Do you talk to God? Do you think you are crazy?

HUMMING IN MY UNIVERSE - Jim Paredes (The Philippine Star) - October 17, 2015 - 10:00am

I am no stranger to solace. I like being alone. I like long walks where I observe, watch, look, see and wonder about things. It helps me ground myself and see what’s worth paying attention to and what is not.

I used to do a lot of Zen meditation. I felt solid when I was more consistent in my sitting practice then. I have been very inconsistent lately but intend to get back to it.

Aloneness is not loneliness. I learned this years ago. To be alone can give you a sense of self. To be lonely gives you a feeling that you lack something or someone. 

Every day, the world tells us we are incomplete until we purchase and/or possess this or that. It convinces us that unless we have this person or thing, we will not be happy. 

Spiritually speaking, the world is a liar and we must rise above it. But it does not mean we should deny it. However, we must, at the end of the day, be ready to choose to let worldly things go.

That’s what spiritual practice is all about. 

At my age, I am called to more silence, serenity. I like being myself, and by myself, if you know what I mean. I am comfortable with being what I have become and appreciate the world through that. No defenses. I embrace who I am — warts and all.  

While I work hard, push myself to learn and accomplish things, I do not stress too much about stuff that I have left unfinished or unaccomplished. I will get to them eventually but I do not wish to comply with the deadlines the world imposes on me. I work on my own time and luckily, my pace is not unreasonable. 

Though I am still guided by schedules, I do not allow myself to panic when I am without anything to present a day before something is due. I am talking here about my writing. I trust I will always come up with something. And even if I do not, I will not fret or lose my equanimity. The spirit that moves me is a kind one who tells me that things will be okay eventually, no matter how bad things seem to be.

Lately, I have been visiting Adoration Chapels. I like being surrounded by the quiet, peace and reverence inside them. What I notice immediately when I settle inside is how restless and noisy my mind can get amid the imposed silence. I can hear my thoughts loudly, the constant yakkity-yak that goes on in my mind. Eventually, I quiet down and lately, I have been feeling the presence of — yes, I dare say — God!  

Yes, I am squeamish about saying it is God. It has something to do with my issue of self-worthiness. Instead, I would prefer to describe a “presence” that seems like the center of love in the universe.

A thought came to me when I entered a chapel recently. I thought that I heard someone whisper in my mind that Jim Paredes was not allowed to enter. I smiled because I immediately knew what it meant: God is there and there should be no one else in the room. In short, I must drop my ego and dissolve into the peace and love inside that is God. This way, there is ONLY ONE, not two in the room.

In one of his books, the author M. Scott Peck asked, “If God talked to you, would you think you were crazy? Would you tell anyone?” I thought about that for a while, and I my answer was, “No, I wouldn’t think I was crazy, and yes, I would tell anyone who cares to listen.” 

Throughout my life, God has been inspiring me. Proof of this comes in the songs I have written and the other creations I have brought to this world. I would not have been able to make these things if I was not somehow moved by this Being that is the center of love.

Lately, I have been feeling that when I pray to God, I actually hear an answer. We are actually talking! I am serious about this. Sometimes it is an actual conversation I am having similar to Neale Donald Walsch’s experience that he described in his series of books, Conversations with God

Sometimes I have doubts and wonder if I am really just talking to myself. Maybe science will say I am. But I know from the depths of my being when it is real and when it is only my imagination. Furthermore, in the following days, I witnessed signs affirming what we had “talked” about.

I write this humbly and with great hesitation. I also write it at the expense of being called “crazy” or “messianic” by some people. I am not a religious leader with a message. I am just someone who believes that God did not stop talking to us centuries ago. He/she has been talking to us non-stop. I just woke up one day and finally learned to listen.

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