We are not human beings on a spiritual journey. We are spiritual beings on a human journey.
– Stephen R. Covey
The majority of humans believe in a connection to a greater power, be it truly divine or just universal. Some may believe but simply go through motions drilled in since birth, never questioning or validating the experience. Some, like myself, that confirm the existence of something else – even if we don’t understand what that is.
The scientist in me stares up at the stars, knowing there are countless billions of them potentially with civilizations vastly older and more developed than ours. And then contemplates only recent advances in in fields like quantum mechanics where entanglement creates instantaneous connections over vast distances and wonders if we’re starting to see the connection between the physical world and the soul. Or parallel and curved universes, or even how the evolution of the “Internet of things” has already made billions of devices instantly accessible and controllable – and how long will it be before every molecule in our world can be similarly controlled. So, returning back to potential civilizations far older than ours… hmmm.
The curious learner in me has spent years reading and analyzing numerous books on the history of religions, and is amazed at the remarkable similarities between them. As one religious scholar friend once told me, it’s as if different groups of people were watching the same event from different parts of a stadium, some from behind obstructions, some with their own perspectives, then recorded the experience in ways that were distorted over time.
Episcopalian bishop and theologian John Shelby Spong has written about the impact of perspectives on religious literalism. As just one example, consider how many ways different ancient peoples described the simple rise of the sun each morning – be it a star or the god Ra. Other theologians, such as Catholic priest Thomas Merton, have found how seemingly disparate religions, such as Buddhism and Christianity, can be very complementary.
Like many people, I have felt an unequivocal, undeniable force at many times in my life. Whether it was while dealing with exceptional stress, loss, or difficult decisions, it was there. It’s no longer faith, it’s real. I feel it while walking in nature, or even at this very moment, while looking out over the Caribbean from our vacation house on Nevis.
Each person’s experience is unique. But take time, perhaps while surrounded by the beauty of nature, to contemplate your spiritual existence. Being able to draw strength from that will bring peace. Peace will help calm your mind, enabling you to understand who you are.