I have just received a book a friend wrote about Advent, which the Christian Church heralds as the weeks leading up to Christ’s birth, It made me reflect on a number of things not least my own faith, muddled life and my doubts.
I once had a powerful belief in God. Perhaps not strictly in the Christian sense of the teachings in both the Old and New Testaments but nonetheless a profound feeling of a powerful deity to whom I would pray, usually to ask for something and occasionally to say thank you. But then I began to doubt, not just because of the science, people like Richard Dawkins giving a quite different perspective on the subject of God; no I began to doubt because I could not longer ‘feel’ the presence of a spiritual, powerful being.
But since receiving this little book and reading one or two chapters I started to think about, and more importantly to begin to ‘feel’ that which I had lost. I thought how incomprehensible it is to believe in, to try to explain, to reason that there is a God. Then I thought too how equally incomprehensible it is to truly understand the marvels of this planet we inhabit, the life forms that have existed and continue to evolve, our ability to take control of our environment and manipulate it to suit what we want it to give us.
I thought too how incomprehensible it is that we feel the emotions we do, the love, the hate, the anger, the compassion…. But then I thought too how incomprehensible it is that our world, this tiny speck in a vast universe, is what it is to us. And then came the even greater and overwhelming thought of the incomprehensibility of the fact of the Universe itself, and the science that is constantly finding out more and more of its glories but not entirely understanding what it is that has been discovered.
Suddenly I felt better; I realized I had been too busy trying to rationalize God – and on one level it didn’t even really matter if there actually was a God at all and of course, using the scientific argument it is totally irrational to believe that there is a God. Primitive people believed in one, perhaps created one (or in some cases many Gods) to explain the inexplicable but no I began to understand what was important for me, was to stop the thought process and to return to the person I had been – one who simply felt. To sit quietly and to say a simple prayer, or even send loving thoughts to a friend or to a loved one and to continue in that solitary ‘thinking state’ but not to actually use logic or reasoning, simply to let my mind wander. During those moments of thoughts about nothing very much, just in the early morning quiet of my kitchen I felt a warmth which seemed to enter my soul, a lightness in my heart, a tiny whisper of comfort.
Was it God? Was it just the effects of a good night’s sleep and not having to respond yet to the day’s demands? It really doesn’t matter; it was a perfect moment which came about through reading something in a book. That reading had triggered off process and a stillness in my being.
I think it was God, just letting me know I wasn’t alone, and if my doubts return that too won’t matter because it did happen, it was real, the experience of a very precious moment, at the start of my day, and all because of reading some words in a book.