What do you care?

What do you care
If I feel the presence of God?
Why is it a problem for you
If I detect something that you don't?

Which would be harder for you:
If I were right, that God exists --
Or you were right,
And we float alone
In spinning vastness,
Deluding ourselves,
Believing in our shadow puppets?

Consider this:

We are both right.

I'm right:
The Divine is so vast and inclusive,
It exists in every thing and moment,
Is so omnipresent
It could not possibly proclaim itself
Any more loudly than it already does.
Its silence is deafening,
Its deafness silencing.

You are right:
No one guides us,
No one plays telephone with our prayers,
No one whacks us with a staff,
Kills us with cancer
For that candy bar we stole
At the drugstore
When we were nine years old.
Our choreography is absurd.
Our dogma is the choreography
Of the delusional.
If God is everywhere,
As you say:
Why do these things?

I rest on this:
We are contained within
The very elements
We contain within us.
The whole Universe
Is built on this model.

It is this I proclaim,
This I thank,
And this I ponder.

Won't you join me, at least in this?

--Mr. Gobley


karen said...

Wow!! amba must have known I would love this poem. I do have a question.

Do you think that there are at least some absolutes in life? Other that the birth, death and taxes thing? Some lines that are drawn that shouldn't be crossed at all? Some things that are detrimental to society in crossing? Does society draw those lines or are they a given? Pre-existing? Pre-requisite?

I think so.

Mr. Gobley said...

Greetings, Karen. Thanks for visiting, and commenting.

i always try to navigate **away** from what i think or believe. Cherished, tightly held beliefs or thoughts are obstacles, not aids, to spiritual growth.

That said, i do perceive the God of the Old Testament, the Buddha, and Jesus, at least, all pointed toward a need for (call it what you will) karmic concern, or (in the Hebraic formulation) not doing unto others what you would not have them do unto you.

Society comes to these laws as a collection of wanderers, bound together like the tribes in the Sinai Desert, guided by forces whose origin and attribution even **they** may not have agreed upon. Doesn't matter. What matters is, there is balance, harmony and at least a promise of peace appended to these universal themes.

Lines that must not be crossed are those that create or encourage imbalance or disharmony. How those are defined, and who gets to do the defining, might encourage me to become even **more** long-winded.

So, my short answer to you is: Do not do unto others what you would not have them do unto you: this is as close as one might get to any kind of absolute. And absolutes transcend us as individuals and societies, and originate in our relationship to our deepest origins.

Again, i thank you.

Rob said...

"We are both right", very nice.

Speaking as an atheist, I commend your faith. Just because I have no faith of my own, I certainly don't choose to denigrate the faith of otehrs. I'm always amazed at the weird religious intolerance of the US.

Even religious people seem intolerant of religion in public. For so many, religion is fine in church, but to be discouraged in public - especially if the religion in question is based on Christianity. Most of the country is more tolerant of, say, Wiccans, than Baptists.

Atheists are intolerant of religion everywhere, as if it matters to them. What do I care if someone wants to say a prayer before a ballgame? How hard is it to wait respectfully while someone else goes through a religious ritual? It doesn't harm me in the least.

At the same time, nothing is less tolerated than atheism. No professed atheist, for example, can ever be elected to public office.

It's ridiculous, really.

karen said...

You know, maybe there have never been TRUE atheists up for that job :) I never understood why people profess in not believing and then lobby to wipe out that which they profess not to believe. If it doesn't exist already, in their minds, why bother? It's a power trip and it is ridiculous and dangerous to the balance mr. gobley speaks of.

It seems to me that those who have always professed balance are now intolerant and power-hungry and those who are thought to be narrow-minded and ridgid in practice are actually Liberal. It's a very confusing time, I believe because the unwritten balances are being forced to *change*, for lack of the right word. In my mind, no matter who you are and how badly you try, the absolutes just cannot be changed. Isn't that the stuff of Revolutions?

Mr. Gobley said...

Rob: i wish i could convey to you how deeply i appreciate your comments. It's said that Karl Marx preferred the company of people he disagreed with. i can understand that sentiment. if one is passionate about or committed to an idea or a creed, sycophants and dogmatists can drain it of its vitality and its truth.

Religious leaders of the most vibrant and inclusive kind -- the Buddha, Gandhi, Rabbi Avraham Yitzhak Kook -- defended diversity in faith, practice and belief. They understood the virtue, the necessity, even, of divergence.

A general increase in intolerance is noticeable across all spectra today. While it may not be incorrect to call me a person of "faith," i consider that "faith" to be centered in compassion, not belief, in listening, not speaking. Any atheist that embraces compassion as a central value is a person i cherish, a soul that i, in turn, embrace. An atheist in public office would be a great defender of separation of church and state, too.

Karen: your comments, too, are wonderfully perceptive. The conversion of illumination to darkness is a pall over the world now. Light eventually bursts forth, sometimes violently so.

Like tectonic plates, our ideas have ploughed into each other. i meditate on peaceful movement, and the peaceful movement of your comments gives me hop.

Mr. Gobley said...

And hope, too!

karen said...

I didn't know you wrote that suspicious, *:)* piece in amba's blog!! I thought it was really very soul-bearing. "This is what I've got, Lord!! Do I pass?"

You definitely pass, mr. gobley. God loves us all, didn't you know? The bad, the ugly, the uncertain__ even the biggots of us He created and loves with great sadness and hope. My mom says, "God love us"; a lot. In spite of us.

I told amba that knowledge doesn't prevent us from doing stupid things even when we know better. To know doesn't help when we are human.

Wisdom knows better; I think I like the word: wisdom, I told amba.

In the New Testament, 2 Corinthians 5:7 reads: "We walk by Faith and not by sight". I have that on our bathroom mirror in the form of an eyechart.

It makes me happy.

amba said...

I've got to find a copy of that eyechart!

Karen, I think in your first post you are talking about natural law. And I find that I think I believe in it.