I have heard it said, you can can either see everything as a miracle, or nothing as a miracle.
I didn’t connect with this statement until just recently. I always knew it would be a good way of thinking, but I did not know how to actually embody it or change my perspective.
However, the way into adopting this perspective was a little different than expected..
SCIENCE FIRST, SPIRITUALITY SECOND
So, I am very aware this heading might be controversial. But what is strange is that this heading is what helped me 1) see everything as a miracle and 2) made me feel even more connected to my spirituality.
First, to clarify, I did not grow up in a scientific household. Honestly, at the time of graduating high school I would say my scientific understanding of major accepted theories – evolution, big bang, etc – was quite minimal. Also, my default in incorporating new scientific information was to see how it first fit into my spiritual beliefs. I think this is common for many religious people.
Many religious people I think do this, cannot find a way to incorporate the scientific information, and therefore reject the science. I did not ever feel comfortable doing this. I felt I always had to truly wrestle with the science. But wrestling with the science caused me problems. And caused me doubt. And caused me sadness.
I recognized that my husband did not seem to have this clash with science and his faith. He grew up very different from me. He grew up in a household where science was a given, a fact of life. It was as much a fact as the fact he was an only child or that he attended school at this age or in this district. It was just a fact of life. And although I don’t think they would have ever explained it this way, they’re spiritual faith fit into the already agreed upon facts. Science first, Spirituality second.
Again, I do not think they would have ever said that was their perspective. Their spirituality was very important to them, I don’t think they would have ever said they believed science was more important than their faith. I just think they were accepting science in the same way they accepted anything in the tangible world. No one would have to say the facts of their life come first because the facts of their life (who are there family members, what ethnicity they are, where they live) are just facts to be accepted on face value.
Now, I will fully admit that science is not quite as straightforward. They are theories. Anything could be wrong, adjusted, built upon later. But they are good theories – based on much reason and evidence. They are the best understanding we have so far and if it wasn’t science but rather history or math, we would accept the best theories as true. But many religious groups find the need to fight these scientific theories or try to disprove them in feeling like they are taking away from their own religious views. Or there were people like me, who were not comfortable fighting the theories, and instead was left with doubt and sadness.
SO WHAT DOES MY SPIRITUALITY MEAN IN THIS CONTEXT?
So, I think this is how my husband and his family were thinking differently. Instead of feeling afraid of science, they accepted science. And maybe they would ask, but not with fear but curiosity instead, what does this mean for my spirituality that this is true? How does my spirituality show up in this science?
I’ve begun asking myself this question more lately. I was reading a book by Carl Sagan recently and this is actually when this whole different approach came to me. Carl Sagan was arguing against people who believed that the earth was the center of the universe. He showed a picture to show, not only is the earth not the center of the universe, it is also not even the center of our galaxy. The earth is in the suburbs of our galaxy. Just a rock floating in space in the suburbs of the Milky Way.
Although my beliefs have not changed, as soon as I read this, I suddenly could see things in the way Carl Sagan was. He was not religious. But he was in awe of our universe. And the fact that in this huge massive universe, a place like earth exists. And all of us, history, creativity, love, everything – exists on this tiny, tiny rock. I suddenly felt more spiritual than I had felt in a long time. Who knows why we are on the suburbs? Who knows who and what God is? But the fact that all this exists? Wow.
DEMANDING PERFECTION vs. GRATEFUL FOR THE GIFT
It was strange, it was completely changing my perspective. To be able to think outside of my normal thinking patterns. I usually avoided even entertaining nonreligious perspectives of the universe. But to do so for even a moment, made me able to appreciate the vast amazingness of everything going on here. I think when I am in my religious perspective I take it for granted. Or worse, I demand perfection.
Instead of being in amazement and gratitude for all that is, I take a critical eye. I put expectations on God and God’s design. Why would things have been designed this way? I don’t like this. What is going on here – where is God in all this? But to take God out of the equation completely, I can less demand perfection and more be in awe of all there is. And in a weird way, it then brings me back to God. How could all of this exist otherwise? But it is a more wondering appreciation of the God that is rather than a perfect God that I have outlined myself.
And in this, I was able to shift my perspective from complaint to gratitude and from scarcity to abundance.
It suddenly became clear to me, everything was in fact, a miracle.
RADICAL ACCEPTANCE OF REALITY AT FACE VALUE
This is something I am experimenting with: Radical acceptance at face value. Instead of finding ways to reject reality and come up with some way around it, I want to try and just radically accept it. What does this mean if this is true? How can I still move forward in my belief and life with this information being true? This way, instead of spending so much time fighting the facts, I can be working on a way to move forward with the facts. And I will probably make a lot more progress this way.
May you also see the miracle of this earth, our existence, and your very own life.