Sunday, 31 March 2013

Searching and believing

When Joni Mitchell sang "we are stardust/billion year-old carbon" in her 1969 song Woodstock, she was not articulating a pretty metaphor, she was stating a scientific fact. There are particles of you and me that are billions of years old, and have been inside stars. Atomic particles, to be sure, but eternal in every sense of the word. Electrons spinning around their nucleus since shortly after the Big Bang.

I believe in God; the driving force, the guiding force behind the progress of our ever-expanding universe made up of hundreds of billions of galaxies each consisting of hundreds of billions of suns, a significant number of which also contain sentient life. Our God, yes, their God too. The universe is moving towards an ever-more perfect state; one day, in billions or trillions of years time, it will reach that state; everything will be with God, everything will be God. Understanding and memory of everything that has ever been. Imagine what it could be like to be able to understand everything. The difference between us and an amoeba multiplied by an infinite power.

The notion of biological evolution goes hand-in-hand with spiritual evolution; consciousness evolving onward. We here on our planet consider ourselves to be the most highly evolved species, with the highest level of consciousness. Over the coming aeons we will evolve biologically and spiritually.

Negativity and pessimism - this is what holds us back in life, what retards our progress. Doubt, anxiety and fear. Levels of negativity can be reduced within human society by increased trust - and by prayer (more on this in a moment). We may have many gripes and issues with modern life - but it has progressed (albeit with some tragic regressions along the way) quite considerably since 1 AD, if only in areas such as healthcare, universal suffrage, the widespread use of labour-saving devices and ready access to information.

Prayer - one fundamental reason why I believe in God - prayer works. The dialogue held in silence between a calm mind and a listening God; primarily focused on grateful appreciation of what it is to be conscious, and breathing, and enjoying good health. And asking for only the basic things - that that state continues, health for one's loved ones and oneself. You cannot pray for a lottery win - it won't happen. But pray to God that your levels of fear and anxiety recede - and they will. God will grant you courage.

Returning to those atoms within us, and those electrons whizzing around those nuclei for eternity - we know more and more about them, and yet very little. Can they hold memory? What keeps those electrons moving? Will? It's worth reading about the atom, and about the history of philosophy. The Truth lies between the worlds of science and religion; we must all strive to seek, to keep investigating, thinking, discussing... moving ever closer to God, though God be half an eternity away.


Lent has ended. I've kept to my vows, I've not touched meat, drank no alcohol or coffee these past 46 days, I've exercised regularly (50 sit-ups twice a day, 22 press-ups twice a day) - yet I've lost no weight nor girth (still 11st 10lb, 39 inches). But this Lent for the first time I placed a proper focus on the spiritual aspects, and feel much better for it. Time to make myself a coffee and a ham sandwich.

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