is 50% ---- wouldn’t that mean they’re more on the lines of agnostic? That’s interesting to know.

TEC, that’s what I meant --- so you do have a level of agnosticism since you are 90% --- or am I way off base with that? I’m trying to understand the percentages of a certain belief and what that means according to atheists and agnostics. I have to admit (for the both of you and Snowbrush) that I really never knew the in depth heart that went into the two, unless it was an organized religion or a spiritual practice because “there’s something” that’s believed in. But you two have shed a bit of light on it for me, so thank you. It sounds much more involved than just “eh I don’t believe in that crap” --- so I have a new respect for it....but still many questions. :) (As usual...)

Snowbrush said...

"if an atheist is 50% ---- wouldn’t that mean they’re more on the lines of agnostic?"

I shouldn't think such a person would call him or herself an atheist. You're a theist, but does this mean that you're a 100% theist all the time?

"I just thought atheists were confident there is no supernatural “god” or higher being that made us."

This is true, but an atheist isn't typically someone who says that no supernatural deity could possibly exist but rather someone who says that there is no evidence to suggest that one does exist.

Deb said...

"You're a theist, but does this mean that you're a 100% theist all the time?"

Well, yes. I believe there is a God all the time. Do I have questions here and there about particular things regarding my faith? Sure.. But I'm always a theist, so I believe. ;)

OK, so the last part of your comment refers to scientific evidence points out to zero proof. I got it... I'm starting to get it finally. Thank you..

dl said...

Being that the veil to the 5th dimension is so incredibly thin, I believe more than ever if that's even possible. There is a new chapter, a new life on the other side that is so greatly opposing to the one we live in now. There are so many unexplainable things that happen to people to where they chuck it up to "coincidences" and never aware of the magnificent beauty of having spirit guides or God around them at all times. There are some people who are too closed up, to where they build a huge wall against anything of the supernatural or godly. Nonbelievers are in the fog or perhaps better yet, refuse to accept this awesome gift. We can enjoy it now! We don't have to wait in order to experience its beautiful wonders to bless our lives. It's not only believing, but it's also opening ourselves up to what could be the best experiences in our entire lives, until our lives of course go on to the next chapter. Why would anyone settle for less? It just doesn't make sense! I had to come comment after seeing this posted up on facebook. Thought provoking article!


The Elephant's Child said...

Oh yes, there is certainly a part of me which falls into the agnostic category. I just don't know and it would be dishonest to say I did. Just the same, I am pretty certain that this life is all there is. Which makes it very important to me to ensure I live it in the best possible way. I cannot talk for any atheists (or mostly atheists) except myself but mine is certainly not based on rejecting theists.

goatman said...

I believe that we are all part of the essential "one". Call that what you will. We will rejoin the group, probably unknowingly, after death.
Organized religion has been the root of much death and destruction and hatred.
I prefer to stay out of that particular fray!

Deb said...

dl, Thank you for coming by. :) I too, agree with what you’ve said, but I also understand that there are people who without proof, there is no “other side” or afterlife. But yes, all the great things that we can experience when we’re open is just incredible. Faith!

TEC, well that’s most important - to be the best you can be without the ‘heavenly approval’ -- I admire that. Rejecting anyone of different beliefs or lack thereof is silly to me - but in the same breath, sometimes the various groups (persons) will debate to where it gets a bit irrational and disrespectful. Worst topics: religion & politics, right? :)

Goatman, like a big lava lamp! I don’t know how that would work but in my beliefs, I feel we’re “all in it together” - a oneness if you will, however each gets judged accordingly of course. But it can be so different... who knows...? Many people believe what you do. Most Buddhists believe that I think, and it makes sense on many levels. I do think we all have that common ground, but when we’re at odds due to “religious” bigotry --- it can be the most lethal thing. Any extreme religious group is just downright scary to me. Thanks for stopping by!

Snowbrush said...

"There are some people who are too closed up, to where they build a huge wall against anything of the supernatural or godly. Nonbelievers are in the fog or perhaps better yet, refuse to accept this awesome gift."

Atheists regularly encounter this self-congratulatory attitude, especially on the part of the various neopagans as opposed to the mainstream, the fundamentalists, and even the liberals of most religious groups. Such people usually regard themselves as privy to ancient knowledge, and regard the universe as being really quite warm and fuzzy, at least to spiritually advanced beings like themselves. As for everyone else, well, as the writer suggested, if they disagree with him or her, they are blind by their own choosing, at least the atheists, although I doubt that the writer would think too highly of other believers either.

Deb said...

Snowbrush, hard call - once someone experiences for themselves (in their own way) manifested by the mind or if it's actually really happening, nothing can convince that believer of anything else (religiously) or not. Even with myself, I love to hear different views, beliefs or why they don't believe - but nothing can change my mind otherwise of my initial faith. I definitely agree that it also applies to other people of different faiths. So true! No wonder why there are so many 'holy wars'. Whatever spiritual experience someone has - that's proof - that's their "truth" and that's that... But, it's nice to seek out what other people are believing in and ask lots of questions too.

Snowbrush said...

"Whatever spiritual experience someone has - that's proof - that's their "truth" and that's that..."

I agree, but it's also true that smugness goes against the teachings of most--if not all--religions. Jesus certainly emphasized humility, and people who are considered saintly are invariably known for it. I must admit that atheists fall prey to it too (as you yourself have mentioned) because there's nothing easier than assuming that those who hold another view are either stupid or wicked, and this is true no matter what side of the fence one is on. However, the outcome of smugness in religion is to divide the world into good tribes and bad tribes, and then to persecute the bad tribes. Being in one of the bad tribes (in the eyes of most of the world's population) is something that you and I share, you for your lesbianism and me for my atheism.

Deb said...

"....I agree, but it's also true that smugness goes against the teachings of most--if not all--religions. Jesus certainly emphasized humility, and people who are considered saintly are invariably known for it."

While I have had my own spiritual experiences that let's me know that my belief is "my truth", I don't believe I have a 'smugness' to which I dismiss everybody's belief. I know other people who have had other spiritual experiences that are quite different than my own. So my "truth" is mine, and yes, "that's that" for me, but I love learning from other walks of life and different faiths. I read a lot of Buddhist inspired books and articles, but it doesn't mean that I have lost faith in my belief...my truth. However, if someone (atheist usually) tells me that I am uneducated or lacking intelligence due to my strong beliefs in God, then yes, you will see me debate that because I'd rather have spiritual wisdom than worldly "intellectual" wisdom. Science and spirituality don't mesh and it will never prove anything. It's all faith-based as you know and with the occasional person having had spiritual experiences which make it all the more real; all the more "truthful". But I hope you don't confuse that with smugness.

Snowbrush said...

"Science and spirituality don't mesh "

This is true . Are you familiar with Kierkegaard?

Snowbrush said...

P.S. You wrote somewhere that you saw no reason that I should compare atheists and homosexuals. My thought with that was that both are generally despised among American Christians. Even in most liberal denominations, the acceptance of homosexuals into full membership is a hot issue with some congregations being a lot more welcoming than others. As for what Jesus said or didn't say about homosexuality, I don't care. I'm not talking about my interpretation of the Bible (which I should think would be irrelevant to you) but about what I have seen and heard of American Christianity as a whole.

Deb said...

Snowbrush, yes, I know a little about Kierkegaard and find him to be interesting in his philosophies and proof of God - or lack of - he was on a documentary (forget which network) a while back and it was very intriguing.

When I responded about your comment regarding "lesbianism" --- I was more chuckling over the term (as if it had its own religion, and well, to some they do! lol) but I totally knew what you meant, I just took it a step further because I firmly believe through scripture and through my own experience that being gay or lesbian is not a sin...... but yes, I know how much of an "abomination" it is to the people of the church, as they praise the person sitting in the pew up from them who just divorced and remarried and the other person who just had shrimp scampi. Like my most recent post, they really make it hard for anyone to 'sit well' with Christianity. That's why, I love God...it's his fan club I can't stand.

Jess said...

This is one of those thought-provoking posts. I was raised in a family where my mother was Jewish and my father was Christian. We never practiced any faith, we celebrated the usual holidays without going into the reasons behind them. It was kinda like having a party and not knowing why. Now in my forties I wonder what will happen to me when I die. What happens to anyone when they die? This can't be it right? I mean our bodies, our minds, this whole world is so complex that I can't believe we just get a finite number of years and that's it. And yet we'll never know.

My dad died in 2009, 24 hours after having a stroke. And since that time I've thought about my own mortality. I hate it. I hate to think that someday I will be gone. I fear death with everything that I have...and will not go into it quietly if I can help it. What I need is a sense of peace, to know that...this is not all for nothing. If it is, if there's nothing on the other side at all.....I just can't think about that.