Last week I wrote about the First Question of the Simple Path.
To recap, the first question is “What do you believe is the truth of this life?”
To provide some preliminary guidance, I think there are six general views a person can offer as a response to this question. If you think there are other possible answers please send them along in a comment.
1) I am sure God exists.
2) I am not sure God exists but I believe God, or “something” or “universal energy”, may exist. And, I am willing to see if I can find a way to believe for sure some “higher power” is the foundation of all life including my personal life.
3) I am sure God does not exist.
4) I am not sure that there is no God or “universal energy”, but I am willing to see if I can find a way to commit to a truly atheistic view that there is no such thing as God or “universal energy.”
5) I am quite confused about the question and I am not sure what to believe about God or atheism, or universal life. What I am willing to do is to make careful search if I can get a few pointers as to where and how to look and assuming no one is trying to tell me what I “should” believe.
6) I don’t think about such questions, and I don’t care what the answer is one way or the other. If this last answer is your answer there is no need for you to give any further thought to this blog or my approach to meditation. No doubt there are other ways you prefer to spend your time and I wish you all the best with your activities and personal goals.
If however, the answer you come up with to the question “What do you believe is the truth of this life?” is one of the first five answers listed above then read on.
Regardless of which of the first five answers you feel best describes your current views, your answer is where you are now and is your starting place of the Simple Path. What you can be sure of is that at no time on the Simple Path will I say or imply that you are supposed to come up with this or that answer to the question. The goal is not to see if you can accept some official doctrine. The first goal is to help you think carefully about what you do believe and to help you gently but firmly set aside any beliefs or dogmas that you either do not understand or feel are simply not true.
The second goal is to help you explore the essential questions and practices of meditation in a clear and realistic way without a lot of extreme views, overly complex ideas, or vague and sugary language.
As you find realistic ways to work with anger, fear, guilt, excessive desire, vanity, and illusion your mind will settle into deeper and deeper states of peace in meditation.
As this happens these experiences of peace will give rise to intuitions during meditation or when you have returned to the active hours of your life. These experiences and intuitions will help you proceed to whatever is the next level of understanding and peace available to you.
So please allow me to ask again?
“What do you believe is the truth of this life?”
Please see the free workshop “What do I believe” on this web site. There is one version for those who believe or are trying to believe, one version for atheists or those trying to become atheists, and those who are not sure one way or the other.
Let me know what you are looking for.
Let me know what you have found.
Will Raymond Author of “The Simple Path of Holiness” Host of MeditationPractice.com