Tuesday, April 17, 2012

If I Ever Learn What My Heart Already Knows

This afternoon as I sit at the coffee shop (read: as I lay here still in bed) I'm thinking about beliefs, feelings, and actions.  Over the last few days I have been presented with several examples where the concentration on what one believes in their heads seems to take precedence over what they feel in their heart or the actions that they take.

First off, beliefs can be important if they lead to a loving, caring, more compassionate life.  However, beliefs can also be limiting if they lead to a rigid ideology which excludes certain people or entire groups of society from love.  I used to be a person of the head, where I thought that if I closed my eyes and prayed enough or "just believed" enough, and if I believed the "right" things, then everything would be ok; I would be safe.  But this only led to a life of guilt and small-mindedness where people who didn't believe the same things that I did were excluded from the right to experiencing true love.  This kind of "believing" makes me very angry these days.

I want a world where love and happiness are experienced by every person on the planet, even if they look differently, love differently, or believe differently than I do. This may challenge long-held beliefs, but when faced with the heart, I think the mind has to take a bow. The mind must be informed by one's own heart, not just by ideology, or history, or pre-conceived notions.

And what truly matters is how we act.  I do not believe that the Bible is the literal, inspired word of God for all time. But there are many important things in there. Some of the most powerful verses are about loving your enemies, turning the other cheek, seeking justice and peace, and about helping the poor, the needy, the widows and the orphans. Jesus seemed to be all about the marginalized and the untouchables. I wouldn't be surprised that if he were around today he would forego an area pastor's breakfast  in order to hang out with "the fags." Lately I have encountered some people whose "beliefs" that they hold in their mind lead to exclusion and hatred. If that's what having the right beliefs is about, then let my brain turn to mush and let me be controlled only by my heart. Because my heart, when I open it up, can contain the whole world. It can contain people of all ages, all colours, all creeds, all mental, physical, and emotional capacities, and all sexual orientations.  The world is evolving, and my heart is ready for the ride.

Mark Andrew Alward