The Ultimate Journey

THE ULTIMATE JOURNEY

         This blog might just as easily be titled, “What I Learned After Four Years of Focusing on My Faith.”

         Before I get started, please read all the way through, as I have three announcements I am excited to share with you!

         The world has become an interesting place, four and a half years after the pandemic of 2020.  Currently, two wars rage across the world; two very different versions of the “David and Goliath” narrative.  In one theater, Russia has thrown hundreds of thousands of soldiers into the terrible cauldron of its conflict with Ukraine while, on the other Israel has heavy-handedly responded to the surprise attack by Hamas that took place last October.

         Here in the United States, we are in an election year.  One candidate, representing the progressive, creative ideology, struggles with senility.  He is a long-time product of the Washington D.C. political machine.  The other candidate, representing the preservation of traditional ideas and long-standing structures, battles in court as a now-convicted felon.  He is a product of the New York City world of business and the considerable success of his television fame.  One speaks with the polish of a seasoned politician, with all the circumspection and vagueness we have come to expect from our governmental talking heads; the other speaks with the coarseness of a schoolyard bully, a strong-willed chest thumper willing to stand against the other perceived bullies of the world.  As the differences between political parties has become more extreme, so has the rhetoric.  Politics in the United States has become the ultimate “Cain and Abel” story, with neither side wanting to be Abel.

         What is true in the United States is equally true more broadly; globally, far-right nationalism is gaining strength to challenge far-left progressivism.  And then there is AI.

Artificial Intelligence has rapidly become a daily part of our lives.  Just yesterday, I watched a video where, using the camera on their smartphone, a user was having a voice conversation with AI, where the AI was responding to how the person looked.  All that to say, it’s an amazing time to be alive, isn’t it?

         Four years ago, the world was in a much different place.  The pandemic was transitioning from surreal novelty to something more daunting.  For me personally…I was dealing with an existential crisis.

         My life had hardly turned out the way I’d imagined – married and divorced twice, and eight months removed from my last relationship – I was in the process of moving in with friends while dealing with an all-encompassing assault on what I believed about God, faith, and unconditional love.  I had little to my name, save for my clothes, a handful of Halloween and Christmas decorations and a bedroom set.  As the saying goes, it’s always darkest before the dawn.

         I hadn’t really taken the time to process the emotional fallout from my marriages or my last relationship and didn’t realize the world was going to shut down, which gave me ample time to unpack with the emotions I’d carried with me for decades.  At the same time, there was real reason for hope.

         I’d started taking accountability for my life in 2017, when I published my first book, Whiskey and Yoga.  Publishing the book was the realization of a lifelong dream.  The book’s success, it was a #1 international on Amazon, awakened me to the reality of just what taking accountability for my life meant.  I started scrutinizing long-standing beliefs I’d held, and realized my reluctance to question those beliefs, to unconsciously go through life without evaluating the core principles by which I navigated my life was, in fact, the source of my problems.

         This accountability drove me to seek out the truth inside of me.

         The essence of truth, I believe, is that there is a universal truth, one that we are all a part of.  Our ability to discern that truth in the world around us reflects the extent to which we have excavated that truth inside of us.  This was, perhaps, the greatest discovery I made about myself while getting clear on the precepts of what constituted my faith – what is the greatest truth about one of us is, by necessity, the greatest truth that exists in each of us.  We are after all one species, even with all our ethnic, socio-economic, and cultural differences.  This illumination is also what made me appreciate why belief in God has eroded to the degree it has in modern society.

         Organized religion is hamstrung by the fact that the source material never changes.  Instead, through deeper analysis of the corpus of a particular faith, the faithful hope to extract new insights, to discern a previously unrealized lesson, in the hopes that doing so will lead to a sense of enlightenment and advance the game if you will.  Organized religion is an attempt to understand and explain the idea of infinite intelligence.  It is an effort to create structure for the most magnificent of imaginations.

         This speaks to the elements of truth we find in traditional polytheistic religions, and the ancient mythologies that imparted wisdom at a time before we corralled the chaos of nature with our sciences.

         What I have come to realize is, it is the entrenched belief, born from dogma, that is in effect the weakest position.  The consequence of dogma is an unforgiving black-and-white, right-or-wrong approach to life which inhibits growth, learning, and maturation.  This refusal or inability to regard someone else’s belief system as plausible, even if such a system is flawed with limitation, is not a sign of faith…it is the abandonment of faith.  The reason for this should be obvious; dogma is someone’s interpretation of the divine order; it is someone’s perception of what the truth is, and should be, for everyone.

         The challenge with such thinking should be equally evident; while we all share a view on a single, guiding universal truth our perspective of that truth is, by necessity, uniquely ours.  With that being the case, we must apprehend our view of the truth to fully manifest its existence within us.

         We act as though history has a destination, particularly in the west.  To my knowledge, this belief does not exist in Hinduism.  The stories of Shiva, Shakti, Ganesh and the other Hindu gods do not appear to be recorded in known history, and while there is a reference to the eternal cycle of death and rebirth, the colorful nature of their stories speak to a kind of universal idea that precedes the world of experimentation and rigor brought about by the likes of Descartes and Newton.

Through our recorded history on this planet, we have undergone four major transitions.  From hunter-gatherers, we transitioned to farmers.  The Agricultural Age gave way to the Industrial, which was followed, in relatively short order, by the Information Age.  Each of the subsequent ages was shorter than the age that preceded it.  For example, the Agricultural Age was roughly 12000 years, while the Industrial Age lasted approximately 140 years.  Could the Information Age already be at an end and, if so, what comes next?

If any religion carries the weight of historic destination, it is Christianity.  More so than any other religion, that faith that has arisen around the story of Jesus is bound by its marriage to known history, its indelible imprint on western civilization, and to prophecies about his return.

To be sure, monotheism, including both Judaism and Islam, is the most challenging concept of God to reconcile.  It is both the intimacy and the exactness of the story of Jesus, anchored at a specific time in our history and around which all three monotheistic religions orbit, that makes comprehension of the story so staggering.

I have spent much of the past four years seeking to understand what it would take for me to believe that story was real and existed in my life, with all the consequences and benefits doing so would entail.

 

 

 

With that, I’m thrilled to share that my next book, Bringing God to Life: Creating Heaven on Earth is coming out at the end of September.  This book takes an unconventional approach to waking up the power that’s inside you, and provides you a roadmap of how to do that!

         Also, this week I am running a special, where the e-book version of Love Letters to the Virgin Mary: The Resurrection of King David is free on Amazon.  Go over and check it out here:  https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:share:7203693094054047744/?actorCompanyId=9484600

         Finally, I’m working on another book, and have elected to take a gamble with it.  Instead of writing it through to completion, I’m going to share it here with you.  Each post will be approximately 1500 words in length, so a quick read, and I will send out 2-3 posts per week.  I’ve written 57 pages so far, and am sure that, by committing to sharing it with you, I will adhere to a rigorous schedule to get the book completed.  The name of the book is Becoming One with Christ: The Lessons of King David.

         Look for the first post next week!