To Be(lieve) or Not To Be(lieve)
“Just as a candle cannot burn without fire, men cannot live without a spiritual life.”
As we follow the news of the storm-wrought disasters across the northeastern U.S., we are reminded that bad things happen to good people. In times of crisis, we often wonder whether there is any rhyme or reason to the universe, and indeed to question any faith we may have in a greater good.
Thinking about the plight of friends, neighbors and strangers in the north, I am moving outside the box a bit to post about spirituality. Although raised Catholic, I am not a religious person. My husband and I respect each others’ beliefs both where they match and where they diverge. In my mind, we all come from the same place, and so long as we live a good life, are kind to others and respect everyone’s right to their own beliefs, we’re on solid ground.
“Keep your feet on the ground, but let your heart soar as high as it will.”
As I look at the beauty of the world around me, despite any moments of crisis, it seems reasonable to think that there is something or someone in charge of what we in the computer business used to call design and implementation-not to mention ongoing support. The most brilliant among us simply cannot come close.
“The spiritual path – is simply the journey of living our lives. Everyone is on a spiritual path; most people just don’t know it. ”
Crisis is a time when our faith can bring us solace. We wonder about the reasons things happen as they do. I remember one of the most valuable lessons I ever learned was when, as a young teen, I was upset about something I’ve long since forgotten. My dad quieted my distress with the simple question “Who ever told you life is fair?” Honestly, I’d never considered that and somehow it made me feel better knowing that sometimes life ISN’T fair and you just have to accept it and do your best with the hand you’ve been dealt.
Losing someone you love is another time when one is likely to turn to thoughts of spirituality. I lost my parents many years ago, both quite young. I’ve since had some very vivid dreams where my parents have reassured me that all is well and I shouldn’t worry about them. The dreams leave me with a deep sense of peace and contentment. Am I simply reassuring myself, or can our spirits reach out after death? How very egotistical and foolhardy it would be for us to think we can know the answer to such questions.
“When you are in doubt, be still, and wait; when doubt no longer exists for you, then go forward with courage. So long as mists envelop you, be still; be still until the sunlight pours through and dispels the mists — as it surely will. Then act with courage.”
PONCA CHIEF WHITE EAGLE
The Dalai Lama said, “Religion is meant to “facilitate love and compassion, patience, tolerance, humility, forgiveness.” So here is my view of spirituality. Religious or not, to be truly fulfilled, each of us must find our own version of a spiritual life. Mine is: Appreciate the beauty around you. Live your life with gratitude. Forgive yourself and others for any shortcomings while striving always to improve. Believe in and contribute to the Greater Good. And finally, Accept and be open-minded about the things you cannot understand.
“It is the flash of a firefly in the night. It is the breath of a buffalo in the wintertime. It is the little shadow which runs across the grass and loses itself in the sunset.”
In searching for quotes to include in this post, there were many wonderful thoughts from some incredibly great minds. From the Dalai Lama, to Buddha, to Thomas Aquinas and many, many more. But for me, my favorite new words to live by are these, by White Elk:
” When you were born, you cried and the world rejoiced. Live your life so that when you die, the world cries and you rejoice.”
My thoughts go out to those in crisis, in the hope that they find solace.
- African Sunset – Nikon D/50, Nikkor 70-200mm @70mm, f/11, 1/320, ISO 400
- African Sky – Fuji FinePix F/30, f/8, 1/320, ISO 100
- Sunset on the Marsh – Nikon D/300s, Nikkor 70-200 @70mm, f/11, 13s, ISO 400
- Sunset with the Whales – Nikon D/80, Nikkor 70-200 @120mm, f/4.8, 1/400, ISO 800
- Sunrise at Bennett’s Ridge – Nikon D/300s, Nikkor 18-200mm @18mm, f/8, 1/8000, ISO 1000
- Golden Hour – Nikon D/300s, Nikkor 18-200 @28mm, f/11, 1/40, ISO 250
- Moonrise – Nikon D/300s, Nikkor 70-200 @150mm, f/9, 13s, ISO 1250