You have your own personal spiritual system in place. You know what you believe is true for you and not something you believe because your parents or friends believe it. You have strong reasons for what you believe you believe. You feel you have all your bases covered.
One small thought for you consideration. Are you spiritually any farther along than your local neighborhood Atheist who’s believes you live until you die? As far fetched as it may seem to any “True Believers”, it is time truth be heard over popular fiction.
Some people keep their belief system in a box, taken out on the weekend for an hour or so, and then put back in the box until the next week. Other people try to be spiritual daily according to their belief system, and for the most part they succeed.
We individually are sure we are the fortunate ones. Most people around us, family and close friends included are not in the same league as us spiritually. We do everything correct, and they do some things sort of correct. Due to our perception, we think we are correct and almost everyone else is wrong.
If this is true; if perception is stripped away, would we find each of us is pretty much the same? We all generally do the right things most of the time, and we individually feel we have the edge on everyone else.
In some small way those right things we do, somehow outshine our family, friends, and neighbors. Not to mention those people who live further away with whom we have no type of bond. Those far away people, well they live their lives in a way that does no good for anyone! Why do we think like this?
In truth, or at least my perception of truth, you and I, and everyone does what we perceive to be the ‘right thing’ as much as we are able. I accept I do not do the right thing all the time. I know no one who does do the right thing all the time.
Even people whom we pay to lead us spiritually, be they Guides, Guru’s, or Preachers, do not do the right things all the time. If they were interested in only doing the right things all the time, you would not be paying them for their services. They would be offering their services for free and working for a living as you are!
How many people out there, be they acclaimed Preachers, Guru’s or Spiritual Leaders of any type, offer what they know for free? They fall back, on the, “I need to make a living to you know” defense. I do not find that reason very defensible, having someone who wants to help me, demand money for improving me spiritually?
If there were no money involved, would these people still be there to lead? Some of these enlightened leaders are millionaires, and you probably have to watch your spending each month to keep your life on solid financial ground. There is nothing wrong with making a living, but not on the backs of people who struggle to find that space where they can become the type of person they want to be.
Which brings me back to the Atheist next door. Since Atheist’s generally believe we live until we die, there are no Guru’s telling any Atheist how to live a better life, and requesting payment in the process. Atheists do not need to review their belief system and see how it fits in any situation. Nor does an Atheist follow the rules and conventions of an organized belief system hoping for a reward in the after life.
The average Atheist is a lot like you or me with one small exception. When an Atheist does the right thing at the right time, it is done because they want to do the right thing, or think they should do the right thing. That one small difference more than levels the playing field of belief systems in the hope of living a better life, and having further reward at the end.
How empowering a concept that is? Having a belief system of nothing, no reward, no level of attainment, no eternal bliss for having a few boxes checked off a list of things we are supposed to be doing! Doing something good for another person because you want to, not because you may be punished if you do not?
Before you become angry and think I am promoting throwing away your carefully tuned beliefs, read to the end. The idea of holding up an imaginary Atheist as a spiritual leader for the rest of us to follow is an important one.
Not one figure who was/is seen as transcending the restrictions of living doubted for one second where they would be after their physical death. Few Atheists have any doubt about where they will be after physical death either. Grouped together, all these people did or do the right thing to make life better for someone else without any expectation of reward in the present or beyond.
All the rewards of this earth and beyond do not compare with doing service for another because you can and want to help someone who has a need. Helping someone not for the expectation of reward or advancement, but because you want to and are able to make a positive change in two lives at once.
None of us really have the ability to change anyone’s life. All we can do is place our intent with our action, and do what we are able to help people because we want to. The rewards that come from a life lived in this way are far greater than any checklist of actions to undertake than we would ever conceive.