Believe in God, but let it be selfless and pure.
Don’t let your beliefs dictate how you genuinely want to, and more importantly, deserve to live out your existence. Life is worth experiencing in its fullest form. This involves giving yourself and your love to people without expecting anything in return.
Live life out loud—naturally, safely and with your own well-defined morality.
Many of us were introduced to the concept of a theistic God at a very early age. It is part of our everyday language and the reason for most of our own personal experiences in life. It governs the good things that happen to us (Thank God), bad things (God help us), the future (God has a plan), and the past (God has his reasons) and the things we can’t explain (God acts in mysterious ways).
We spend much of our time praying for safety from the things we fear and help for the things we desire. Many of us center around an idea that our actions here on earth will dictate an event (reward/punishment) once it all ends.
How would you change, if you woke up tomorrow and positively knew there was no God? Perhaps there was a major scientific breakthrough or some type of historical religious confession.
Would your existence seem less meaningful?
Would you loot the local bodega, stop contributing to that charity or dedicating your Saturdays to those special needs kids?
Would your sudden shift in belief affect your consciousness on earth?
If you are designing your life with a moral fabric that can be presented at the feet of God one day, one may argue that you are living an unauthentic life. This means that your good deeds are exercised a bit selfishly as they are contingent on a reward in your afterlife; the goal being to ascend to a utopia in the sky while avoiding the eternal fires of a bottomless fiery pit or to even evade your next life as a dong beetle.
Either way, you may be living your life without sincerity. Your good will is not being done from a genuine place of service. Conversely, you are not indulging in life’s many recreations because you fear that you will be punished for them once your time on earth is extinguished.
The belief of God is valuable in that it calms our mind and gives us hope that we are more than evolved tadpoles, that there is a purpose to each and every one of our births. The points below aren’t meant to undermine the faith that we share, but instead make the point that this belief should not impede your life decisions because at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter.
It doesn’t matter:
1. If there is an afterlife.
So be it, if you don’t reunite with your loved ones and pets in heaven. You’ve experienced them on earth in all of their splendor. You’ve loved them and they have loved you. You’ll laugh and sometimes cry when you think of their memory. That is your union with them. Heaven/nirvana is in your memories and in your dreams. Perhaps it’s not some utopia in the sky or some state of enlightenment that is accessible through dozens or thousands of lifetimes. It doesn’t matter if there is. If there is, it’ll be fantastic. If not, you’ll be too dead to be disappointed.
2. If you do something wrong.
It is inevitable that someone will hurt you and you will hurt someone else. It doesn’t matter if there is a god(s) in the sky with a scorecard. Be self-aware of your actions and behave with compassion every day. We should treat others well because it is a righteous way to live, not because we selfishly want wings or want that good karma. You are your own judge. Forgive others and forgive yourself, but always move forward with kindness and don’t beat yourself up if you need forgiveness every now and then.
3. If you give into your desires.
Give in from time to time, explore your curiosity and live without guilt and regret. As long as we are not hurting someone or ourselves (this is the key) when we do partake in life’s adventures. For some of us, a stifled, fearful life filled with suppressed desires and guilt can lead to an unfulfilling life. For most of us, our greatest memories and stories stem from that time we overcame our fears, acknowledged our true desires and just “let go.”
4. If this world is a result of chemistry and Science.
Isn’t the natural equilibrium that exists in this world amazing? The dichotomies in our gender, the ruggedness of a male vs. the delicateness of a female. Our dependence on each other. The way nature flows and evolves so self-sufficiently. The landscapes—a sunset that turns the sky orange, a night filled with a million stars. This beautiful earth is your playground and we should be exploring all of it without caring how it got here.
5. If “bad things” happen to you.
Bad things happen to us all of the time and it trips our hardwired beliefs. If there is a god, how can he allow something so dire to happen? These questions can haunt us and distract us from living our authentic lives. It can be a victimized way to live because it assumes that god is to blame for your situation. Instead, we need to move forward with the realization and acceptance that life is different now.
Give yourself time to grieve and understand that the pain will always reside in your heart. Ease that pain by letting your memories honor the past and find personal ways to cope with your suffering. The peace you find with your situation, is not with a god to blame or not blame, but instead with the emotional path you decide to take moving forward.
6. The ghosts of our loved ones are watching over us.
Many of us believe that our lost lovers and family members are voyeurs in the sky or birds on our windowsill. This can put barriers on our life decisions. For example, If we lost a parent, we cannot accept our stepparent or we can’t let love in our life again, because it would dishonor our lost love.
Our privilege in this lifetime is to give and receive love.
Real love is eternal and will always hold a place in our hearts. But, it doesn’t mean that we cannot regenerate our love in different forms for different people. Everyone deserves this regardless of when or how they experienced a pivotal loss. You don’t have to compromise your remaining years because of this belief.
7. If you have a difference of opinion.
We all have our opinions, we all come from different backgrounds, spiritual beliefs and possess different passions. However, at the end of the day, because of the great variances in our bloodlines, intelligence, biases and otherwise, we should all just accept that our differences are OK. And our opinions and beliefs are only that. Neither better, nor worse. Just different.
Share your opinions, but don’t impose them on others. Don’t belittle others who have different opinions than you. Because, let’s face it, none of us have the answer to life’s greatest debate and when it’s all said and done, It probably doesn’t even matter.
God bless you all.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Author: Robert Pistor
Apprentice Editor: Kim Haas / Editor: Renee Picard
Photo: Soumish De at Pixoto