I’ve been listening to Fingerprints of God; The Search for the Science of Spirituality by Barbara Bradley Hagerty. It really is quite an interesting book. Hagerty, NPR’s (National Public Radio) religious correspondent since 1995, discusses the questions about spirituality and God, such as are we programmed to connect with God, is there a God spot in the brain, and are spiritual experiences nothing more than chemical reactions in the body or is there something more to it, among other questions. She also tells the story of being sick with the flu and, despite having been raised Christian Scientist, in desperation to feel better, took some Tylenol and was completely amazed at the results. Barbara shares how this one event was the impetus in leaving her childhood faith and sparked her search for spirituality.
I have to admit, when she shared the Tylenol story near the very beginning of the book, I had a moment of disappointment, which started with two words I’m ashamed caused the instant reaction: Christian Science. I don’t know why I had this reaction. Perhaps it is all of the negative connotations I’ve heard applied to Christian Science over my lifetime. “God will heal her/him” has never been a statement I’ve had much faith in, especially when there are so many treatments, procedures, medications available that have done the same thing as “God,” many times, with quicker response times. Wouldn’t a loving “God” want one to utilize all the available options to healing? Hagerty has opened my mind to a better understanding, and respect, for the religion of Christian Science, though I still couldn’t imagine turning down medical treatment to heal my child, or myself. At least, not for the really big stuffs.
At one point during the book, the topic of basically ‘hearing’ from God comes up. I’ll admit this is a phenomenon that has always intrigued me. What the topic refers to is those moments when someone is in complete distress, caused by life being a bit too challenging, feeling a bit overwhelmed, a little crazy, and desperate to have the solution to alleviate the mental state, and they hear a voice telling them to have faith or to “trust in me” or statements similar to these, or the person is blanketed in a feeling of complete peace, leaving them relieved from the distress.
I think what has intrigued me so much about reports of this happening is the fact that I have been in similar states of distress and there has been no voice, no blanket of relief. I have asked myself, when I have heard accounts of this, why I haven’t had such an experience. Am I unworthy of God’s comfort? Do I have the wrong number? Maybe God just hasn’t gotten back to me, yet? Maybe what I felt as an enormous need, God looked at as just having a temper tantrum. Maybe the ones that I have met that have had this experience actually had stepped, only with the tips of their toes, into insanity, momentarily. Maybe I have done something, though I have no idea what, that has caused “God” to leave me to my own defenses to figure it out. I don’t know, and I can’t say that any of the religious/spiritual learning I have been doing, or have done in the past, has been able to answer those questions for me.
Next up in the listening que is either Great World Religions: Hinduism or The Ultimate Happiness Prescription. I haven’t decided which one, yet. The Ultimate Happiness Prescription is Deepak Chopra. I’m kind of re-categorizing my perception of Deepak, at the moment, after watching Decoding Deepak the other night with Lance. It’s not that I don’t think he has some really great skills and approaches to spirituality, because that hasn’t changed. After watching Decoding Deepak, I find myself trying to resolve the differences between what he says and what he is like in real life, as shown in the film his son created by following Deepak around for a year. Perhaps this is an even better reason to listen to The Ultimate Happiness Prescription.
On a different note…
It’s really warm this morning. The current temperature is 59 degrees!!! There is no need for multiple layers of clothing or blogging gloves this morning, and I am loving it. Sure, its raining, but that’s ok. I have the day off, unexpectedly, again. One of the cleans in my schedule has been rescheduled for the third time. That’s ok, too. December was supposed to be really slow and we haven’t had to experience that, yet. Lance and I are going to go to the condo complex and do a little extra work there for a few hours, then come home and get some things done here. It should be a great day.