Why belief in ultimate purposes was poison for me.
Not to long ago, with some spare time on my hands, I stumbled across some old tattered notebooks in a box while I was cleaning out my garage.
How I have manage to drag so much junk around through several states and many moves is beyond me.
The frenzied scribbled entries that belonged to a much younger version of me are really not important.
But they did bring my mind back to the frightened young kid that wrote in them.
I won't go into great detail about all the events that were taking place in my life at that time. But I was living in a cheap motel, completely cut off from family and devoid of any friends. Life had never seemed darker. I was ferverently praying and praying for some sort of answer, for some sort of guidance, hoping against hope that god had not completely abandoned me.
Well needless to say, no prayers were answered and no miracles were performed. I awoke one morning and discovered that I did not have enough money to buy any food. The frightened kid in me was filled with outrage. How could all of this be happening to me ? Why was all of this happening to me ? What could I have possibly have done to warrant this type of suffering ?
I can look back on that and remember very clearly what that felt like. I can also remember while I felt so utterly alone, the thought of what others might be going through and the thought of others misery around me was not on my mind. Terminally unique was I at that point. No one could possibly understand what it was like to go through what I was going through and no one could possibly have it as hard as I. The self-centeredness of those of us that believe in ultimate purpose. I mistook the function of the universe to dole out some sort of ultimate purpose to me and save me from myself.
Looking at those notebooks and reflecting upon that time in my life, I can only attribute the sheer depths of my despair to the need for purpose and the need for the god that I had believed in for so long.
Suffice to say, that since the time of those experiences, I have faced much harder situations and dealt with much tougher dilemmas.
You see, it was not the problems that was bothering me at that time.It was not the actual situation that was bringing me so much misery. It was the fact that it seemed to be happening without purpose that was eating me up. It was the fact that all of these circumstances were without seemingly any real reason that was tearing me into pieces. Life was not supposed to look like this, I thought. I felt that I didn't deserve to suffer nor should I have to endure all that I was tolerating.
Just reading a few passages of the notebooks, I can see how ferverently I was hoping that some sort of Fate from God was going to place it's roadmap with instructions for me to follow and read.
But here was the problem, there was no fate, karma, destiny or god. Rather than sit and dwell upon my circumstances, I should have relied heavily upon myself to take action and implement some sort of change into the situation. What a waste of energy to cry out to a spiritual realm to give me some guidance. What an even more waste of energy to be eaten up with frustration and despair that my circumstances were not changing, rather than just get up and change them myself.
My mind stubbornly refused to give up the delusion that there had to be some sort of ultimate reason for all of these events happening. My own selfishness prevented me from seeing that thousands of people had it just as hard and much worse than I, what made me so special in the middle of all of it ?
Today I shake my head when I think that I could have ever thought that way.
Fate ? Karma ? Destiny ? God ? How utterly ridiculous all those notions seem to me now.
How utterly self-centered I must have been to believe that every odd coincidence, every bad event, every downfall, must somehow equate back to my life in the vast universe in some way. How deluded it was, to think that every good thing in my life was the result of some spiritual force from an invisible world deciding to send some good things my way.Just how important did I think I was ? And how could I view myself as all of that important when I continually described myself as "unworthy of god" ?
Bad and good things still happen in my life. Oh well, big deal. There are children in cancer wards that are fighting for their very right to breathe air and live, there are veterans in our hospitals that are missing arms and legs, there are people living on the streets with no idea where there next plate of food is coming from, do I really have any right to complain ? Do I have any evidence that demonstrates that my well being somehow matters any more than anyone else ?
If the only purpose to life is the sole purpose that we assign to it, what could be more important than that ? Of course I value my own health and well-being, of course I crave more security and money, but am I somehow entitled ? Nope. That is no longer a delusion that I need to buy into any longer for meaning and purposes in my life. It was a poisonous delusion to buy into anyway.
I feel the delusion of ultimate purpose is probably one of the most dangerous ones. People can not avoid suffering, people can not avoid problems, and when those unfortunate things happen, people that believe in ultimate purposes may see these problems as a "sign". They may see it as a sign that they need to turn to their faith even more. They may see it as a sign that some divine force is trying to grab their attention. They may see it as a divine force trying to send them a message. They inevitably will blame themselves if their faith is weak or if they can not make themselves believe it to be real. They may feel hopeless if they can not understand that bad things happen, good things occur and it is not by some spirit/ghost/entity.
I feel that LACK of belief in ultimate purposes has given my life much more meaning and enabled me to handle my problems alot better than the tormented theist I once was.
I have endured many hardships since that time. Yet not once, have I felt the desire to cry out to the empty air for some sort of miracle.
Oh and those notebooks I was telling you about ? I threw those things into the trash, where I should have thrown them, along with all their superstitious ideas, many years ago.
“It is proof of a base and low mind for one to wish to think with the masses or majority, merely because the majority is the majority. Truth does not change because it is, or is not, believed by a majority of the people.”
― Giordano Bruno