A friend of mine, whose opinions I have found to be quite worthy of my respect, was telling me about how much she really enjoyed reading the book for “The Secret“. I had previously been told by others that it was basically a written version of the film and that there was not much more to it, hence I was not planning to purchase it. She was right and I am so glad to have listened.
I could go through several parts of the book and discuss how wonderfully it expands upon the the themes of the film and in some places goes into things that didn’t make it in, beyond a cursory mention. One that really spoke (read yelled, screamed and made a general nuisance of itself) was the final chapter.
On many occasions, I have tried to find the will of God for my life. In the Southern Baptist world we are told that God has a plan and it is our job to fulfill whatever role He put us here for. Now this works really well as a philosophy for people who don’t wish to take any particular responsibility for their lives and pass it all off on God. Now don’t get me wrong, I understand completely why the majority of peoples would prefer to be at the whim of a distant and all powerful deity, but when I look around me and see what that mindset has created in the majority of mankind, I just find it questionable at best and obviously misguided at most. The first section of Neale Donald Walsch’s book “What God Wants” goes into this with amazing clarity and brutal honesty.
I have never found a difficulty in asking God if something is right or wrong, guidance has never been lacking when I’m willing to hear it. But when I have asked what it is that God wishes of me, there has always been a distinct silence. I have been known to become a bit annoyed and sometimes testy with God over this lack of communication. If He has some wish for me, I would think it only polite to make me aware of it… How can I be help responsible on the day of Judgment if He won’t speak up, especially when asked?
My parents and the common logic is that we are to race on this treadmill of sleep, work and television with the weekly visits on Sunday and Wednesday to Church to give my soul it’s injection of Salvation. Now I am the first to admit that maybe I am just pig-headed about this, but I cannot imagine a more depressing. You might as well pull out the gun and blow my head off, talk about a hellish existence.
Others say that I should lock myself into an ascetic community or cloister of monks and like-minded individuals. Now maybe I am just a touch cynical, but somehow I suspect that is more for their satisfaction than mine. I have thought about it and would be open to it. My biggest stumbling block to date on this score has to do with where the previous is so far to one extreme of the spectrum, most ascetic communities are just as extreme on the other. Like the Buddha, I seek a balanced path down the center, the path between all extremes.
While there are many variants to the above paths, about the only true alternative is the “Follow you Bliss” path. Misery may satisfy the “original sin” crowd, but I just can’t get my heart to believe in a deity that has nothing but spite for his creation and wishes them to live in eternal dread and toil.
Some say that to follow your bliss is to seek a hedonistic lifestyle, thinking only of oneself and taking little interest in the repercussions of those actions. Taken in a selfish way, it can be a slippery slope but through inspiration and perseverance we can keep our perspectives and hearts clear and true.
The simple fact is that all ideas, philosophies and theologies taken one way can bring true joy and just as easily taken the other direction tends to bring pain and suffering in the long run. St. Francis showed a path of simplicity and poverty and yet many found such things to be the source of pride and vanity in their personal experiences. This is also shown in some of the ascetic paths in the Indian traditions. We tend to feel raised by “our” sacrifices “for” God, how our ego’s love to stroke themselves.
So what does God want from you? Listen to your heart and find the answer, if you truly listen it cannot be missed.
What does God want from me? The things that make me happiest are finishing pieces like this and sharing with others the joy I get from a view of life on this planet that I once thought was only allowed for greater people than I would ever be. My friends have giggled at me at times when I talk about my teeth humming. When I am “in the groove” I get the sensation that my teeth are humming along and a warmth runs up and down my spine and eventually explodes out from the sack of skin that I think of as “me“.
Do I ever doubt myself and this whole thing? Of course I do at times and that is when I ask for guidance all the more fervently. We tend, in Western Christianity, to deify Jesus and put him completely outside our frame of reference, but as the Gospels tell us, even he doubted himself at times and the things he was called to do. We all have our moments where we are in the Garden of Gethsemane.
Since I know someone will ask, no, I have no delusions of such things, but use it as an example that if even the greatest of us can have doubts about what we are doing, then the least of us can’t really be condemned as long as we are listening to that voice of inspiration that brought us here in the first place.