Wednesday, May 1, 2013
My soul awoke parched and longing this morning. An emptiness calling out to be filled emanated from deep within me. Words rang hollow in Smith's book, further deepening my perceived drought, and all the sources I have cherished for so long seem tasteless and dull to my interior's palate.
I feel naked this morning, stripped of belief, stripped of the hope of ever knowing anything. I feel like an agnostic, or even worse, maybe an atheist, and that leaves an emptiness so vast it is like a bottomless abyss.
Where is this fresh feeling of being alive with wonder? Of thinking anything is possible? And if all that there is , is all that there is, why does the thought of that leave me with such a feeling of despair? Is there some credibility to the transcendental in that my heart rejects the idea of reality as being almost like a mechanical web, of constantly shifting and interrelated parts, (though my mind draws me towards that idea), and instead craves for more depth, more meaning, a nourishment that is lost to me this morning? Or is this longing more some kind of deficiency in my sense of reason? Some weakness on my part of conjuring up artificial constructs in the guise of spirituality, which seem so real sometimes, and yet in a moment of lucidity seem so created: self-induced delusions?
Am I unable to face reality fully? A reality that might entirely be devoid of anything transcendental? I'd make a crappy atheist as I am always seeking for spiritual depth, yet I am hopeless as any kind of believer as I am continually doubting, questioning, and turning away from every ideology that seems, at least for a time, to call me to it. At the end of the day, even if there are transcendental realities, perhaps the fact is that our human minds and hearts haven't a clue as to their scope or form and any attempts at conceiving them are but grasps in the dark, futile reaching for revelations which will always be partial at best.
I find myself in a situation I've never been in before and it almost leaves me in somewhat of a mild panic. I can't find anything satisfying to read! Spiritual texts no longer resonate, more academic texts seem dry and lifeless. I am in a quandary. It is like the needle in my internal compass is broken. I felt I was on a path that was right for me, I was finding inspiration and resonance in the Vedas, but I just haven't had any inclination to read them the last few days. Perhaps I will re-investigate the Tao to Ching, or Buddhism, which seem mostly atheistic but afford some sort of spiritual depth to the practitioner. Perhaps I should bypass spirituality altogether for some time and immerse myself in the wonder of the natural world-of what science has and is discovering. For sure there is an infinite material available for doing that. But can that bring about a sense of fulfillment, of nourishment, that I am craving right now? I'm not sure. If it would at least distract me from this aching and hollow despair that is creeping in, it would prove helpful and no doubt illuminating as I would learn new things. But I still don't think it would fill this emptiness that I feel. I have to ask myself, why not?
Is it because my consciousness perceives my soul and knows there is something more to things, or is it because I am inherently biased, perhaps sentimentally attached, to the idea of there being transcendental realities and truths?
Should I embrace my apparent attachment to spirituality or attempt to understand why I have it and move beyond it? To embrace it right now seems impossible. For when I try to cling to one particular path and grow roots in it, like a tree on the side of a cliff my doubts, in the form of rain and wind, sweep my newly formed foundation away, uprooting me and causing me to fall. I keep trying to attach my roots once again but it proves a cyclical reaction, repeating itself over and over to no avail.
Will I ever feel conviction? Is that possible for someone so infected with skepticism? I seem to recoil inwardly from the side of me that presents itself as a skeptic, yet that side rises up and conquers anytime I feel like any sort of belief is settling in. It's as if I get caught up in skepticism's spiral...I'm not sure if it is leading me upwards or downwards. It's as if that part of my nature seeks to cleanse me from any ambiguities keeping me from seeing clearly...and yet I am seeing nothing at all right now but uncertainty. Thanks a lot skepticism, you have served me well, digging me a pathway to seemingly nowhere at all but a dark bottomless void. Is there hope to be found, meaning, peace, fulfillment, without a sense of conviction? If there is, I haven't found it yet.
The one thing that I can say is that if this is all there is...If this is our one chance at a life and we no longer continue to exist in any autonomous way after our heart ceases to beat and we breathe our last, then for sure it makes this one life that we are living all that more precious and to be revered. That's the only positive thought that I can squeeze out of any sort of atheistic view of things.
There is a series by Dawkins where he explores sex, ,the meaning of life, ,etc. from an atheistic perspective. In it, he gives an account of one man who went from being a believer to entering into an agnostic state, a stage of deep doubt and disbelief. Feeling such despair over what he was discovering he reverted back to religion. It was like the other side, the side of uncertainty, of doubt, of what really might be the truth, was too much for him and he went into a contemplative monastic order to live out his days in religious fervor. I found myself understanding why he would do that. Religion, belief in something, provides a salve for our aching soul that seems to break open and threatens to die without some kind of intervention-some kind of hope, some kind of dogma to bind it and allow it to be whole. But while binding our souls with such a poultice are we perhaps restricting the flow of truth to enter into our consciousness? Could injecting religion to satisfy our hunger and our desperate thirst for answers more be likened to administering a tourniquet on a damaged limb ,cutting off the blood supply, allowing the tissues and that part of the body to eventually become lifeless? Perhaps clinging to religion or a spiritual path could potentially be a way of forever subverting oneself from experiencing and knowing some real truths that, if really taken in and digested, have the power to breathe life into one's spirit, so to speak, to allow one to see life in a new and enlivened way.
I know I just wrote a lot about feeling despair and I do feel a sense of that today as I contemplate the direction I am heading spiritually. I don't want to sound too negative though for running concurrently alongside such despair is an underlying sense of hope. I know that any truth worth comprehending requires critical thinking and discernment and that sometimes we have to cross the desert to come to the oasis.
Thoughts? I'd love to hear them. Please leave them in the comments section! Thank you!