I feel a sermon coming on... can't help myself... spirit is moving me... reality must be praised... glory be! I'm happy to be your not-so-humble servant, Almighty Reality.
Fellow humans, stand strong for what is real. Believe this: a single grain of sand is more worthy of your worship than any holy book, any religious theology, any supernatural theorizing. You can feel that grain of sand, taste it, see it.
Where's God? Where's soul? Where's spirit? Where's angels, heaven, reincarnation, Buddha nature, enlightenment, or any other abstraction lacking concrete this-ness and that-ness?
Nowhere, reality worshipping brothers and sisters. Nowhere.
Well, let's make that somewhere... but barely. Because these ideas, these notions, these thoughts, they do exist. Absolutely, they do. But where they exist is solely in the unfounded belief systems of some Homo sapiens'.
Who are sapient, yet not all that smart.
And I include myself, Pastor Brian of this here Church of the Churchless, among those who have fallen away from faith in the only entity in the cosmos which deserves our worship, Almighty Reality. For I too once prayed at the false altar of religious bullshit.
Until I saw the light. The light of godless reality. To my credit, though, during those many years of religiosity I gave lots of talks, which in the organization I belonged to were called satsangs.
I'm proud to say that even back then Almighty Reality was starting to speak through me. For one of the most oft-repeated quotations that I cited in my talks came from a great sage, Philip K. Dick. May his words thrill your reality-seeking heart just as they have thrilled mine, time and time again.
It was always my hope, in writing novels and stories which asked the question "What is reality?", to someday get an answer. This was the hope of most of my readers, too. Years passed. I wrote over thirty novels and over a hundred stories, and still I could not figure out what was real.
One day a girl college student in Canada asked me to define reality for her, for a paper she was writing for her philosophy class. She wanted a one-sentence answer. I thought about it and finally said, "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." That's all I could come up with. That was back in 1972. Since then I haven't been able to define reality any more lucidly.
Oh, I so love those words. Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away. Thirteen words. And two commas. Plus a period. What more do you need for a philosophy of life?
Hold a grain of sand in the palm of your hand. Close your eyes. Think to yourself, "I don't believe in you, grain of sand." Open your eyes. Ha-ha! The grain of sand is still there. Your belief in it or disbelief in it had zero effect on the grain's reality.
But what happens to God, the Devil, heaven, or any other supernatural entity you might believe in? When you stop believing in them, thinking about them, assuming their existence -- they do go away.
That's because they're not really real.
They're just a teeny-tiny bit real, as real as the dreams that pass through your mind while asleep, as real as the ideas that float through your consciousness while awake, as real as the neurochemical connections between the neurons in your brain which brought those imaginary supernatural notions into being -- which means that when you are no longer alive, your unfounded religious, spiritual, and mystical imaginings die with you.
And the grain of sand? It still exists. Because it is real, and any religious ideas you embrace are not.
Oh, I know how good it feels to hold onto religious beliefs. I clung to them myself for thirty-five years. But now I have seen the light, the light of Almighty Reality, the divinity that I sought in an imagined realm beyond the physical for so long, until it dawned on me to look right where I was standing.
On solid ground.
Where marvelous creatures great and small wordlessly sing the praises of what is real, because each of them, every one, from a grain of sand to a cluster of galaxies, is more worthy of reverence than any notion of a distant divinity promulgated by a religion.
I understand, though, how addictive the idea of God is, how seductive the fantasy that a supernatural Creator brought this world into being is. So to those who are unable to break the chains which bind you to religiosity, I offer this way of looking upon your Creator God:
He/She/It is not shy.
God would not be godly if the ultimate power hid away like a frightened bunny rabbit in the tall grasses of the cosmos. No, brothers and sisters, God stands tall, proud to reveal the divine nature in every atom of creation.
So religions tell you a lie. Gurus tell you a lie. Holy books tell you a lie. This lie is...
That God is to be found in a heavenly supernatural realm. Or in the dark silent recesses of your meditative psyche. Or after death, in some sort of resurrection, rebirth, or re-whatever that offers a second chance at knowing reality after you missed your chance in this life.
But this life is your chance. God is not hiding. God is not distant. God is not separate from creation. However, it does take a bit of work to identify the most godly aspect of God. Which is, the most really real reality:
That which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away.
Thus even if you believe in God (I don't), the best way to worship Him/Her/It is to stop believing in what isn't real. What remains, grains of sand, trees, dogs, coffee, iPhones -- everything that doesn't require belief to maintain it in a state of demonstrable existence -- is God. Or God's creation.
Do not, repeat do not, falter in your embrace of reality. It's both the easiest thing to do, and the hardest. Easy, because reality doesn't hide. It dances right in front of you, waving its hands, screaming "Here I am, here I am!"
But we human beings, and only we human beings, because animals are smarter than us in this regard, have evolved a desire for religious fantasy. It's an unhealthy artifact of our evolutionary heritage, much as the desire for sweets and fats is, which made sense when we were scavengers on a savannah but not now, when so many people can barely fit in an airplane seat.
Religiosity turns us away from what is real. It pushes us into an addiction, a belief-addiction. We end up consuming empty reality-calories, abstract dogmas and theologies rather than the genuine healthy fare of the natural world.
Weed your garden. Walk in the park. Sip a glass of wine. Hug a loved one. Smile at a stranger. No beliefs required. There's an infinity of reality surrounding you in every direction. It's all yours, as soon as you turn away from the falsities of religion and have faith in the only thing that can support you.
What is real.