In solitude, when there is quiet, it is then that the inner world demands attention. Face to face with a presence that is closer than our skin, beyond form, yet seeking a response. If I was an atheist I would find solitude different….how different I am not sure, for the same emptiness of silence would remain.
Being self aware, mankind is the observer of the universe. Perhaps without self awareness, the universe would simply be asleep, unconscious, for there would be no one to see or observe what is and the seeking after meaning. We are the name givers after all; we make up species, name plants and seek to see ever more deeply.
Who observes us? Observation is not a good concept when dealing with the transcendent, but language does have its limitations. Are we brought into existence because we are simply in the ‘mind’ of God? If this is so, why is this observer so hidden from us? Perhaps apart from pets, the natural world only experiences us as an intrusion, often a very unpleasant one, but hidden from them as well? Hence, our aloneness and feelings of being rootless and adrift, in an often painful and confusing universe with only a few short years of actual existence.
I believe we are made to search, to seek for answers and in the journey to understand that we will never get to the bottom of it. We live in a realm where ‘doubt’ is what keeps us searching for deeper answers in relationship to the mysteries of our existence. As well as seeking to find that treasure, the deepest longings of our hearts….which for all of our sophistication, is to simply be seen. We call that ‘being seen’, love.
As I get older, I am finding that time has a funny quality to it. It takes everything away from us if we live long enough. Yet, as we are being stripped of one strength at a time, one family member and our friends, when our cultures pass us by and leave us in the dust, yet, there is a deeper life within that becomes stronger, stable, even if the outward aspects of our lives move towards extinction…at least as far as the world is concerned.
Faith cannot become a mere ideology, since they all die. Faith and yes religion, which I believe is necessary, stays alive because it is ever brought to its knees by failure and a lack of understanding of the teachings and example of its founder. The failures of the followers of God, do not point to the non-existence of God nor does it say anything about the actual faith….it only points to the central problem in our world, the cause of perhaps most of our sufferings, it is of course ‘us’, ‘me’.
That which observes and upholds us will one day bring us all to an accounting, to a time when all of what we did, did not do, the pain and joy we caused, will be looked at, we will become the observer of ourselves, to see ourselves as God see us. I am not sure that is consoling, but something necessary in a world where justice is also an important issue for humans. Justice for all, and also an accounting for all….love demands that, that we see all, that we come to the true understanding of who and what we are, for the need of mercy, both to receive and to give. In the end, we choose, to receive mercy and grace, to give it, or not.
I do believe in hell, a place of eternal isolation, a state of being where one chooses not to observe as God observes, so stays locked in a freely chosen existence where the only observer is the one locked in a self-made prison. Where their judgments are the only ones worth paying attention to; becoming perhaps the ultimate victims themselves, impossible to reach for eternity, trapped in one moment of isolation freely chosen.
We either create ourselves, or allow grace to create us. Grace allows love to blossom, healing to flow and living waters to quench the deepest thirst of the human heart. By grace we are brought to full stature, a gift that we respond to. To create ourselves is ultimately to create a world of lies, since we become trapped in an endless cycle of our own finite nature. Only love can free us from that reality, grace, something I believe that is open to everyone.