As a young child, you probably took seriously what you were taught in religious school. You dutifully listened to Bible stories and believed them. But now that you’re older and think for yourself, the God you have heard about all your life isn’t as believable.
How realistic is the humanlike God from the Bible who becomes angry, jealous, and forgiving? It’s hard to fathom a super-powerful being who created the world in six days or parted the Red Sea. Man probably invented God to explain natural phenomena before science could do so. Now that we have rational explanations for what we see in nature, there is no need for that God.
At least, that’s what I thought.
If my Bible fell on the floor as a child, I picked it up and kissed it with reverence. But in my teens, I acquired a cynicism about religion. I saw people going through the motions of devotion by reading prayers about a God I could not relate to or believe in.
In college, I saw myself as an atheist. I believed that a person’s achievements are related to his or her abilities and luck. There was no God of our prayers helping us. I agreed with President Kennedy when he said, “Surely God’s work on earth must be our own.” I rejected the idea of the God who had been taught to me as I grew up. I was, however, still intrigued by the question.
Understanding My Own Spirituality
Then something happened to me when I was 26 years old. It was a few days after I had gone Christmas caroling for fun. In the middle of the night, I was studying for an exam, and the words of the Christmas carols were still in my subconscious mind. The meaning of the words, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” struck me with no warning.
There is a part of me within everyone, and there is a part of everyone within me. At our cores, we are all one. We are connected through human love. We are One! That is why I am happy when I make others happy and unhappy when I make them unhappy.
Before that moment, I had been a good, moral person. I had followed the fundamental rules of conduct. I did not lie, cheat, steal or hurt anyone intentionally. But at that moment, I first recognized the shining spirit behind those rules. It all came together for me.
My life was fundamentally changed at that moment. I spread the word to my family and friends. We are One. If I harm you, I harm myself. It struck a chord with a popular phrase at that time: “Don’t criticize another man unless you have walked a mile in his moccasins.”
I was elated and calm, amazed and filled with quiet contemplation. Everything came together. Everything was understood. I could not fully explain it with words. It was a revelation!
Revelations kept coming to me in the two years following that moment.
Discovering God as Love
I discovered that the life force some call God is really love. Absolute love. It connects you with all other beings. It is the force that inspired the holy books of all religions and The Golden Rule. It allows you to put yourself into the place of others and still love them despite their shortcomings.
Love is the force that binds all of humanity and unifies all of us.
This insight profoundly changed my life. It’s inspired me to share it with others, and I do so in my upcoming book, Awakening Your Soul: A Rational Person’s Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment. In it, I focus on the spiritual power at the depth of your soul. It is that level of your existence that is more fundamental than your ego and of any person’s individual differences.
That connection is outside of — and exists independent of — your thinking mind. Many people have trouble connecting to their spiritual life because they think about it rather than experience it. The intellectual mind only knows things by their physical attributes— length, width, color, odor, sound, shape, etc. Love, the spirit within you, has none of those qualities. Therefore, thinking will not help you truly experience it. As a matter of fact, trying to think about it will separate you from it.
Discovering How to be More Spiritual
Even very rational people can find their inner spirit — it’s always within you. But just as you can’t see the stars in daylight because of the sun’s brilliance, you can’t sense your spirit because of the world’s noise. The secret is to separate yourself from the busy and noisy work-a-day world and listen to your subtle spirit. This can be done through meditation, a simple technique that has been used by all types of people for centuries.
Find a quiet space and sit. Start breathing deeply and slowly in and out — three or four seconds in and three or four seconds out. Over and over, concentrating only on your breath. If a thought comes into your mind, just ignore it. Keep focusing on your breath, and the thought will go away as easily as it came.
Of course, like any new activity, it takes some practice. But for those who may have thought that spirituality was lost on them, it’s a way to reexamine that part of your life.
Living in a rational world doesn’t mean giving up on spirituality. You just need to rediscover it.
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