Sunday, September 7, 2014
A pure force for the good
For me, it always raises the question which is most essential to the day itself: what is this thing called Being?
I have, as is common in one's late 50's, a range of minor but persistent maladies to remind me of my mortality. This morning I was feeding the dog as I contemplated that reminder, which is gentle but emphatic.
Consequent to this moment, it occurred to me that I have little fear of death these days; and I asked myself why, since the idea used to terrify me so much when I was younger.
I reminded myself of the moment, a few brief minutes before he died, when my father silently rallied from his hours-long, nearly motionless struggle to simply maintain his breathing, raised his head a few inches off the pillow, and opened his eyes—which had been closed for a full day or more— in an unmistakable expression of sheer astonishment, as he looked across the chasm between life and death into the light of heaven.
I have seen across that void more than once; and I know what he was seeing. I'm sure that for him it was the first time he had ever seen the truth; and he consistently denied the afterlife, so it's no wonder it affected him so profoundly when he first encountered it.
The moment was, for me, a reminder of the difference between belief and faith. Belief emerges from supposition and the ego; and the hypotheses of belief can cause one to believe in anything whatsoever, up to and including (paradoxically) nothing. Given the deteriorated nature of mankind's psych, belief is for the most part utterly delusional; no wonder it has acquired such a bad reputation.
Faith, on the other hand, is a pure force for the good; and it is the capacity for understanding and knowing —chief among the vital and most essential capacities that have degenerated in humanity—that brings one to faith. Faith, once acquired, is unshakeable.
In the midst of my faith, then, in the kitchen this morning, I was thinking and understanding from a place within myself that does not believe.
And I asked myself how it is even possible for human beings to not believe in God.