I feel powerfully connected when I am watching a sunrise or a sunset, walking in the woods, observing nature from my window as I drink my morning coffee, standing at the top of a mountain, feeling my body move, doing meaningful work and during those random moments when I experience pure joy and love shared with others.
What is happening in the world in the name of God right now baffles me and, quite honestly, disgusts me. It has nothing to do with God. Below is the best explanation I think I've ever seen for what God is all about. It provides wonderful guidance for living our best lives and to honor this wonderful gift of life we have been given.
The God of Spinoza
When Einstein gave lectures at U.S. universities, the recurring question that students asked him most was, Do you believe in God?
And he always answered, "I believe in the God of Spinoza."
Baruch de Spinoza was a Dutch philosopher considered one of the great rationalists of 17th century philosophy, along with Descartes.
According to Spinoza, God would say:
Stop praying. What I want you to do is go out into the world and enjoy your life. I want you to sing, have fun and enjoy everything I've made for you.
Stop going into those dark, cold temples that you built yourself and saying they are my house. My house is in the mountains, in the woods, rivers, lakes, beaches. That's where I live and there I express my love for you.
Stop blaming me for your miserable life; I never told you there was anything wrong with you or that you were a sinner, or that your sexuality was a bad thing. Sex is a gift I have given you and with which you can express your love, your ecstasy, your joy. So don't blame me for everything they made you believe.
Stop reading alleged sacred scriptures that have nothing to do with me. If you can't read me in a sunrise, in a landscape, in the look of your friends, in your son's eyes … you will find me in no book!
Stop asking me "will you tell me how to do my job?" Stop being so scared of me. I do not judge you or criticize you, nor get angry, or bothered. I am pure love.
Stop asking for forgiveness. There is nothing to forgive. If I made you, I filled you with passions, limitations, pleasures, feelings, needs, inconsistencies, free will.
How can I blame you if you respond to something I put in you? How can I punish you for being the way you are, if I'm the one who made you? Do you think I could create a place to burn all my children who behave badly for the rest of eternity? What kind of god would do that?
Respect your peers and don't do what you don't want for yourself. All I ask is that you pay attention in your life, that alertness is your guide.
My beloved, this life is not a test, not a step on the way, not a rehearsal, nor a prelude to paradise. This life is the only thing here and now and it is all you need.
I have set you absolutely free, no prizes or punishments, no sins or virtues, no one carries a marker, no one keeps a record. You are absolutely free to create in your life. Heaven or hell.
I can't tell you if there's anything after this life but I can give you a tip. Live as if there is not. As if this is your only chance to enjoy, to love, to exist.
So, if there's nothing after, then you will have enjoyed the opportunity I gave you. And if there is, rest assured that I won't ask if you behaved right or wrong, I'll ask. Did you like it? Did you have fun? What did you enjoy the most? What did you learn?
Stop believing in me. Believing is assuming, guessing, imagining. I don't want you to believe in me. I want you to believe in you.
I want you to feel me in you when you kiss your beloved, when you tuck in your little girl, when you caress your dog, when you bathe in the sea.
Stop praising me, what kind of egomaniac God do you think I am? I'm bored being praised. I'm tired of being thanked. Feeling grateful? Prove it by taking care of yourself, your health, your relationships, the world. Express your joy! That's the way to praise me.
Stop complicating things and repeating as a parakeet what you've been taught about me.
What do you need more miracles for? So many explanations? The only thing for sure is that you are here, that you are alive and that this world is full of wonders.