Like many others I encounter who follow the shamanic path, I was raised to follow a formal mainstream religion. I am grateful to my parents for doing this as it allowed me to believe in something greater than myself.
However, as time went by I grew away from the restrictions of the dogma and the many thou shalt nots. When I was told that God would get angry with me, it didn’t make sense. If God had human emotions, then how could He be God?
Many years ago someone shared this wonderful essay with me and I found it to be quite life changing. Each time I read it I find new meanings in it. I will occasionally share this with my groups when Spirit nudges me. I can always see why I was called to read it on that particular occasion because there will be at least one person who reacts strongly and gives gratitude for hearing the words. I’ve gotten so many requests for a copy of this piece that I decided to publish it here.
These wise words come from Baruch de Spinoza, who was born in Amsterdam in 1632 and died in The Hague on February 21, 1677. Baruch was one of the great rationalists of the seventeenth century in the so-called Modern Philosophy, along with René Descartes and Gottfried Leibniz. He was of Portuguese Jewish descent and is considered to be the founder of modern biblical criticism.
God would say
“Quit praying and beating yourself in the chest! What I want you to do is go out into the world to take pleasure in your life.
I want you to enjoy, to sing, have fun, and be blessed with everything I have done for you.
Stop going to these dreary temples, dark and cold, that you built yourself, and you say they are my home.
My house is in the mountains, forests, rivers, lakes, beaches. That is where I live and here I express my love for you.
Quit blaming me for your miserable life, I never said there was anything wrong with you or that you were a sinner, or that your sexuality is a bad thing.
Sex is a gift you were given and with which you can express your love, your ecstasy, your joy. So do not blame me for everything that you were made to believe.
Quit reading these supposed sacred scriptures that have nothing to do with me. If you cannot read me in a sunrise, in a landscape, in the eyes of your friends, in the eyes of your son … you will not find me in any book!
Trust me and stop asking me for things. Are you going to tell me how to do my job?
Do not be scared of me. I do not judge you or criticize you or get angry or upset, or seek to punish you. I am pure love.
Stop asking me for forgiveness, there is nothing to forgive. If I created you … I was the one who filled you with passions and limitations, with pleasure, feelings, needs, inconsistencies … with free will! How can I blame you if you respond to something that I gave you? How I can punish you for being you, if I am the one who made you? Do you think that I could create a place to burn all of my misbehaved children, for the rest of eternity? What kind of God could do that?
Forget about any kind of commandments, or any laws, these are tricks to manipulate, to control you, they only create guilt in you. Respect your fellow man and do not do what you would not want to be done to you. All I ask is that you pay attention in your life, that you let your awareness be your guide.
My dear, this life is not a test, or a step on the road, or an essay or a prelude to paradise. This life is all that is, here and now and it is all you need.
I have made you absolutely free, no reward or punishment, no sins or virtues, no one has a marker, and no one is keeping track.
You are absolutely free to create in your life a heaven or a hell.
I cannot tell you if there is something after this life, but I can give you some advice: Live as if there was not. As if this was your only chance to enjoy, to love, to exist.
Therefore, if there is nothing after, then you have enjoyed the opportunity I gave you.
And if there is something after, rest assured that I will not ask you if you behaved well or badly, I will ask, “Did you like it?” … Did you have fun? … What did you enjoy the most? What did you learn? …
Stop believing in me, to believe is to assume, guess, imagine. I do not want you to believe in me, I want you to feel me in you. I want you to feel me in you when you kiss your beloved, when embracing your little girl, when you pet your dog, when you bathe in the sea.
Stop praising me! What kind of egotistical God do you think I am?
It bores me to be praised, I am sick of you thanking me. Are you grateful? Prove it by taking care of yourself, of your health, your relationships, the world. Do you feel awed? … Express your joy! That is the way to praise me.
Stop complicating things and repeating what you learned about it like a parrot. The only certainty is that you are here, you are alive, that this world is full of wonders. What do you need more miracles for? Why so many explanations?
Do not look for me outside, you will not find me. Look for me inside … I am there, shining on you.”
Baruch de Spinoza ~ Dutch Jewish philosopher. (1632 -1677)