Breathe the Free Air - Guest Post by Christen Lofland
Letting go of God is terribly difficult and wrenching. It is kind of like trying to just let your appendix go. You didn't put it there, it doesn't particularly want to be there, it just is and the only impetus to "let it go" is the pain that it starts causing. It is hard to explain to someone who is quite happy with their appendix just why you don't want yours. In the end, it takes painful intervention, and it might even require outside help.
But then what? What is it?
Letting go of religion is inexplicable freedom!
Freedom from what you ask?
Why. The freedom is from why. Because just like the spoon, there is no why. It just is. And when you can stop asking why then everything just is.
Before I always wanted to know why, because everything had a purpose. Everything was caused by, or at least overseen by, some greater power. That greater power had a purpose and if I could know it, I could profit by that knowledge. On the flip side, my failures to succeed could be traced to being out of sync with that purpose. It was a constant battle in my life to understand why this and why that. What was the greater power trying to tell me? What was I supposed to do? What was this or that made for? How did I fit in?
Then, I finally wrenched free of it, and hallelujah! I was free to just be whatever and free to explore the universe as it is without needing to ascribe meaning to it or anthropomorphizing matter and energy.
Now don't confuse why with how. There is how, and that is a wonderful question with no end of new questions that come with each answer.
Why, though, for me, proved to be a tyranny. I wonder if this perhaps is not true for many people? The "search for meaning" is presented in movie intro monologues constantly as the chief goal of humanity. That is logical too, because our brains apparently produce narrative and "logical" reasons for everything we encounter. Our brains do this constantly, sub consciously and without our control. However, just because my brain has a habit does not mean that my conscience self needs to be a slave to it. Imagined meanings can be dismissed as easily as the more obvious hallucinations brought on by drugs. Just because I saw a pink elephant does not mean I need to accept its existence.
So, I am open to the idea that some people, due to their personality, are driven to find meaning. However, I am also convinced that we make meaning up so readily that separating invented meaning from true meaning is difficult at best. And personally, I find that deep need for "meaning" to actually be a tyrant which I find great freedom in rejecting.