“Do you believe in God?” she asked. The trouble is, “God” is such a loaded word/concept. So is “believe”.
My current quest is for experience. Belief is, by definition, outside experience: it’s an attempt to explain experience — at best your own, at worst someone else’s — to cage it and control it. Having been subsumed by beliefs of one kind or another for so long, for now I’m quite content to avoid them wherever possible. So what I’m left with is a kind of day-to-day “this is how things seem to me to be”.
Now that I’m over the existential angst that is probably an inevitable initial reaction to a pretty steep drop from absolute certainty to near-absolute uncertainty about everything I held as important, it works for me and I don’t feel any burning desire to “know” more.
Instead, I notice the way that certain ideas resonate with me, as if I hear the ringing of some crystal of “truth” that they contain, “truth” in quotes because it is a truth for me, for now, rather than for everyone for all time. Today, for instance, alchemy; one of my keywords on a certain social connection website. Someone asked me why it was there, so I explained that it was in the sense of self-development rather than turning base metals to gold, but this got me asking myself why I’d put it there, and realising that the key component of alchemical transformation is fire, and it burns. There’s nothing like going through hell to achieve enlightenment. Perhaps indeed it’s the only way. Death and rebirth. Fear is conquered after the first Bad Trip. And so on. Anyway, then she mentions Crowley and that’s synchronistic with the part of the Illuminatus! trilogy I’ve just got to on 3rd reading, the black mass, and all the while I was reading it I was observing my own reaction to it, the fear and disgust which can only be a residue of Christian upbringing since I have no direct experience of such rites. Do I want to? Not especially, but neither do I want something from my past to continue to hold such power over my present. It maintains, and is maintained by, a lack of belief in my own power, my own ability to experience all manifestations of life without being possessed by any one of them.