A lesson in tolerance.
A very good friend recently posed the question, "What is death?" With as prolific as I am, I gave a long oration on my view of death, physically and meta-physically. Now I am going to place my opinion out for the entire world to see.
It encompasses my personal feelings on the various "belief" structures in society, religious and pagan, so in order to properly explain myself, I need to tell a little story, so please bear with me. I was sixteen and had been struggling with my own personal truth for about seven years and still had no answer. My father was an atheist, mother was of a strict x-ian mindset. I was working for a fast food restaurant. My car had recently been totaled, therefore I was relying on my girlfriend for rides to and from work until the settlement came through. One particular summer night I was feeling very poorly, and as the night progressed the feelings only grew worse. I had no fever, or any other indication of illness except a general malaise. As we were extremely slow I requested to go home early and they agreed. I called my girlfriend and went outside to wait.
The parking lot was almost entirely empty, it was completely dark and (as odd as it was for a large metropolitan city) the sky was full of stars. Rarely ever did we see a sky as clear as it was that night, so while I waited for my ride I sat under a tree and marveled at this rarity. There was a slight breeze blowing and I felt it gently caressing my face. I took a deep breath and stared at the sky, not really focussing on any thought, just allowing my mind to wander.
Without warning there came a sudden inner stillness. My mind and body were very calm and peaceful and a realization (an epiphany if you will) came to me. Now whether this was "given" to me by a higher power or my wandering mind calculated it on it's own, I will most likely never know. There IS a supreme being... oh yes, there has to be... but it is not the god of the x-ians, jews, catholics, muslims, hindus, greeks or any other "organized" religions. Instead it is ALL of them! Sound odd? Think it over. Consider for a moment the biblical story of the Tower of Babel. God saw man attempting to reach to heaven and so seperated them by language, skin color and place in the world. What would only seem to make sense to me is that this being knew that our pitiful mortal minds could not truly comprehend he/she/it and therefore he/she/it took parts of itself and gave them to the different peoples, pieces that would fit in with the cultural differences it created itself. Consider... there are stories in China, India and other places where re-incarnation is the belief standard in which little children know things that only people long dead and gone should be capable of knowing. The most prominent story in my mind is of a young girl in China who built puppets and put on shows that a long dead theatre master had not published or even completed! Yet there are never stories like this in a xian society.
The reason for this is very, very simple. Your belief guides you to your own truth. If you are a xian who believes you are going to heaven, then you are. If you believe that you will be re-incarnated as an inchworm (ewwww) then so be it. The simple fact is that our own personal beliefs guide us, not only on our life path, but also on what will occur with our spirit when we shuck off this mortal coil.
Oh, such heresy! Some people have called this drivel, but never once have I heard a reasonable argument against it. This personal belief is the reason I'm tolerant of others who follow different paths, even those who follow the s-called organized religions. It's the old addage of "Whatever floats yer boat!"
I'm not saying that we need to believe in everything, I certainly don't. That may sound a contradiction, but the fact is that it would be impossible to truly comprehend him/her/it. Try a small experiment when you have the time. Close your eyes and imagine outer space. Imagine looking at the earth from high above. Now cast your thoughts outward past our solar system, then past our galaxy, and continue... keep going infinitely. You will find that you can't. Your mind will want to stop, it will throw up a wall and tell you that there HAS to be an end. Why? Because our minds are finite. AS mortals we can only truly imagine things with borders, we can not grasp infinity. Oh, we can understand the concept, but not the reality.
Because of this we must find that which holds personal meaning to us. For me it is Wolf. For others it may be Bear, Tiger, Unicorn, God or the Goddess. I won't judge based on your personal beliefs, just on how you choose to voice them.
Walk in Light, Hunt in Shadow