I believe in what I have come to understand as “The Connection”. Life, the universe, “God”, everything is connected by an infinite number and variety of connections. As you take a broader view of the seeming chaos of these links, beauty begins to emerge.
In my belief the answer to the question “Is there a God?” is not yes or no. The answer is “God is everything”, literally everything. In my belief there is no conflict between science, art, and religion, they are different aspects of the same reality. I believe a non-zero sum/zero sum dichotomy instead of thinking of things as good or evil.
Observation and empathy are key to my belief, understanding something previously unknown to you builds connections. And life seems to thrive on ever increasing connections, complexity, and growth.
I believe that there two “worlds” one has to be observant about, the directly observable world (what I call the world of the body) and the indirectly observable world (the world of the mind). The world of the body is what most of us inhabit most often, while the world of the mind (ideas, emotions, feelings, “spirit”, ie. intangible non-physical things we all share, even non-humans) waxes and wanes at the periphery of life.
In my belief values are defined by cultures both local and distant. Knowledge gained in the growth of society is passed down from generation to generation. Sometimes it is lost and has to be rediscovered time and again. No one is superior, we are all different and in our own way beautiful. Life is a work of art, you are born with a blank canvas, the end result is largely up to you so make the best of it.
So where did this all come from? The Connection didn’t just pop into my head fully formed one morning, it is a result of almost 4 decades of learning, observing, and interacting. It didn’t spring forth solely from by Catholic upbringing, the eastern religions I studied later, the many books and articles on the mind, philosophy, and related topics, nor from the visionary experience I had in 1998 at Burning Man, but from all of them.
Perhaps this all came to me because I was over-compensating for a perceived lack of bonds in my life. I have always felt like the invisible boy in the room, of this world but not part of it. I have at times felt like the silent observer filled full of knowledge and ideas but unable to communicate this wealth to others.
The Connection not only gets me through the most miserable of days, it is an unshakeable belief that I can’t disprove no matter how hard I try. It is a quiet belief that gives my life and the universe meaning. And it feels like a crime to keep it to myself.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.