As I examine my life lately, I find that my living in two worlds has become less acute than ever—or at least it feels that way. “In two worlds?” you ask. For most of my life, rather than being outstanding in my field, It has felt more like standing in my outfield.
In my early teens, I was a devout Episcopalian on one hand, and a mystic-surfer-bad girl on the other. I was both Christian and pagan. Maybe that’s not so uncommon, but for me, it was a pattern set for days to come, being a square peg in the round hole of society. As the years rolled on, I remained spiritual but moved further and deeper into metaphysical mysticism and away from “church.”
I became embroiled in Eastern philosophy and a follower of the Indian holy man, Sathya Sai Baba. I visited Indian saints and chanted with the best of them. I still believed in Jesus and rationalized along with so many others about the faultiness of carbon dating when it came to the Shroud of Turin. My, how belief can help us creatively rationalize. I read books by feminine mystic Barbara Walker, scholarly works on how the Bible was BS, and much more. A little of my Christian beliefs started to slip. Still, I was a master at shaping facts to my dearly held beliefs.
One day, I read an eye-opening book, The Hiram Key, by Robert Lomas. One by one, the stars in my eyes where religion was concerned, began to fall, or at least dim. All the things that didn’t make sense in religion suddenly shot through me like arrows. I couldn’t deny any longer that much of what I had been holding on to was false.
So there it was. I was convinced that my eyes had been opened and that Jesus was a fictional character. Oddly, there was a slight grieving period. I still wanted to believe. But, no, the mysterious universal mind had other arrows in her quiver. I was drawn to a book called The Jesus Mysteries. Kabwonnnngggg! My head cracked open like a hard-boiled egg in a granite counter. There was no doubt left that Jesus was a myth. No distortion-field of faith, no twisting of facts to fit my belief could survive. Christianity was built on the bones of Paganism, borrowed, stolen, distorted. It was a corporate hostile takeover.
I felt free, liberated, empowered. I no longer felt guilty if I broke some made-up moralistic baloney rule that someone in the Christian theocracy decided to put into place. I could eat all the meat I wanted on Fridays. I could dance in Burbank if I wanted to (illegal at the time). If there were consequences, it was because, for our actions, there always are. The consequences for my actions were the result of decisions I made, not from some eye in the sky judging me. I could, in fact, kill a whole colony of ants invading my home, and not feel guilty. I examined my life in the micro, and yes, all of my actions, decisions, and beliefs had consequences, natural, real-world consequences.
Did not believing in the Jesus of the Christians make me a bad person? Did I become a serial killer? A robber? A manipulative bitch? No! Wow. Even without Jesus telling me what was right or wrong, I discovered that I have an innate sense of goodness. I still believe in peace, treating people and animals with kindness and respect, and being honest. What was missing? Fear. Fear of retribution, of breaking the “rules.”
And, to be honest, I’ve always sort of lived my life by my own rules and ignored church edicts, but there was always that nagging voice in the back of my head about the “rule
That looks like a great formula for being an atheist, doesn’t it? Most of the atheists I know think that if you don’t believe in a religion, you don’t believe in God—yeah, like that’s the only choice. Maybe if I hadn’t had such a wild and weird life, I would be an atheist. I certainly respect them much more than people who want to thump the Bible in my face or that think God wants them to be the next American Idol, President, or serial killer. What moronic nonsense. Yes. That is judgmental. So set me on fire and toast weenies on m
Back to the God thing. First of all, I dislike the word “God” with a capital “G,” as if that was the one and only deity that anyone ever believed in or sacrificed sanity for. Probably, throughout our human history, there have been thousands of gods that were equally ludicrous and equally demanding in the minds of their followers.
So, God is out. Jesus is out. Saints? I don’t know any. I have known people who believe they are spiritually enlightened. There are people in the world who have a tangible, benign power that seems to be able to transform mind and matter at will. I’ve been with them. It is an experience without words to describe. On the other hand, these “saints” all have prescribed beliefs that go along with their cultures. They adhere to their myth of deities, angels, and such without examining that their power might be innate in the human experience and not granted to them by an outside source.
I’m just saying, it’s possible that, like the hardcore Taoists believe, everything is just energy and that as humans, we can connect it to the underlying power that runs the universe, be it atomic, dark matter, or something we haven’t discovered yet. It could all be science.
Now science is something I respect, yet I know there is so much more to discover. I’m sure that science can explain my prophetic visions, out-of-body experiences, psychic ability, instant healing experiences, and so much more. I’m sure that science will one day discover the answer to the after-death mystery and explain how it is that I can see and communicate with the dead. By the way, note that I said “science” not “scientists.” Scientists are as vulnerable to belief distortion fields as everyone else, and some will twist facts to fit their current theories. But, I believe that in the end, real science wins out.
My second husband, bless his wicked soul, was a wonder. When faced with my hard-core (at the time) beliefs in the infallibility of Max Heindel’s Rosicrucianism, he just said that he believed in the power of the human mind. I was, of course insensed at the time, but now I understand. Harry Lee Byrd, if you are out there, please accept my apology.
The key is in understanding that our minds form beliefs for our physical and emotional safety and survival. If beliefs weren’t strong enough to filter out everything else, they wouldn’t be worth their salt, now would they? We can’t escape beliefs. We think that what we believe to be true, IS. If those beliefs are crumbled, we think we are vulnerable, and in danger. Objective thinking mostly comes in when beliefs are not that important to our survival.
We might have BELIEVED that margarine was better for us than butter, but now we know that’s not true. Butter is the healthier choice, or is it? So that’s just a little belief. Religion is the BIG Kahuna. If we let go of our belief in heaven, hell, or whatever, it seems to go to our very core. It is one of the scariest things people can face. Why? There are people who have explained that better than I ever could, but it has to do with ultimate survival. Most people are afraid to die. Many of us are also afraid that we are intrinsically evil and need a Big Daddy in the sky to tell us how to be good. And, no, I do not have statistical proof of this, but I’d bet someone else does.
Maybe my transition to faux-atheist from spiritual/religious was easier than most because I have never really feared death. If there is nothing beyond our life here, so what? I won’t know it. Maybe that’s crazy, but there it is. Oh, I have survival instincts; that’s different. I think all living things do. It’s a part of our DNA. I won’t jump off a cliff for the thrill of it. If faced with an oncoming car, I will dive out of the way. I don’t knowingly eat poison, blah, blah, blah. But when the time comes for my death, I think I will face it with calm. I’ve been in life-threatening situations and the prospect of death was an, “Okay, if it comes, it comes” sort of attitude.
How is it that I can’t just jump into the atheist circus? I “believe” it is best to honor my own mystical experiences. To me, atheism, and I might be wrong, means believing (there’s that belief again) in only what science tells us is true—now. No after life, no psychic intuition, no out-of-body experiences, no miracles, no spontaneous healing, no human aura or chakras, no interconnectedness of things—just us as we see, feel, and hear with our physical senses, mostly in keeping with Newtonian physics. Plus, with Atheism, there is no seeing things that others don’t (atheists believe this is hallucination).
My dearest and best friend, a newby atheist, said the other day that perhaps my experiences with spirits were my unconscious desire to believe in immortality. To this I say, “Monkey balls.” I know he meant well, but I don’t really have a desire for immortality. I would just as soon have the living experience be done with when it’s time. I’ve had a good time, but if there is no after-life, okay. Like I said, there wouldn’t be any grieving. I would just cease to exist and there would be no mind or brain to feel regret or pain.
If my experiences of the afterlife finally prove invalid—okay, fine. However, presently I think that we do inhabit a physical body and that consciousness continues after death. And, that if we want to, we are able, after earthly life, to create an equally real dream around us of a human existence. I guess my point is that I can think religion is truly the opiate of the populace and not believe in Jesus or God, yet still believe there is more to our human experience than we, as a whole, are yet able to tap into.
As for reincarnation, it makes sense to me. If I’m wrong, the life I remembered when I was a small child of living in 14th century in plague-torn London would have been imagination. Possibly. But, the fact that I later found, in history books, the places and names of the people I remembered, surely opens to the possibility of reincarnation. If not, then science has some explaining to do. Then there are out of body experiences. If someone can explain how I was able to view the earth from outer space when I was five years old, before space travel, I’m open to hearing it from a scientific perspective. And, I might add, not a lame explanation of distorted memory. I carried that picture of Earth from outer space with me throughout my life. When I first saw photos of the Earth in the 1960s from the moon. I was astounded, and pleased. It was exactly what I saw as a child.
Maybe I’m wrong in my take on religion or atheism. I’m open for any discussion that will expand my experience of the meaning of life. Until then, I still revel in my faux-atheism/Taoism and accept my esoteric experiences as valid and real. So, I think I’ll call myself an atheist mystic.
Whadda you think.
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