We are living in hideously awful, godless and godforsaken, times, yet, as a human being, I have a deep need of something more than mere survival. Every creature on earth is engaged with survival, there’s no mystery involved in having to eat drink, sleep, shit and look after ourselves and if we aspire to no more than that then we are impoverished creatures at best, or at least, we are no more than any other creature which does not have our abilities of creativity, self awareness and self determination.

One of the most poignant mysteries of nature is that it is always true to itself, it contains no deceit or lies as we do as human beings. The laws of nature are absolute, from the smallest atomic structure to the greatest cosmological forms of stars and galaxies. Human kind are unique in our capability of thought and self determination and yet all else about us is bound by nature and it is a supreme arrogance to think otherwise, such that denying ourselves as natural born creatures diminishes us as people.

There is nothing evil in nature, if you think about it, evil is always a perversion of good and is peculiar to us humans. A gun can kill and yet a gun is made of entirely good stuff, it is only in its purpose, defined by human beings, that makes a gun evil. No one can point to single thing in the entire universe that is evil, evil is entirely our problem.

Allow me to tell a story, which is itself one of our peculiarities as humans, having the creative ability to use our imaginations.

Many years ago the child of a friend was having trouble with recurring nightmares. I was inspired to write a story about a ‘Dream Catcher Dragon’, which interacted with a real life object, a dream catcher, delivered to the child wrapped in as imaginative a way as took our fancy. It appealed to the same innocence with which a child embraces Father Christmas or the Tooth Fairy and, after many occasions of sharing the story, I can report that it was entirely successful in every case.

Why do magic and mystical events appeal to children and why do we ever become sensible and lose that gift, though many of us don’t, even though we must lose our innocence in the process of growing up?

If we are merely meat and bones, and life has no meaning, why do we need meaning and respond to love and kindness? Why do our hearts break for want of love, given and receieved? Why does my heart soar at the sight of a glorious sunset and why am I made whole by the awareness and presence of nature and yet shriven and made less surrounded by concrete and the souless trappings and necessities of ‘civilisation’?

What is it with waterfalls and turbulent water that is so refreshing to my inner being?

And why do I need beauty in my life and can be captivated and transformed by a flower or tree, a picture or piece of music?

The reality is that I am bigger on the inside than I am on the outside, I am, above all else, a being of mystique and spirituality, which is not bad for a mere bag of bones and flesh.

I have no problem with the being of a God, an entirely spiritual, ineffable and incomprehensible being.

Every culture has some kind of spirituality in it, some, like Eastern religions, are an exploration and experience of the divine, others, particularly in the West, are brutal and oppressive. Much is done in the name of God that no God worth its name would countenance for a moment. War mongers claim that God is on their side and destroy the most precious thing on Earth, life.

Is it not far more the case that humans corrupt the idea of God by creating ‘Him’ (and scriptures and teachings) in their own image?

My mother used to say, ‘You are nearer God’s heart in the garden than anywhere else on Earth’. She wasn’t wrong, because whether you believe in God or not, being absorbed in the natural world, the very heart of creation, however it came to be, is a blessing to our minds, heart and being.

Whatever you believe, we are meant to be here (because we are here), on this good and sustaining earth. We are less made for heaven than Earth. Life fits us beautifully, yet like all things in nature, it passes, we only get it for such a brief time. Life is nothing if not bitter sweet and naturally includes heartbreak, suffering, pain and death. The measure of our humanity is not in avoiding or denying suffering and pain, but learning to accept it and deal with it.

M Scott Peck said in ‘The Road Less Travelled’, “Life is difficult. This is a great truth, one of the greatest truths. It is a great truth because once we truly see this truth, we transcend it. Once we truly know that life is difficult – once we truly understand and accept it – then life is no longer difficult. Because once it is accepted, the fact that life is difficult no longer matters.”

I have no desire to debate God any more than I want to debate nature, mystery ignites my being just as a sunset does and I am fine with that and content to let it be. The mixture of the sacred and profane, heaven and earth, is best expressed by one of my favourite Irish blessings: “May the road rise up to meet you. May the wind be always at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face; the rains fall soft upon your fields and until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of His hand.”

Whatever God may be, of this I am certain, like nature, God is more interested in giving than receiving and my response can only be gratitude because I have the most unimaginable and incomprehensible gift of being alive to appreciate it.

Go well.

Keith Ordinary Guy

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