It’s so interesting being on this side of a belief system. To go from absolute Mormonism to atheism has been a complete surprise to me. I would never have thought I would feel this way at 51. That’s what I love about life. Just when I think I’ve got all this figured out, my experience shows me something I didn’t even dream about.
I’m surprised about how happy I am without having faith in an afterlife now. I’m surprised how much ownership I feel now for my feelings, behaviors and choices in my life. I’m surprised how peaceful I feel not knowing what happens to life when death occurs. I’m surprised that for ten years now, I haven’t even had an inkling urge, thought or desire to pray to some voodoo magical man in the sky for help, assistance or comfort. Not once. It’s something I don’t even think of and every once in a while I remember that I just don’t go “there” anymore. I don’t feel like a victim that needs saving in any way nor do I believe in the most foundational way, that there is any circumstance where I think something “out there” could possibly help in any circumstance.
I’ve come to swim in the certainty of science, as far as we have come. I love the open ended answers that it brings. No absolutes, not really, and an openness that things can change with new information.
I love not believing in magical thinking anymore. The confusion and game of “what is the answer” is gone. Having to guess at a possible answer to a prayer is now, thankfully, removed from my existence and it feels so good. The mental and emotional effort that was focused on wondering, anguishing and searching for truth for answers from above; for begging forgiveness and beating myself up metaphorically for not being spiritual enough, obedient enough, and humble enough to figure out the answers I was missing. It took precious time from me. The greatest value I have in life is time and so much of it was used up by a belief system that kept my focus mainly on how my life’s choices affected the ripples of eternity!! No pressure there…GAADS!! My behaviors and motives always had that question at the forefront, and now I wonder what true contributions could I have made to the planet, my community, my family and my education and career if I could have been less focused on magic and more on the reality of living on this planet, now, with all these beautiful people around me, knowing this is all I get. Sure would have been nice to let go of all that thought baggage that religion brought to my belief blueprint.
Now that I’m here and a belief in a god seems ridiculous to me, I am amazed at how grounded this mystical thinking still dictates this society. It’s as if, since I have found the freedom in letting those beliefs go, than why doesn’t everybody else? If I can do it, then surely so can everyone else, right? LOL!! Not necessarily. In fact, it’s hard for me to find any one, especially a woman, who doesn’t believe in some kind of voodoo mojo, whether it’s Christianity, or some modern belief flavor of the month, energy voodoo or otherwise. It’s all bullshit as far as I’m concerned but to each his own. I know of what I speak as someone who went from being a Christian Mormon to a belief that there is a Universal energy that is in my favor and god is in all things, to now realizing that I’m made up of the same particles of stars and that energy changes and one day my energy will change with my death and my energy will be released back into space or the earth, depending where my body goes.
The thought that my mother is gone forever, never to be reunited again used to cause me great sadness, grief and despair. I remember consciously agreeing to believe that she lives on, so that I could live with some comfort of that knowledge. Now, however, I don’t believe I will continue after this life is over and thus, I will never see her again or be reunited. Yet, I do not feel despair or great sadness. I feel a great sense of gratitude that I was born in a time that I got to experience the beauty, love and grace that she brought to my life. The full gratitude of the gift that she was, is even greater to me now knowing that it’s more probable that consciousness ends in death. How blessed I was to have such a beautiful, loving mother in my life. How ripped off I was that she only lived to be 68! How tragic it was that she contracted some mysterious fatal disease called CJD and that it took my mother from this planet. What beautiful memories I get to have of this amazing woman and feel the love she poured on me everyday of my life. I still can live that love and I try and honor her by loving those around me in the way that she so gracefully taught me.
Here I sit, pleasantly aware that I once thought peace and atheism were mutually exclusive and now, much to my surprise, I live a life where those two worlds are constant and claimed. Who would have thought? Life is full of delights and I’m so grateful that I exist to discover them for as long as I can.