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The Challenge

Updated: Nov 17, 2023

Yesterday I had two interesting car rides. I was getting a broken window on my car fixed so it was necessary for me to use a ride sharing app.

The first person who picked me up was a woman and we had many things that we spoke about including spirituality. I’m not sure completely because you can never be sure of all the things people leave unsaid but even though we both kind of made it clear that we understood the universe in a different way I felt neither of us tried to change the others belief. She even told me she had a friend that was interested in what she felt might be similar understandings as mine. So, over all, it was an enjoyable funny ride .

On the way back, to pick up my car, my driver was a man. He was nice enough and the conversation was interestingly similar to the first. He asked about me, I asked about him and then he said if I was free I should come by his church for a worship service they were having that night. This is where we began to get into the conversation of my belief. I told him I wasn’t really religious more spiritual and gave a little bit of my understanding of why. He in turn said “I want to challenge you.”

Now before I go any further, I want to say this person was for the most part nice to me, he did in his talk about God go into a defensive and protective mode when I told him I wasn't really religious, but I know why that was, his subconscious felt it needed to protect him from my different understandings. I in no way said he should believe as I do. However, the ego entity within people can be a very fearful thing. I doubt he would ever understand or see this the way I did and I didn’t try to stop him from “challenging” my understanding of God because I know who Spirit has shown itself to be to me. I did not get into a conversation with him that would further eradicate his truth because it was unnecessary. His subconscious was already anxious enough at my vibrational difference from him.

One thing the universe has said to me repeatedly since the beginning of my “awakened” spiritual journey is this: “You don’t need to prove, you don’t need to defend, you just need to be.”

It’s so wonderfully liberating to not find it necessary to try to win someone over to my understanding of truth, to let them live in whatever understanding helps them get through their day. It’s also nice to have people who can accept the difference in your beliefs enough to have delightful conversations with them that are interesting and fun.

One of my favorite quotes, from a book by Paulo Coelho, touches on this in the most amazing way. The book is called Manuscript Found In Accra and the story is speaking basically about the moment the wonder of knowing God as you choose to was lost in the world.

The book talks about how these people of different faiths who have lived equally and peacefully in their religious understandings in the city of Jerusalem are about to be attacked by crusaders who want them to believe in the fashion that they do and only that fashion. It talks about how these different faiths are friends and love each other and how some of their faiths make it so they may even see themselves as living in different calendar years from one another, but they accept this about each other with grace and openness. The entire book is a gem in itself but the words that electrified me the most were spoken by the mysterious Copt on the eve of the crusaders attack, “They don't understand that religion was created in order to share the mystery and to worship, not to oppress or convert others. The greatest manifestation of the miracle of God is life. Tonight, I will weep for you, O Jerusalem, because that understanding of the Divine Unity is about to disappear for the next one thousand years.”

Even before reading this book I have, for most of my life, lived quietly in my own understanding of spirituality. For a time it was because, though I knew and accepted all my truths for myself, I didn’t trust myself to hold on to them if pushed and prodded by outside entities.

Remembering that younger more unsure version of me is what made me think about asking my gentleman driver, mostly from a sense of curiosity, why he felt he needed to challenge me. It made me almost ask him “Why do you feel it necessary for my understanding of God to be the same as yours?” I wondered if I could make him aware of how powerful his words might be to someone else by asking “What if my understanding of God is the only thing that’s kept me alive? Would you still challenge it because it doesn’t fit your belief? Would you still go through the process of revealing that how God has shown itself to me is less valuable even if it would end me? Should your version of God still be my standard if it is not enough of an understanding to bring me peace enough to love and accept myself?”

These are in my opinion serious questions to consider before “challenging” someone if they believe differently from you. Especially if you feel like you’re “saving” them. I’m not saying whether you should or shouldn’t, just that everything has its consequence.

I don’t know what his answer would have been to my questions since I didn’t ask them, but part of me feels like I might have left him speechless.

I was raised into christianity and in my experience they encourage you to get the word of their understanding of God out to everyone but never have I experienced them speaking about the downside of trying to challenge or devalue someone else’s understanding of God. I’ve experienced this with other religious & spiritual practices too so understand I’m not picking on christianity, in that moment my driver just happened to be apart of that religious environment.

The reason I didn’t say any of those things to this gentleman is, though I was curious, I was okay with letting him have his moment with me. I left that car with my love of my perspective of the universe still intact.

These are simply the wonderings in my head of "What if more people understood that God’s greatest gift of magic and love to us is our own personal view of the world and our creator? How freeing would it be to know the universe wants to lead you and move through you by allowing you to lead yourself and the only way to truly do that is to let go of needing so much outside validation from others that your truth is the RIGHT truth. What if it only has to be mostly the right truth for you?"

I use the word "mostly" because it would be hard to exist peacefully around people who YOU would allow to exist in their own truth but THEY would not afford you the same courtesy. It might also be hard to be in a romantic relationship of equality and peace if you and that person don’t have similar enough beliefs in the universe or can’t accept each other’s differences enough to openly discuss them without malice.

I had to do a lot of healing to take back calling the universe by the name God. It, in my view had too much stigma attached to it. Religions have raped and pillaged and murdered all in the name of God. I myself have been sexually assaulted as a child by someone who considered themselves to be pious in a christian sense and then told by that same person if I didn’t forgive them God would send me to hell.

Could I have told my gentleman driver this story as he made light of and tried to lessen the power of me reflexively calling my love of the universe by a different name before calling it God? I could have, with very little emotional attachment. But, why? I didn't need him to feel bad or sorry for me. He wasn’t hurting me. I’ve made peace with these things. He was just doing the best he could to get through his day and I understand for myself that I don’t need to prove, I don’t need to defend, I just need to continue to walk my own journey back to oneness, with my understanding of the universe's love for me protecting and guiding me as I travel there.



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