Thursday, May 17, 2012

The God of Confusion, Frustration, Incomprehension

This post was inspired as a response to this post on another blog that I frequent.  Originally I started to respond via comment to the post itself but realized it would all be much too long a comment and so I write a post on my own blog.

Here is what I think:

I believe quite strongly that God exists.  Beyond that I do not know what He is.

I do not believe that He is at all what we are lead to believe as we grow and go to church.  I think there is evidence of that statement everywhere.  God does not protect us from danger, He does not make our decisions for us, He does not stop us from doing anything we choose to do.  He does not throw us pennies from heaven or get us that really great job with the million dollar paycheck.  I don't think He cares whether or not we go to church or sing in the choir.  I do not think, regardless of how often and desperately we as parents prostrate ourselves before Him and beg Him to save our child from drug abuse, alcohol abuse, gambling addiction, a life of crime, major illness, car accident, etc. that he actually will.  But maybe sometimes He does.  The fact is I have no idea.

But He is something that we have never known or realized before.  And He exists within us in a way we have never known or realized before.  We cannot pinpoint Him, we cannot discern His thoughts from our own.  And I don't believe we can 'see' Him until He's actually gone by us... assuming you want to call that "seeing".

I believe that people who are on a spiritual journey (aren't we all?) and by that I mean people who are actively, consciously seeking to know more, seeking to understand, seeking what is "supposed" to be for them, I believe that these people will come to know something more about God.  What that something more is I cannot say and I'm not sure I'll ever be able to qualify it.

There is an interesting phenomenon that occurs quite slowly and the best word I can come up with to describe it is "unknowing".  I believe that in order to truly "know" God we have to unlearn all of our previous concepts, concrete, man-made ideas about what God is.  Because none of them are true.  What is true is that we cannot grasp God with our own concrete ideas about what God is and how He operates.  I believe that God actively produces this phenomenon that one might call darkness, unknowing, confusion, loss of faith.  We become confused because if we choose to be absolutely truthful with ourselves it is quite obvious that our old, well-worn ideas about God simply are not true.

And then what?

Where do I go from here?

What do I do now?

Well I'd have to say that I have no choice but to wait.  I have no choice but to live my life with this confusion and ambivalence and darkness and unknowing.  And see what happens.

What other option do I have?

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Living the Dream

Yesterday during my evening meditation I had a wonderful thought; about how it’s all different than we think. I cannot say that I even remember the details of what I was thinking, just that it all came with an intensity and an amazing clarity and a feeling of great satisfaction and calm.

This past weekend was really enjoyable for me. It was the realization of everything that I sense life can be. First and foremost the weather was phenomenal. Bright, bright sunshine and vivid spring colors. And I spend the weekend painting, walking my dog and simply sitting in the yard enjoying the beautiful weather.

I read an article in the New York Times this past weekend about Google and the intense and very demanding environment in which it requires its employees to work. Google offers its employee various classes and one of them is a class on mindfulness. Apparently while Google is requiring its employees to work at a pace that will kill them before their time it also recognizes the need to make them mindful of that fact.

I drip with sarcasm.

Seven sessions of mindfulness meditation training and then back to the exhausting - physically and mentally – grind. Back into that environment where everything is needed now, where eighty hours a week is the norm, where everyone is competing with everyone else. Seven sessions of mindfulness training is what Google is offering its overworked, over-taxed, exhausted employees so they can squeeze a few more productive years out of each of them. Chronic, stress-induced back pain is accepted by these same employees as the price to be paid to work for Google. Because working for Google is the opus, the dream. It is about prestige; Google only accepts the best and the brightest, actively seeks out the best and the brightest and if you work for Google that is proof positive that you are a member of that elite group: The Best and The Brightest.

Toward what end?

And for what? So I can drop dead even sooner? Having been there, fooled by the lure of big bucks, fooled by the lure of the admiration and respect of my professional peers, fooled by the lure of controlling my own professional destiny. I fed on the pressure and the stress, I met every expectation, every ridiculous deadline. Executive status, running my own business, making money, these (in my mind) were the constructs, the proof of a successful life.

But something interesting happens. One becomes saturated by stress, like an alcoholic becomes saturated with alcohol after forty years of heavy drinking. And once one becomes saturated with something unhealthy then over the years less and less of that something effects one more and more. A small amount of alcohol at year forty induces the same reaction as it did with a large amount at year ten. Much the same with a stress-aholic a little stress goes a long way the farther in one gets.

I had, after years and years of stressful living broken down until finally I just stopped being able to do any of it.

Why don’t we realize? We will work ourselves into a frenzy because somebody, society expects us to do so. For a pay-check, for prestige, so I can say I work for Google? I am among the best and brightest.

And I could drop dead tomorrow much the same as the guy who picks up my garbage every week.