I have a bit of a problem, which is that most often when asked about my religious/spiritual/life perspectives I say, "I don't really have beliefs, I just kind of have things that I like the idea of, so I go with them."
This is mostly true.
I am constantly awed by the universe, and interested in the great many possibilities of life. I have no idea which of them are true, even out of the ones that seem like facts. I don't believe in an afterlife, per se, or in tarot cards, or in simulation theory, or in astrology - but I kind of like the idea of all of these things, so I count them as possibilities, and act accordingly.
But I'm not sure I can claim that something is not a belief if I follow it. À la: I am planning a trip with my dad. We'll be going to Japan in October. And tonight I said to him, "I don't want to book our tickets until Mercury goes direct." Yes, I - out loud - used astrology as a guiding factor in my life and my decisions. I said it as if I were hiding my face behind my hands, which I might have been, had we been talking in person rather than over the phone. It seems to be that my fondness for astrology has become a belief. I'm still uncomfortable with that word - after all, I can't know. I have no idea. And whatever I believe, or think, or imagine is possible, some day it will be proven right or wrong, whether or not I am conscious/still exist to know it. And so I don't necessarily believe in beliefs - vaporous as they are, they seem sort of pointless.
But, maybe they're good for us.
I recently read a couple of books about near death experiences, because it's a phenomenon I find fascinating and, you know, possible. The thing that I was left with, though, is that if there is a space we inhabit after death, a space where all we feel is connection, where all we feel is love, why on earth (in sky, in nonspace?) would we spend time on earth, in the opposite of that? I don't get life. I like life fine; I think it's endlessly fascinating and amazing and painful and weird, but I don't get it.
And so I decided to just pick a reason. Rather than beating my firsts against the sky, asking repeatedly "why?" I decided to decide.
I picked love.
I was reading (still am, actually) Emotional Freedom, by Judith Orloff, and I came across the following passage:
My teacher says to look at life as your main career and as a divine classroom. Your spirit is in human form to learn what the body and emotions can teach about love, including how to overcome a slew of obstacles. The way you approach everything - your job, family, friends, health - must be in service to that aim. (44)This made about as much sense as anything else, and, moreover, it felt nice. So I decided to just believe it. I don't know - I can't know - why we're here (or even if we're here, it sometimes feels like), so I might as well pick something. It's nice to have, this belief. It's something to return to, and it has become a kind of mantra. Whenever I am anxious about anything, whenever anything feels like it's going wrong: "I am here to learn about love." I have no idea whether or not it's true, but I'm going to believe it.
And now, because I also apparently believe in astrology, I am going to go back to researching my trip to Japan, without signing any paperwork until March 18, while figuring out what all of this can teach me about love.