might as well believe

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poetry / Rumi / spirituality

So, you all come to see me blather on about this or that because you know how perfect I am and that I’ve always got it together, right? What? Wait…no? That’s not it?

The whole notion is laughable of course. I have it no more together than anyone else. The good news is that I have it no less together than anyone else either. I choose to be encouraged by that.

People often ask me what my religion is or what I believe. I don’t mind the asking as long as they don’t mind the answer. The truth is I have a religion of one and for one. I have a strict no-conversion policy so you don’t have to worry about me accosting you on the street, knocking on your door, or sending you spam (either the mystery meat or emails).

I have many beliefs and they change a lot, which to some is the essence of non-belief but I disagree. One of my main beliefs is that we must ever be open to new insights and new information which can lead to new revelations. Our beliefs and our spirits are better served by our presence in and response to the world as it is now rather than hunkered down in a bomb shelter of “faith” where it’s still 1955. Or worse, 70 AD. (a very bad year for most. look it up.)

All that said, I’m not actually here to get into the nuts and bolts of what I believe or what any of us should or shouldn’t believe. That’s part of how a strict no-conversion policy works.

Anyway, the point is not what we believe so much as that we believe in something. Are we correct in thinking there is a higher power of some sort?  Are we correct in thinking there is not?  In truth, our accuracy matters not at all.  We don’t have to believe in God or the devil or the Flying Spaghetti Monster (a thing. look it up.).  We don’t have to believe in anything remotely metaphysical.  (free will is beautiful, isn’t it?)  It can be science that we believe in. It can be a system of values that we believe in. And yes, it can be God. Or Goddess as she is sometimes known.  🙂

In fact, there is a study that shows that the more you believe in a higher power of some sort, the less susceptible you are to depression. That makes a lot of sense to me.

I’ve spent a lot of time throughout my life thinking about what it is that I believe. I have believed many things I no longer believe. I fully expect there will be things I believe in the future that I do not believe today, and vice versa. However, I will say that I was never closer to depression and general bad-attitudeness than when I felt disconnected from my spirit, my soul. I went to an ugly place after my mom died. I don’t say that to beat up on myself. I’m just telling the truth. It was not pretty but it had to be done. I had to go there. For it was in the depths of that place that I figured out what fit and what didn’t. It was from that valley that I learned which mountain I wanted to climb. Most importantly, it was in that dark place that I learned who it was that would bring a candle to lead me out. Or sit with me until I was ready to lead myself out. Gratefully, there was more than one of these angels.

They reconnected me to my spirit and helped me to find meaning and purpose in my new reality.  If I had tried to scrap and claw my way out of there with nothing but pure “well, I guess this is my life now,” I’d still be there.  Instead, they invited me to look for something deeper…”since this is my life now, what am I going to do with it?”  Am I living in a way that lifts me and others up or am I just going through the motions?  Back then, it was the latter.

Now, I’m writing perhaps not from the mountain top, but I am on that mountain and at least half way up that mutha! It feels great when this is where I find myself.  I am grateful that today is one of those days. They’re not all like this though.

It reminds me of a story that Rumi tells in his poem, The Visions of Daquqi. (it is entirely too long to include the whole thing, but click on the poem title if you want to read it all.) He tells a story about thousands of people milling about looking for food and shade from the sun. They are unable to see a grove of fruit-bearing trees all around them. They try anything and everything to get their needs met all the while ignoring these trees. Daquqi, an onlooker in their midst, cannot fathom why they are still searching surrounded by such abundance. He begins to question if perhaps he is seeing things. Maybe he’s dreaming. Maybe he’s the crazy one. He walks up to a tree and picks a ripe fruit. He eats it. With the taste still on his tongue and the feel of fruit in his hand, he drops this bomb:

“I might as well believe.”

I might as well believe.

Wow. So simple. So elegant.

It matters not what the others are doing. It matters not what they see or don’t see. It matters only that Daquqi is being met literally with the fruits of his belief. He believes and so there is fruit. There is fruit and so he believes. It is hard to say which came first. In some situations the fruit will produce the belief, in others the belief will produce the fruit. Both paths are holy.

Sometimes I am Daquqi sitting in the middle of the orchard, blissed-out on fruit, and I have an unshakable faith! Sometimes I am the thousands milling about, wandering the desert mirage to mirage.

All of this is okay. We are not meant to stay stuck in any one place or be any one thing. Daquqi comes to see clearly through his own bewildered wandering. The more questioning we do, and the less answering we do, the more that is revealed to us. From where? By who? What for? I have no idea. I just know that the quieter I become, the more I listen, the more I comprehend.  I also sense there is so much more that we can not comprehend.  It does not frighten me. It exhilarates me. It ignites my curiosity and sets my soul ablaze with love for the journey. Pardon the dramatic language, but it’s kinda like that.  (cue Chariots of Fire music)

So how do we get to be more like Daquqi and less like the thousands? We don’t. We’re all already both of them. There is nothing that we have to do. We might as well believe but even if we don’t, then that’s going to be okay too.

Rumi explains it best with a line from another poem, “For sixty years I have been forgetful, every minute, but not for a second has this flowing toward me stopped or slowed.”

So I might as well believe.


Love and light,

Photo Credit:  Joan Egert/Dreamstime (just a note about this photo:  it’s a picture of a laughing falcon.  quite fitting, methinks.)


The Visions of Daquqi, full poem:  http://devotionlovers.blogspot.com/2010/10/rumi-visions-of-daquqi.html

Belief as an anti-depressant:  http://www.prevention.com/mind-body/emotional-health/belief-higher-power-may-improve-depression-outcomes

The Author

I am a dancing, arrow-flinging yogini from the South, but I live in the Pacific Northwest. I just like to keep things interesting. ;)


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