Unfortunately, my answer usually differs among questioners. I’m not out to offend, but I also understand that by even posting my views on this subject, I will undoubtably create mixed feelings from people I know that do “believe” in God. Therefore, I ask only one thing before you read on, read with an open mind. I’m not declaring that one thing is right and the other is wrong. I cannot express the truth because I have no proof and, who I am to say what exists? What I can do though, is tell you how my curiosity with spirituality has never been so intrigued. I may be wrong… but I get the feeling, it has something to do with visiting a number of countries and cultures that all have different religions and philosophies about life.
Inspired by my insanely talented, insightful, down-to-earth, hairdresser Michelle from back home. Who might I add, has one of the sickest arm sleeves I’ve ever seen and a serious fashion sense to go with it. Because of her, and our eerie similar views on life, I took her suggestions and started reading some of Osho’s books. I couldn’t find the exact book I was looking for at The Lost Book Store here in Chiang Mai but what I did find is enough to keep me interested in this great storyteller and provocative spiritual teacher. I picked up “The Man Who Loved Seagulls” by Osho for a couple hundred baht. The objective of the compilation of stories from various world figures is aimed at injecting some essential life lessons into the heart and into the mind–focusing on experience rather than what you’ve been taught by someone else. There is a quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson that I reference a lot in my writing and in my life. “The good news is that the moment you decide that what you know is more important than what you have been taught to believe, you will have shifted gears in your quest for abundance. Success comes from within, not from without.” I apply this statement to practically everything, even my philosophy on health. Emerson’s words can be applied to the philosophy behind my writing. Back in September of 2009, I posted a short bit on my previous blog titled, “Dear the closed mind.” It ended with this, You have a problem with what I write; maybe that’s the point. To try and get you to think beyond what you’ve been taught, to think beyond yourself. This post might as well be about my philosophy on writing rather than the differences between trust and belief with God and, with yourself. Enough about me.
Osho says, life is about balance. Balance between opposites, “man and woman, yin and yang, day and night, birth and death, love and hate.” If one does not have the other–life cannot exist without both. Life is really only possible because of both. “Love survives fight but it cannot exist without it…If death does not exist life will simply disappear. It cannot exist without death; death gives it the background, death gives it color and richness, death gives it passion and intensity.” Death is a part of life. Accepting that makes it easier to achieve balance between the two. However, it is important to note, one will never achieve balance forever, “one has to achieve it again and again and again.”
Onto the tricky part, if the Bible says that God made man in his own image, why does it seem to me that it is the opposite. As I travel, it appears that man made God in his own image. Every country has its own image and concept of God. Osho helps answer my question with this, “Every country has its own concept because every country has its own need. In fact, every single person has a different concept of God because his own needs are there and they have to be fulfilled.” I have many friends, who as children said they believed in God. But, as we aged, several would soon admit they just couldn’t believe, it simply didn’t make sense to them, it was almost irrelevant. When I ask followers of God questions about their religion, I usually get a response that represents their belief in God as a fear–a religion that comes out of fear. I’ve said this to my mother for years, If God exists, God is a loving God and God might as well be reality, we might as well call God ‘the real’.
Now, there are two ways of functioning, of functioning in life. You can do something because you’ve done it before, you already know how to do it, you need not even be present, you can simply do it in a mechanical way. But, if you’ve never done something before, and you’re going to do it for the first time, “you have to be tremendously alert because now you don’t have any past experience. So you cannot rely on the memory, you have to rely on awareness.” Let me share a beautiful story from this book:
There were two friends of the king, and both were proved guilty of a crime. Since he loved them the king wanted to show them mercy, but he could not acquit them because even a king’s word cannot prevail over the law. So he gave this verdict: A rope was to be stretched over a deep chasm, and, one after another, the two were to walk across it. Whoever reached to the other side was to be granted his life. It was done as the king ordered, and the first of the friends got safely across. The other, still standing on the same spot, cried to him. “Tell me, friend, how did you manage to cross?” The first called back, “I don’t know anything but this: Whenever I felt myself toppling over to one side, I leaned to the other.”
Waiting around to follow others’ knowledge is similar to waiting in vain. Everyone wants to know, what’s the secret to life? How do you serve God? What’s the best method? Is there a technique to be learned? Remember what the first man conveyed, I cannot formulate it as knowledge. I can only indicate. So, how do you serve God? I believe that you serve God in the middle. “Don’t indulge too much and don’t renounce too much. Don’t be only in the world and don’t escape out of it.” There is a difference between belief and trust. There is something to be said for balance. The story of Walking the Tightrope, will show you.
photo by Michael A. Nyffeler, Balinese Kecak and Fire Dance ritual at Uluwatu Temple in Bali, Indonesia