What if you don’t know what you believe?
One of the things I like to do here at Out of the Void is bring attention to what influences our well-being. Not necessarily the things we recognize, but rather the stuff that works behind the scenes. Today I want to talk about one of those big topics we are never supposed to talk about, that is, unless we are sure our opinions align with the beliefs of others. The obvious flaw with this thought of only sharing beliefs with those who hold the same ideas as us; is that we never grow, and we become very rigid in our thinking. Things become just how they are, even if there is no actual “proof” this is the universal truth. We become defensive, fearful, and we separate ourselves from others who believe differently. Having a personal truth that brings us strength is wonderful. However, keeping an open mind and ensuring our personal truth aligns with the truth of the world, is also a really good practice. Please know that anything I say is not intended to contest anyone’s beliefs or personal truth. I simply wish to discuss my thoughts on a loaded topic with a bunch of people who may or may not share my beliefs.
Let’s talk about God.
Why bother talking about this? People will believe what they want to believe, right? This is true for sure. What about those who aren’t sure what they believe? What happens when none of the narratives fit? Does this mean we don’t believe in anything? For a long time, I felt this must be where I fit. I must have been one of the “non-believers”. Like many who live in the “West”, the first religion I experienced was Christianity. For me, this was not a fit. It isn’t due to the practices, the people, being told a certain way to think, feeling wronged by believers, or anything of the sort. Often this is the stuff that prevents people from embracing religion. They reflect on how they felt “persecuted” in some way. This is just not a thing that applies to me pretty much ever. When people judge me for engaging in activities they disapprove of, or for being less than the desired human; it hurts but it doesn’t linger for too long, and I try to not let it have a significant influence over me. So, this idea of persecution is not where I am coming from; although I can see why many feel this way. People become very attached to their beliefs. They defend them in unbalanced ways. I see this clearly on both sides, so I do consider myself fortunate to not be inflicted with this complex issue.
My trouble with religion, God, and finding where I fit stems from observing, thinking, and overactive annoying common sense. If Christianity is just “the way”, how come there are older religions? How come there is more than one religion based on the same book? How can we know the book is accurate? Why does the book have so many variations? Who wrote the book? What were the authors really like? Were they good people or clever people? Did they have an agenda? How do we know they are honest? Was it changed since it was written? How do we know their accounts are accurate? Has anyone ever played a game of telephone? These thoughts I had as a child prevented me from accepting religion when it was presented to me. It is important to remember that just become some information might be flawed, it doesn’t mean all information is inaccurate.
From a young age, I could not just accept God because the notion was laid before me in a way that was so contradictory, I simply could not process the ridiculous nature of the information. The big trouble that began here at this moment and lingered until just a few years ago, is that I was not a non-believer. I hold a very strong faith; I just never knew in what. I knew I didn’t align with one organized religion. I thought I had to. I felt if one was right in their thinking, that means the rest are wrong? How could most people just be wrong? What happens to the people who were wrong when they die? I had friends in school who believed in different things than I was being taught. Do they go to Hell or do I? Who gets to be right? I feel everyone is right and no one is. Being a child, this was all heavy information to try to process and articulate. Grown-ups tend to dismiss children who ask questions they don’t want to try to answer. Again, I was blessed here with some family who asked similar questions. Sometimes I wish I would have actually asked the right grown-ups in my life my questions. I likely would have gotten to my own beliefs a bit earlier in life- perhaps even with a whole lot less trouble. I did not do this though, so as always, I took the hard road to learn about my beliefs.
We can all be very right and very wrong at the same time.
I believe we all share a strong connection to spirit. I know many will say they are gifted, my thoughts on this don’t take away from anyone’s “gifts”. Connection to spirit is a gift, I just think it is a gift we all have. Maybe some don’t open it just yet, but we all have it in us. My connection to spirit is where my conflict on this topic began. I couldn’t embrace the idea of God, but I could always interact with spirit. I didn’t always recognize what was happening, but that communication has always been there. Unfortunately, the vast majority of the communication I experienced was with the less than “good”. Our environment and the energy present resonate at a certain frequency. I feel if the frequency we reside in is of a lower vibration, for the most part, the spirits that we encounter will be of that same lower frequency.
When religion was presented to me, I could not comprehend the notion of God. I could however align with the supposed opposition as I had experienced the less than pleasant side of the spirit world. Again though, the idea of Hell and of all of the other stuff that goes with it didn’t resonate with me at all. There was always a strong feeling in my belly that what I was told just didn’t align with truth. I could not contest the notion of a “devil” because that same opposing feeling in my gut just wasn’t fully present. I had experienced the scary stuff daily so I could conceive of there being a “villain” in this unseen world that religion speaks of. If there is a villain there must be a hero, right? This is where I accepted angels being a thing. Not exactly as they are depicted most of the time, but the idea that angels are real could not be contested in my belly, just the same as those devils I knew were real. As a grade school child, this was about the only comfort I could find for myself. At the time, I am not aware of any particular angels exactly; I did feel there had to be something good that watched out for us if we really needed it.
Things are not always black and white.
Now, pause for a moment. I am not a “devil” worshiper and I also do not believe that angels are inherently good, and demons are always bad. I believe that they are all both depending on the perspective and situation. I want you to stay with me here, if you have managed to get this far. I don’t even believe there is just one “devil”. Those “devils” are not the opposition of “God”, they are a part of it all. I think evil and good permeate our world. I think there are many on both “sides” and I think all are imperative if we wish to have balance. Everyone has a role to play. All are equal, even (and especially) in spirit. Dark and light are two sides of the same coin. We typically don’t see both sides at the same time, this doesn’t mean that both sides are not there.
We are told we must believe in the structured beliefs that are presented to us and dismiss the others. We might believe in one religion and say it is right, but then close off the part of our mind that should compare our beliefs to others. I want to offer an alternative. I want to put the easy road out there, just in case someone might prefer to not take the hard road. Like I said, I couldn’t embrace the idea of God and there is a very good reason for that. This idea we speak of it is something beyond measure. It is something without comparison. Something no words or ideas can articulate. This is why from a young age and even now, I can’t say what “God” I believe in. I can’t possibly know a way to even think of what God could be. If I could, I sure wouldn’t need a book to tell me. I would just know. My soul would know. I know I feel a connection to something I can’t put into words. I have faith and that is about as far as I can explain it. Again, if you find your beliefs align with a religion or system of belief, I think that is beautiful. You do you!
For many, even using the word God is a turn off. They become defensive and assume that I use it the way they associate with it. It is a dirty word to many. A word of oppression that inspires a visceral reaction. I defy that response. I urge you to take off your blinders and open your perspective a bit. There is more to the world than our personal bias. There is more than our current understanding. There is more than we can ever articulate. If you allow yourself to consider that there is a something that is greater than words that connects us all, you believe in the same “God” that I do.
“Where do you turn when you aren’t sure what to have faith in?“
The conflict I am feeling during this time of my journey as a very young person is severe. I don’t believe in the religions set before me. I can’t wrap my head around the notion of God as it’s presented. I don’t fully embrace the notion of the devil, but I know there are scary things in spirit. I am not a non-believer, but I am also not sure what to believe. Many find themselves in this position and this is why I share this particular bit of experience. Where do you turn when you aren’t sure what to have faith in? I looked in every religion, I searched ancient systems of belief, sacred geometry, magical practices, animism, polytheism, monotheism, etc., and still; I could not find my place. I found truth and similarities in ALL of these beliefs but no single one felt complete. The only place left to turn, was within.
Let’s rewind for a second to one of the key things that Christianity speaks. They say, “We are all God’s children”. Well, if there is any truth in that, this would mean all people are equal. I know I love both of my children equally. Neither one of them has a stronger connection to me than the other. They both have equal access to my love, discipline, and support. If we are all from the same source, this would mean I have equal access to “God”. I wouldn’t need a book, a “spiritual leader”, or anything other than myself to connect to whatever it is I believe in. The connection should already be there. I say this because I have had many a conversation with those who believe in the Abrahamic religions, and I am met with the strongest opposition from them. It isn’t that I am saying their beliefs are inaccurate, they just feel incomplete to me. I have looked at religion from every perspective I can find, and they just always feel incomplete to me personally. If something feels whole to you, if something brings you peace and comfort, if your beliefs do not harm another living thing; then you embrace those beliefs and allow others to search for that same level of comfort.
We all deserve to know the support of spirit because spirit does support us all.
I believe with all I have that we do not require a building, a book, rules, or people to connect to spirit. I believe even more so that no human has authority over the areas pertaining to this topic. No man or woman can be appointed by another living human and somehow gain more power over or insight into spirit than anyone else. A child holds just as much insight (and oftentimes more) as an adult in this area. We are the ones who dictate this level of authority. We are the ones who create the separation between us all. Those lines are drawn in the physical world, not the spiritual.
Some beliefs state we are not all equal and that we are not all from the same source. Well, considering we all hold the same physical bodies with slight variations, I just can’t get behind that concept. Just in case you had that lingering in your mind, that is my quick thought on it. It is illogical.
We learn from both “good” and “evil”
We get to the teenage years here on my evolution through spiritual beliefs, and I still am not a believer in “God”. I have yet to encounter anyone who shares anything that fully resonates with me. I do still share that strong connection to spirit and unfortunately, my connection is primarily to those who teach lessons the hard way. I learn about the ugly side of humanity in depth first and this pushes me further and further from embracing the idea of any kind of loving God. I think this is a big flaw in what we think a god would be. Why would it only be love and kindness when our world is more than that? That logic would have been helpful to me as a teen. When we don’t find our faith when we are young, we don’t have a strong foundation when we get to this tricky life stage. Teenage years can be overwhelming for lots of reasons. When we gain independence and start to forge our own path in life, it is important to have some kind of foundational beliefs. Guidance is always all around us. Inspiration is everywhere. There is influence on both sides, “good and evil”. There are experiences we need on both sides of the coin. Strength of self and connection to spirit can prove extremely beneficial during this stage of life. I say that because my connection was very strong to the darker side of the coin. My strength of self was lacking, and my faith in goodness was weak. I am thankful for my experiences because I could not be who I am now without them all. Although I do wish I would have taken a slightly easier road to get here. When you know there is so much darkness in the world, it becomes very difficult to find the light.
Maybe this is Hell?
I found myself questioning everything. Is there no god at all? Is there only a bunch of devils? Is this Hell? Now, I know this notion is one I have heard before, so maybe there is truth to it. We all know someone who has felt that this here on Earth is actually Hell. Alas, this too doesn’t fully resonate with me although, at the darkest of times, it does come close.
When faced with these dark moments, these life-threatening horrors that are found here on Earth, we do tend to pray to our maker, even if we don’t know what that is. I can say for sure that each time I was faced with one of these moments, I did find myself connecting to that energy that we might assign the title of “God”. Perhaps I have encountered these moments more than the average person, but this to me only reinforces that belief I was looking for all this time. I couldn’t say I didn’t believe, because when I was faced with the darkest times, I prayed. I didn’t find comfort in prayers that I needed to read or recite. I am not even sure I found great comfort bellowing my deepest pains to the universe hoping anyone in spirit might help me. What I know is that I felt a connection to something. I know I felt I wasn’t alone. This is because we never are. Even when I consistently chose to put myself in situations that were dangerous, difficult, or just crappy; I still found that connection every single time I asked.
Many years pass this way where all I can recognize in spirit is the “dark”. At the time, I kind of thought that might be all there was. I had an easier time connecting to that energy because I had always done so. I also didn’t fully believe or understand what it was that I “communicated” with. When I wasn’t feeling “spiritual” I just always felt it was part of me. My inner voice or something. Perhaps my conscience was just a clever, insightful, inconsiderate, dick. Then I received undeniable proof that it was more than just me. Talk about a time to pray to your maker. When you encounter those things from nightmares it becomes very difficult to question your faith. Your options are crippling fear or faith. There is nothing else. It took me a few more years to embrace the idea that anything good was present for me in spirit. This is really only a recent revelation and one I still battle with. I could see the good, I could interact with the good that surrounded others, but I never found it around myself. I had faith that really couldn’t be shaken, but I also somehow didn’t believe that I had earned that good on my side just yet.
I felt I resonated with the less than good my entire life. I am not one of the good guys. Or so I thought. We see what we want to see sometimes. We believe what is most aggressively in our face instead of seeing what is quietly always behind us- we don’t always see who has our back. This was always my issue. This is an issue I share with many. We can see the evil. We can see the pain. We can see our troubles. We can’t always see our blessings. We don’t always feel loved. We don’t always feel safe. Words aren’t enough to get us to feel this. Someone else’s faith can’t convince us of our own. Sometimes those religions that others can embrace with grace just don’t fill us with the same comfort. They fill us with doubt. This doesn’t negate their effectiveness though; it just means we need a different way.
We can’t always assign words to the concept of “God”. I can’t anyway. It is more than my mind can comprehend. It is beyond measure and beyond comparison. This does not mean it is not real. The feeling of desperation we encounter when we have exhausted all known options, when we are faced with troubles beyond our capacity to endure; we all do the same thing. Our heart calls out to the universe with a plea for help. For answers. For insight. For strength, For wisdom. For backup. For comfort. We ALL do this, regardless of what god we do or do not name. To me, that frequency we instinctively connect to is what we would call a “God”. This means the words are irrelevant, we can read any religious text or make up our own, and the words will convey the intention we hold to the source it needs to get to. This is after all what faith is.
Faith is not understanding. Faith is not knowing. Faith is not a detailed description. Faith is letting go of all of that and knowing something has your back. It is knowing you are never alone.
Good and evil are just two sides of the very same thing. It took me thirty something years to get to the understanding that there is not a side that wins. It is more than just good vs evil. There is balance. There is always balance. Even if the scales tip from one side to the other, there is still a scale. This scale is constantly shifting and changing but the scale is always present. “God” is neither good nor evil – it is more like the scale. If there is great evil, it only makes sense that there is also great good. We have proof of great evil; it is easier to recognize than the good sometimes. Where we place our faith influences which one we see more of. We will always see both though. That is just the way of things, I think.
Look within because the connection is already there.
If there is no religion, belief, or practice that resonates with you; perhaps it is time to look within. If you feel you believe in something but just don’t know what that something is, you still have faith, and it is okay to not assign it a name. You do not have to choose a religion; you do not have to declare your spirituality. This is personal and this is why I refer to everything as spirit. I can’t possibly know what else to call it. I have spent my life communicating with things that have no physical bodies and still, I cannot even try to articulate what god might possibly be. I know there is more than we see here, and I know in times of terror my heart calls out for help and it connects to something. Just the same as when I experience immeasurable joy, I feel the same connection to something more. I can say we almost never get the help we ask for in the way we ask for it. We do tend to get exactly what we need though, even if we don’t always like it.
For anyone out there who is looking to embrace faith but are put off by religion, try to remember that religion is a very human thing. Humans are not perfect. None of us are even close! It is more than okay that religion is not perfect either. Take what feels good and leave the rest behind. Look within yourself for the connection you need. I promise that connection is already there. Our faith doesn’t need a name or label. We can just have faith that we can’t quantify. Faith that can bring us comfort, guidance, and support. We can just have faith that there is more than we can ever understand in spirit. We can have faith in our strength. We can have faith that our connection to spirit is always present and all we need to do is ask and support will always be there. Only you can really decide what faith means to you and where you place it. No one can tell you what you can or can’t believe in. That will always be between you and spirit.