What Do You Believe?

I was six and should have known better than to trust the stranger at the edge of the woods offering to show me a bunny and her babies. I remember being on my back, staring at the sky and praying; “Please, God. Don’t let this happen.” Then, my prayer was answered as I heard my father’s voice calling my name. The stranger who had pulled down my pants in search of an imaginary beetle let me go.

I don’t pray much these days. Somewhere along the journey of my life I’d forgotten the power of that moment. I left organized religion behind, joined the new age movement and delved deeply into metaphysics. Fascinated with the fundamental nature of existence and being, my focus on personal and spiritual development consumed me.

Self-actualization and spiritual awareness became a life-long pursuit. Who am I? Why am I here? What is reality? Just how powerful are our beliefs? How can I be the best version of me?

I’ve spent time searching and thinking, “Maybe this book will have the answer. Maybe this teaching will help me. Maybe this path will finally get me there.” Then … “Oh! Wait! I just need to be here. Now. Yes, yes, this is the answer. Breathe in, breathe out. Stay present. Meditate. It’s the journey, not the destination.”

Yeah. Right.

Wrong.

Oh! Wait! Wait!

There is no right or wrong. Meaning is what we give to things. Right? Wrong? WTF!

I’ve lived a lifetime of seeking; finding; losing; finding again; constantly judging myself all along the way.

There are so many “truths,” and so much power in those we choose to believe. There are also so many directions and teachings that one can be forever lost in pursuit of answers for something more. Or equally lost in the ideals of simply accepting what is.

I haven’t prayed much because I felt guilty that when I was so inclined to do so, it felt as if I was just asking for some favor from God, the Universe, Higher Power (or whatever you want to call this vastness that is and yet is not us). Or maybe it’s because there have been so many times where it felt as if my prayers weren’t answered.

Of course, some part of me knows that is ridiculous because I have this other core belief that everything is divinely orchestrated. So, while I may not get the answer I think I want, I’m always getting exactly what I need for my highest good and growth.

Belief systems are interesting. If there is one thing I have learned, it is their power. Sometimes we can be so convinced in what we believe, we aren’t able to see anything else. And most belief systems aren’t necessarily fact … or fiction. After all, there was a time the world was believed to be flat. (And, of course, there is a small band of conspiracy theory folks who still believe this to be the case!)

Looking back at my childhood experience, that little girl believed in the power of prayer. And she believed her prayer was answered. Ironically, for years I used to say I was almost sexually molested when I was 6. It wasn’t until much later in life when I realized I was sexually molested. My silent prayer of “please, don’t let this happen to me” was answered, and yet that experience did happen. I was saved but I was molested.

This is a perfect example of where we can choose to focus our attention and belief. My belief that my prayer was answered could be challenged, however I choose to believe it was. For years I defined sexually molested as being “raped,” and it took me awhile to realize that it includes being “abused”. Still, I believe the power of my prayer saved me from what could have been an even more horrific experience.

Perhaps it is time for me to return to prayer and remember it has two parts. According to at least one definition, prayer is “a solemn request for help or expression of thanks …” And if I am truthful, I could use some help these days as I struggle to maintain my discourse of “being love” as I watch Americans continue to struggle with this new divide. And, I can give thanks that there are those whom are listening and also trying to find a way to move forward without hatred.

My belief system that everything happens for the highest good was one of those core foundations that felt shaken when the 2016 election was over and done. Because it’s been extremely difficult for me to see what good is going to come out of some of the changes many of us predict may be coming. And it’s been even more difficult not to make assumptions about what may happen with our country and policies, and yet not simply put my head in the sand and hope they won’t.

But I believe belief systems are important, and one of the things I’ve often said is whether or not it’s true that everything happens for the highest good of all doesn’t really matter. It’s a belief that sustains me. It helps bring me more peace to think there is a greater tapestry than I can see. It helps me to not get caught up in the tangle when one string is pulled in that tapestry. There is always a bigger picture.

What much of it comes down to is whether we believe in the inherent good of humankind or in the evil of humankind. I choose to believe in good. I choose to believe in kindness, in love, in harmony, and in peace.

Still, bad things happen. I might write about how there is no good or bad, but that’s a bit hard to stomach when a young child is abused, a young woman is raped, or an elderly person is murdered in a home robbery. It’s a nice ideal to think there’s no good or bad — only the meaning we give to things — but sometimes that’s just not possible.

So, maybe it’s time to pray. I pray for understanding, I pray for tolerance, I pray for acceptance, I pray for healing, and I pray for peace. Mostly, I’m going to keep on praying for love and keep on trusting in its’ power over everything else.

I’ll be honest, I don’t know how to navigate standing up for what I believe without alienating those who believe differently. At least I’m trying. I’m going to stick to the golden rule and treat others as I want to be treated. I’m going to keep advocating that we all wake up each day and go about our lives with as much loving kindness as we can possibly express. Because I am still convinced and fully believe this simple act has more power to change our world than anything else.

xxxxx

As always, thank you for being a part of my journey. I share freely so that I may assist those who can relate to what I’m saying. We are not alone — each connected to one another in our own unique and individual ways, a part of a greater cosmos beyond understanding. I am committed to this connection — to unity, to growth, and to love. This, I know.

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BEAMING LOVE!!

Shannon Crane