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Some Personal Views About God

December 3, 2011

In my last post, I raised the topic of God. God has been very important in my quest to understanding myself throughout my adult life. From as far back as I can remember, I had a deep desire to believe in God–something that was ultimately responsible for the existence of everything and now giving me an opportunity to experience him. Though I had grown up a Catholic, the religious path followed by my family, its teachings didn’t always match my own personal beliefs. I had entertained a more natural approach to contemplating God. I must have been in the first grade when I’d first heard about Biblical stories, like Noah’s Ark and David slaying the giant. To me, they sounded like they were simply stories and nothing more. I remember thinking I knew stories from our phonograph records, the cartoons we often watched, other tv programs, and the stories written in books. I had no idea what the Bible was at that age. Maybe they were a bunch of stories I had just missed. I knew the stories of Jesus by then. The church normally talked about Jesus and all the miracles he had performed. I wanted to believe in Jesus. The Bible as a whole was something foreign to me.

I remember being dragged to church with mom, my grandmother, and my sister. That would be the worst hour I remember doing anything. I was required to sit through the Catholic Mass, located in the auditorium at the hour we attended, needing to sit on cold metal folding chairs. The big cathedral was more interesting. It had a very high ceiling and some large structure toward the back to the altar that looked like the City of God; not sure what that was supposed to be. I remember the priest would come out from behind that structure at the beginning of mass. Lastly, there were the glowing racks of votive candles near several of the entrances. They were a warming addition to the darkened room. For the majority of our visits, we needed to sit in that very plain auditorium. For a 5-year-old, the mass was painfully long and drawn out. Where was the beauty of God in this? The splendors of God were everywhere, in the trees, in the sky. This was not God. It wasn’t until some years later that I began to understand more about the church, but I didn’t see God in any of it. We sat though catechism and received our First Communion so that the kids could start accepting Communion during the Masses.

I had gone through all the motions and increasingly desired to have a deep relationship with God, with Jesus, with whomever was responsible for my existence. Throughout my youth, I put my trust in the church that what they were teaching was true and my relationship with God would grow stronger as I approached adulthood. In my middle teens I had a loose understanding about God. That was a time when I was uncertain about much in my life. My family and I were living in a place I had considered undesirable–in the suburbs of Chicago. We lived there for 3 years, looking to get involved with a family business that wound up failing. It was a place I was unable to make many friends, where my entire family felt out-of-place (being from Long Island, New York).

My need to find God in my life had increasingly grown stronger during my middle teen years and into high school. After another move to Southern California, I found myself to becoming isolated from society–friends, family members, everyone. There was nobody to talk to. Nobody who could help me. I had gotten to the point where I could hardly articulate what I was experiencing. I found the local Californians impossible to talk to. I had nobody I had considered a close friend. I was alone. Even after joining a local church youth group, I felt completely alone. Where was this God? I would ask myself. I would pray, read the Bible, and say the Rosary. At one point, I was going to church three times a week for various activities. I would pray for healings. I would pray for guidance. “Please talk to me” I would whisper to Him. “Don’t leave me alone like this”. Regrettably, I would need to wait for answers. Valuable time was slipping past me with nobody offering help. My parents were just as baffled as I was as to why I was the way I was.

Religion would be my only answer, though, since my issues were deep-seated and illusive. All I knew is that I could not do certain things. On the surface, I was adequately functional. I stayed out of trouble. I had no issues with hyperactivity or negative behaviors. I mostly kept to myself.

There are direct links between body, mind, and spirit. This has been written and spoken about numerous times. How we come to be living in these bodies is a complete mystery. The conventional agreement in science is that we are bodies that happen to live in this place called earth, we come from those who gave birth to us, and we live until we live no more. Then our bodies are done and go back to the dust from which it came. As our bodies simply vanish from the earth, so does the psyche. The person we were when the body lived has disappeared. We were only a collection of thoughts conjured up by the brain, which is now dead.

I never felt as though I were only a body. Before the time I knew what religion was, I knew my psyche had a connection to everything else. Consciousness seemed to have a special presence. Maybe that is how consciousness reacts. It must find some connection to something else to know that it exists independently of everything else. Throughout my life, I have been wanting some connection. I don’t have much connection to people or things in this world. So, it has reached out into the endless space in search for a reason for existence.

Once we develop a sense of self, we can find better ways to function. Who am I? What do I want? We need to look deep within ourselves for the answer. Everything outside of us will attempt to answer that question. I am a person who needs to have a new iPad. I am a person who spends time  with certain specific people for very specific reasons. These aren’t who we are, but we can believe we are particular persons who need to be doing a specific thing for a specific reason. Without a clear sense of self, the direction we are to travel in this life, we will forever be controlled by influences other then outselves.

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