A muse on the existence of god.
People are always telling you to try and put yourself in someone else's shoes. Try to think about what they are thinking. What they are feeling. This can give you an invaluable insight into who and what they are. I have been trying to do this, for what seems like, almost forever. It is truly a window into someone else's soul. But this is a difficult challenge indeed. To disassociate yourself from your experience, and your beliefs, and your own personality. From your own preferences and your own value system. Think, for a moment, what those other people are feeling. And more importantly, why. Understand what their needs are, and what their motivations are. What makes them tick. If you can do this, you may just catch a glimpse of what they see, and feel what they feel. And this goes a long way to understanding others and opens an additional window into self and discovery.
This is the true goal of empathy. Many people use the word empathy without understanding. As they do much too often. So many people. So many words. So little understanding. I try to talk about things that can change your life. This is something that has changed mine. There are so many things that are truly frustrating in this life. The fact that people do not understand the meanings of words they use is probably the most frustrating of all. The whole concept of communication is relaying a message that is consistent and valid and ultimately understood clearly. You cannot exchange ideas with someone else in another language unless one, or both, can speak both languages. And even then you have to rely on the other person to interpret the language itself, with all of its nuances and inflections and context.
Empathy is NOT sympathy. Empathy is NOT compassion. These things may derive from the empathy you can discover, but they are not requisite. I can experience empathy in relation to someone's situation or position, and yet not feel sympathy or compassion for their plight. You need to be objective and unbiased to receive the most from your excursion into empathy. You gather information to make a judgment as to what they may or may not be thinking and feeling. I may not feel sympathy for them because they put themselves into a bad situation and now they are trying to deal with it, although I may feel sympathy if I find that they are not responsible for that situation. If I do not feel sympathy or compassion, possibly for the same reason that they ARE responsible for their predicament, it still does not preclude me from actually having a valid empathetic understanding of the facts of the problem. Empathy and sympathy, while they might normally go hand in hand, are not imperatives to one another.
So what does any of this have to do with the Big Guy, the eternal Kahuna? Throughout my entire life, I have never come face to face with a single person, not one, whoever asked me, or joined me in, the attempt to question if we could ever hope to feel empathy for the entity many of us refer to as God. I find myself in a weird minority of one, once again, because I have thought about it many times, hundreds of times if not thousands of times while following the path of discovery I have chosen. Why in the world would anyone want to think about any problems that he might have? Why would you care? He ( or she ) is eternal. All-knowing. All-seeing. He can have no wants, because everything is his, as his whim dictates. Well, I don't see it that way at all. After all, unless all the innumerable other gods that mankind has contrived over the millennia are there to keep him company, then what does he do with his spare time, or does he not have any? I mean, he worked hard for 6 days and rested the seventh. He has been on retirement ever since then. More on that at a later time. And a lot of those gods were not really nice people. Maybe he does not even like them. So what else has he got? Not a lot of conversation with a Holy Bird ( we are talking Christian God here ), and as for his son, he's a little preachy and conversations could get heated. No, I think of a different reality. And all jokes aside, I seriously and passionately think that God could be lonely. And that makes me sad. Why? Because I have attempted to have empathy for the poor guy when it looks like no one else cares.
While most of us might think that we would welcome being a god, a little contemplative thought might make you reconsider. The concept of immortality has been portrayed many times in our literature, especially in science-fiction, one of my absolute favorite genres. And movies have used the idea as well, with many takes on the eternal warrior, who keeps getting killed and coming back to life because of that immortality. There has to be a ho-hum aspect to getting killed hundreds of times, even though you know it is not permanent. Would you not want it to be, at some point? Or does it continue to be exciting .... forever? From my point of view, immortality has to get pretty boring after a couple of millennia. By then, you have experienced every perception, and read every book ever written in every language ever written because you have had time to learn them all. What next? I guess you take a week and create a universe in 6 days and then take some time off. And just a side note here, without explanation. I do NOT think that evolution and creationism are mutually exclusive. But again, another day, another hell of a long discussion. And that is one reason why I think that he may be lonely. And why he started each of us on our own journey of discovery. He wants company. He wants to have a conversation, and he would like to have that conversation with us. He is waiting. He has given us everything we need. He has time. He has waited an eternity already and is prepared to wait another. My sadness is increased because I see that we are not evolving at quite the speed he was hoping. Or maybe we are. The expectation of a god is tough to figure out.
There are many things that I realize I do not know, and may very well never know. Soul and eternal life are part of that non-knowledge. I look at life as that journey, that path that takes us from here to there. Our current lives seem short and insignificant, and that may be all that there is. But it seems to be such a waste if that is so. I choose to believe different. I am not an individual that has a strong faith in those things that cannot be explained. God and religion are some of those things. I choose to believe in a force that directs time and matter. Of which we are a part. I would like to believe that a soul is a real thing. That mankind is part of a communal consciousness. That there is meaning in life and that we will be given the opportunity to pursue enlightenment and a place at the table for that discussion with God, as an equal, and deservedly so. I am not there yet. But the pilgrimage is enjoyable at times. These beliefs bring me a semblance of peace and contentment during the arduous sojourn. I will continue to direct my life in a positive direction, my behavior one of integrity and honesty, always searching for the elusive truth that will make things clear and enhance whatever time I have left to me, whether days or millennia. Do not live life for the rewards, or punishments, that lies on the other side of the light at the end of the tunnel. Live life the way you know it should be lived, and simply because you know it is right and you really should not live life any other way. Peace and contentment, and, dare I say, happiness, will never be realized by doing those things that we know, for a certainty, are wrong and destructive. Doing the good, and the right, may not bring us happiness as well, but it will always nudge us in the right direction.
Our paths are taken one step at a time. One forward, and then another, and then maybe one backward. Hopefully not two back and one forward. As long as we are making progress, no matter how small, we are one step closer to that conversation with him. It may take an eternity but if you take a second to contemplate that progress, you will understand that the end result will be inevitable, and that brings me happiness, at least until I take the next step, forward or back. Look forward to the day when you reach the end of your adventure, and he is there to meet you, with a smile on his face and a tear in his eye.
" So good to see you! I have been waiting. I need no longer be lonely ".