An unlikely messiah - Part 1

Messiah: One who leads others to freedom or frees others

photoSpirituality has never been a complicated concept for me.  When I was younger, I explored religions a little bit, reading bits and bobs about various beliefs, but spending most of my time doing what most people do when they're developing their own sense of identity — finding something that resonates with them, and then speaking obnoxiously about it to whoever is around.

Maybe no one else does that when they're young, but I can own that I certainly did.  My belief lay in skepticism and scientific empiricism.  I loved science and the scientific method (and continue to), because it accepted that there are questions we cannot answer, and seeks to provide working models and frameworks for everything else.

I would actively seek debates with friends that were religious, and argue with them about why their belief was wrong.  I would preach about how their religion was based on faith alone, and therefore could not really explain something.  I judged people that were ignorant or staunch in their beliefs for their righteousness and intolerance.  (How righteous and intolerant of me).

With science, you create certainty and understanding around everything for which it is possible to do so.  I love certainty and understanding.  If you give me a framework, I will figure out how to optimally navigate through it.  If you give me a problem, I will figure out how to solve it most efficiently.  If you give me the top of a box for a board game, I will figure out the optimal strategy to play with.  (I'll probably obnoxiously point out why your strategy is inefficient too).

It's no surprise that I was drawn to the same thing in terms of my spirituality.  Fortunately, over time, I mellowed in my outlook, and allowed a tiny window to exist for the questions that could not be answered with certainty, and let all questions of spirit and the universe reside there.

For years, spirituality sat, neglected and dormant, in this window.  My definition of spirituality was, to my mind, beautiful.  My belief is that the world, humanity, and life in general, is ultimately what happens when you throw up a billion scrabble pieces in the air.  They land as they may, and throughout, there is great chaos.  However, there are also pockets of order that assemble out of that chaos.

While many people may find this view disconcerting, I find it beautiful.  Yes, we are a cosmic accident, but more importantly, and perhaps in alignment with every other spiritual belief, we have been given a tremendous gift.  Our time on this mortal coil is precious and short.  Out of chaos and nothingness, life has arisen, and what's more, it's become self-aware.  That is absolutely breathtaking. We are the mechanism by which the universe has itself become self-aware.

[Tweet "We are the mechanism by which the universe has itself become self-aware."]

When I allow myself to explore in that realm, I'm left gobsmacked in awe.

What was missing was that I never grounded that awe.  It was something that forever existed inside the little window my skeptical mind would allow, and was fire-walled from the rest of my life.

I was able to spend time in awe of the beauty of our own existence and the world we live in, but it never had any relevance to the rest of my life.

So you can imagine I was confronted when I spent a weekend of intensive focus looking at spirituality.  My reaction to being confronted didn't show up the way it normally does.  Normally I attack, or divert attention away from me.  This time, I just felt empty.  There wasn't anything there.  If anything, I was bored.

"Yah yah yah, I get it, spirituality, etc.  Let's move on to something bigger".

(Can you see why that last statement is hilarious?)

I left feeling disempowered, because I hadn't taken anything away.  I set spirituality aside for a while, and refocused myself on the here and now.

"If it's made of atoms, it isn't real"

-- Messiah's Handbook

It wasn't until over a year later when I was confronted again by spirituality.  I was sharing some fears with a coach, friend and colleague, Denise Yamada, describing how I often had a fear that there was never enough money, even though I mentally knew there was, and that it always felt like failure was just around the corner.

Denise gently shared that it sounded to her like the problem had nothing to do with money.  It was one of spirituality.  I had no ability to trust the universe.  No ability to let go and trust that the current would take me somewhere.  There was possibility and freedom as long as a working model or framework could be built around it, but anything outside of that was confined to the window.

Ironically, while the window containing spirit had once been a small one inside the vast world of scientific inevitability, my world had grown.  The world of certainty and predictability had become small, with the world of spirit, faith and belief, now occupying a much greater space.  It was now within that small window of certainty that I had become trapped.

It was time to take a step...


What's your relationship to spirituality?  Do you relate to my own, or were you confronted by it?

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