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Simon Templar
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While standing in queue, a conversation began. It was the sort of conversation that one generally avoids, as a rule. Politics, religion and sex, the three things one learns to avoid discussing in public.

However, I do enjoy a good conversation, so long as those present understand it is incumbent upon themselves to be mature and remain polite and courteous. We can disagree, but lets do so civilly or it becomes nothing more than an argument.

So began a discussion of God, or Gods, or Spirituality, or atheism. This is a subject I have no particular love of, and no more than a passing knowledge of, apart from some courses I had taken years before as part of a humanities core I was required to take for university.

In as much as I dread the thought of a deep philosophical discussion of religion, I found myself dragged into it, as a mate mentioned that I have an abstract and rather eccentric view on it. And so I was asked to please regale them with my poorly constructed view on how we all came to be.

With your permission, I will share that view now, and you may or may not, as course dictates, agree or not. I prefer, if you please, that the same decorum be applied to any reply you may wish to leave, be given the same respect and courtesy in which this is offered.

Is there a God? Short answer? I believe there is some force, some power, some intelligence, some entity that we do not understand and are incapable of ever fully understanding. Call it God, call it Gaia, call it what you will. There is something that seems to impact the universe in ways that befuddle us, enrapture us, amaze us, and at times astonish us.

I don't pretend to know the nature of this peculiar influence, but I recognize it in the things I see and experience. For instance, the interesting effect that occurs when a molecule is split. One half has been taken to the East coast, the other left on the West coast. When one half is stimulated, the other half, clearly a separate half at this juncture, reacts instantly and similarly. How can this be? I do not know. But it is fact, and I accept that as fact. This leads me to believe there is some form of communication above or beyond that which we understand, with all out science and all our theories. We simply do not know how, nor why. So being as primitive as I am, I assign this to some higher force.

I include the events that surround the creation of all that is. Regardless of "Big Bang" or "Evolution" or "Creationism", all of these came from somewhere, or something. If God made all of this, then what or who made God? If Evolution is true, then who or what started it? If it was all seeded by a superior race, then who or what made them? Take this back far enough, you will eventually come to a point, however far back and however far from home, to a singular moment, that moment when you find yourself asking this too. What happened just before?

Ive always been the lad that looked to the highlands and asked, what lay beyond? Whats beyond the sky? Where does the wind go? Where did it come from? Are there rainbows under water?

Ive always asked questions, much to the torment of my dear parents, saddled with trying to provide answers they had no way of knowing. But I wanted to know. I still want to know a great many thing. And this is why I have the belief I do.

What belief? Yes, I will get to that directly. But let me preface that with the clear warning that it will not necessarily make sense to you on face value. It is something that, should you explore my unusual mindset, you may see working in ways that you don't expect.

I believe that we are not singular creatures. We are not merely born, live, then die, according to the whims of life. I do not believe this at all. Quite the contrary. I believe we live many lives. That living and dying are merely the first and last words of a chapter of our existence. That we are a story, unfolding through time and space. Our existence is not confined to a few short years on this planet, but that we begin here, and we learn here, and eventually we leave here.

I believe that while we exist here, we have access to a force, perhaps those who have gone before us, and have left us. Perhaps they provide for us, that which we need. Events that we find ourselves caught up in are nothing more or less than events designed to teach us, to bring us closer to our potential. That we need the good and bad in our lives, to make us whole, to build in us a wisdom that stays with us with each passing chapter of our story.

This is how we instinctively know how to laugh, cry and love. It is this wisdom that gives us the motivation to learn whatever lesson we are compelled to learn. We may be the bad guy in a chapter, or we may be the hero, but either event, the most often muttered words by either side, are "Im not sure why I did that." But I think we were meant to do these things. This is how we learn, how we grow, how we become more perfect.

And where does God fit into this equation? Perhaps God is simply that force that we feel strangely attached to. Perhaps God is that unknown, that whisper in our mind, that tingle in our scalp, that pause we feel just in time to avert harm...

Perhaps God is nothing more, or less, than the wisdom passed along from chapter to chapter, that unknown force, that provides us the lessons we need to learn, that guides us along, and gives us hope and comfort when we have nothing else. Perhaps God is the wisdom that this is not all there is. We will return, another time, another place, and we will have a different life. We will be ok, because we can not be destroyed. We are eternal, we are children of the stars, we are the past, the present and the future. We are all connected, all part of a story, unfolding throughout eternity, starting on this little blue marble, and ending.... well, perhaps there is no end. I take great joy in knowing that one day I will find out. We all will. Together we will all stand and discover where it all leads, and who we are meant to become.

So there it is. Take from it what you will. Thank you for your consideration.

I was asked, recently, what was the greatest lesson Ive ever learned. I had to give it some thought.

Initially I pondered the violence Ive seen, wondered if it was about treating others as we wish to be treated. I wondered if maybe it was the futility of war. That killing those we oppose only creates more enemies. That when we embrace our foes, we destroy them by making them friends.

I wondered if it was how a single act of kindness, like the police officer buying a homeless man boots, or the philanthropist helping a family get back on its feet, was the greatest gift.

I pondered the meaning of charity and spirituality. When people talk of "walking in Gods grace" or being one with nature, or balanced karma.

I even wondered if it was in the meaning of "how we treat the least among us speaks the most of us". I loved all the messages, but I felt they all spoke of acts. I believe how we act when nobody is looking is the true self we hide from others.

I decided on something unexpected. I surprised myself, and I may be wrong. I may be right. But for me, the greatest truth is:

None of us are perfect. We all have flaws. We all say and do stupid things. We all let other people down, including ourselves. We are all let down by others. We all fall down, and at times have trouble getting back up. We all need help from time to time. We will all tell lies, usually to ourselves. We will be petty, at times cruel, other times generous, and even altruistic.

In short, we are all flawed, but its this truth, that being human isnt about being the best, or the most successful or the greatest. Its about just being better than we were yesterday.

The greatest truth is, we are never the best we can be, because we always have the potential to be better... 

Just discovered the band Lapis Lazuli. A swedish band with a sound as sweet as Within Temptation. Theres a twist of Lacuna Coil, a bit of Nightwish, and some Silentium thrown in for good measure.

They have a lot of promise. Check them out at @OfficialLapis or try youtube or iTunes.

I really liked what I heard so Im just saying this because so few good bands are heard in America.

Treat yourself to something NOT country, hip hop, or warmed over rock. Its symphonic metal which I like to call Goth Metal.

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