I left my last published blog feeling it was, perhaps, very sad. Perhaps there was no uplift for the reader. Plus, and this is important, sometimes my Night is followed by Day in a few moments time, or vice versa. I found myself wondering about a thought I have had in different forms that I always feel is worth expressing, but which I have limited places and means to express.
Like the Menorah–or Hanukkiah, if you prefer the Jewish name–the branches of the different religions are all part of a larger trees. Moses, Jesus, Mohammad–each of them have seeds implanted in them which speak of a larger tree. Farther away the branches of Gandhi and Buddha are–and yet each one of them in his heart contains a piece of the tree. Perhaps even religions like the Yoruba one has prophets in whom a seed is planted. I believe the root of the tree is God. Though not every branch is legitimate, most are. Of the branches, none of them does not have nicks and bruises because they grew up among human beings and not divine essences. In the material world even the spiritual is revealed imperfectly. If a person holds true to the seed within them, it will grow and blossom. Though few are as wonderful as the men named, many are able to live lives which bring honor to their branch of the tree.
If a person needs proof of the existence of the tree, they should do two things. First, seek out a teacher, whether a rabbi, imam or priest. Make sure that he is a man who does good, loves justice, and walks humbly with his God. If a person needs to, they can seek out a teacher like Mother Teresa’s nuns or the Dalai Lama. I admit that I have never gone that far–it is an extreme effort. Yet if a person truly needs the courage to believe and cannot get it through ordinary efforts, than that is what they must do. Second, the person must pray devoutly, using a religious text or traditional prayer, in an effort to transcend their selfhood. Finding transcendence is very hard, but to those who find it, it is the most real experience a person can have.
In the days of COVID-19, and also of political unrest, ordinary people are tempted by cynicism to give up on their belief in a higher purpose. Yet if they do find their seed, and do deeds of goodness and of blessing, than they can find peace. I remember reading of Anne Frank, than in the concentration camp where she died, she left this world believing “nothing bad was happening to her.” For all that her death was a tragedy, and the evil that created it unfathomable, she herself wrote shortly before she died that she believed most people were basically good. A person needs to believe in the God within to experience the love that Anne Frank continues to inspire in her fans in its completeness. I do not mean that she was devout, or that unbelieving people cannot appreciate her, but that those who believe can understand that even in her death God’s mercy acted through events. They must understand that God held her hand and that she must have awakened in Heaven.
I hope this does not sound Pollyannaish. I believe that if a person prays, there is always an answer. If it does not come in this world, it will in the next.