I'm a believer. Not in God. But in "covering my bases." (For those unfamiliar with American English, this means being thoroughly prepared for something.)
I don't believe in God. But I believe in the possibility that God exists. Heck, I believe in the possibility that anything imaginable exists. Along with what can't be imagined, just to cover my bases.
That's because I'm scientifically minded. Contrary to how many religious people view science, actually it is science that is most open to reality in any form, any guise, any way of being.
Material. Energetic. Non-physical. Mathematical. Ethereal. Conscious. Unconscious. Higher dimensional. Lower dimensional. Personal. Impersonal. Whatever.
All science needs to move from the possibility of something existing to a conclusion that it probably actually does exist, is evidence. And also contrary to misguided religiosity, scientists embrace subjective as well as objective evidence.
Just not to the same degree.
Subjective evidence is akin to "anecdotal evidence." It's better than no evidence at all; case studies in medicine, for example, might lead to research which definitively confirms a hypothesis.
I'm not interested in proving the objective existence of God, though.
Since nobody has been able to do this in the ten thousand years or so of relatively modern human history, there's virtually zero chance that I, or anybody else alive today, will be able to provide persuasive demonstrable evidence of God or any other divinity.
I just want to be as sure as possible that I'm not missing out on experiencing God, or whatever, if something/someone pleasingly supernatural does exist.
If unpleasingly supernatural, like a demon or hell, I'm not interested in experiencing it, just knowing about it from a safe distance -- though I'm sure plenty of fundamentalists are convinced that I'll be heading in some hellish direction after I die.
So I've evolved a cover-my-bases approach to meditation, and indeed life as a whole. It's summed up in words which come naturally to me when I begin to meditate each morning, usually for about twenty minutes.
(For many years I meditated much longer, between 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 hours. Those days have passed.)
What I say is: I open myself to reality, however it may appear.
Though I don't believe in God, just the possibility of God, I like to picture God smiling when she/he/it hears this. If I were God, that's exactly the sort of "prayer" which would please me. I wouldn't want people to guess about the sort of God I am, which is what religions do.
I'd want people to say "Great Dude God, whatever you're like, whatever you're all about, we're cool with that. Just show us your stuff and we'll go Yeah... nice!"
No egocentric guessamatic expectations. Reality welcomed, godly or otherwise, in whatever form is, well, real.
My nine word atheist prayer that is so marvelously appealing to God doesn't need much explaining. I'll add just a few thoughts to the key notions.
I open myself... It's all about me, "I." Which would be you, another "I," if you said this prayer. As noted before, this isn't a scientific investigation of objective reality. It's a personal opening-up to what might exist apart from what I know about now. Embracing my feminine side, in a sense, because I'm not out to actively penetrate some barrier to truth. I'm inviting, not demanding. I'm listening, not talking. I'm following, not leading.
to reality... l'm not looking for imagination, fantasy, fairy tales, wishful thinking, or any other self-creation of my psyche. I'm opening myself to something substantial which exists on its own, not merely as a product of human thought, dogma, theology, myth, or such.
however it may appear... Not for me to say how an aspect of reality I know nothing about will manifest. Again, no expectations. Surprise me. Lots of possibilities. External perception. Internal vision. Thought. Intuition. Bodily. Soulful. Material. Spiritual. Down to earth. Transcendent. Exciting. Calming. Reassuring. Disturbing.
Seems appropriate to end with a wonderful quote from Robert Persig.
It is a puzzling thing. The truth knocks on the door and you say, ‘Go away, I’m looking for the truth.’ and so it goes away. Puzzling.
I like your prayer and also the nice elaboration of it that you provide, but I have some thoughts on your following point:
"If I were God, that's exactly the sort of "prayer" which would please me."
Although we don't know this, it's still reasonable to assume that there could be some sort of "power" behind the "creation" and the "smooth" running of this universe, and we all could agree to call that power, God.
Always (and certainly more often than not) expecting something in return for a favor is basically a human tendency and so, by assuming that God would expect/like us to pray him/her, are we not implicitly also assuming God to be human or "like us" (just based upon stories and no such evidence ever having been found)?
I believe that even if there is indeed a power (that we may call God or whatever), that power or the creator/manager/director of the universe would certainly be better than humans and so (the creator/God) would just like us to enjoy the creation rather than praying to the creator (wherein we either ask the creator/God for special favors - whether material or spiritual - and/or to reveal the "truth" about the creation to us).
Just to clarify, I am not, for a moment, suggesting that we should not be thankful to the creator/God (if there is indeed one??!!), and so I believe that:
If the only prayer you say in your life is thank you, that would suffice.
- Meister Eckhart
Just my thoughts ......
Posted by: Avi | August 23, 2013 at 09:27 AM