The Question Mark at the Heart of Existence

Krista Angelique

Each of us have our own life experiences as well as an upbringing that has exposed us to various ways to come to terms with the question that even scientists cannot fully answer, “The Question Mark at The Heart of Existence.”

Why are we here? Why were we born? What is our purpose in life? What happens after our Earthly Bodies have left this physical form? What is the true meaning of life?

Of course, each person will have a unique answer, as diverse as the people themselves that occupy earth.

In the Lakota traditions, one is taught never to judge another’s relationship to the Great Spirit, or the Divine. But, as humans we often allow Ego to step in and judge how another comes to terms with the question that we each much grow to find out for ourselves.

Many condemn those whom are Atheist or Agnostic, but as the Dalai Lama said during a conference in Louisville, Kentucky, on his world tour that I was honored to attend, “We must make room for all belief systems, even the Atheist, and because God is that vast, there must be as many paths as there are people, because in the end, we are all climbing to the top of the same mountain, and there must be as many paths as there are people. We are all climbing towards the same summit, to know the Truth.”

Some traverse the mountain to reach the Truth in a zigzag pattern, some shoot in a straight line to the top, some circle the mountain before reaching the top, some zigzag, go straight, circle and find their way in a unique fashion which cannot be labelled, such as being Christian, Buddhist, Shamanism, or Hindu, and this is why the Native American Lakota tradition tells us to never question or judge another’s relationship to Great Spirit/Divine/God.

We place many labels on the same thing, i.e. Truth. Truth which scientists labor year after year in laboratories to find, yet if we look closely, we see that scientists and religious persons are truly searching for the same answer, they each strive to find out the question mark at the heart of existence.

Many find a relationship to God through prayer and rituals, some find God during a walk in the nature observing trees, flowers, and animals, and listening to them as if they embody the voice of the Divine within their subtle movements and songs, others through the movements within the leaves, dancing and flickering in the wind and bursting forth with ecstasy!

Native American culture sees nature as people, the Tree People, who have been here before we were born, and will still stand after we die, as our teachers, the Stone People, the rocks or boulders in the mountains, or smooth river pebbles lying at the bottom of water – are our Stone People. They, too, have lived upon the Earth before us, and will, much after our human bodies have returned back to Earth, and they believe, like the Yogis, that everything has life within it.

Some follow and honor the lunar phases, knowing that without the Sun there would be no Moon, and without the Moon our oceans waters would be void of its ebb and flow, and also understanding the connection between the Moon and our trees, and truly comprehending how everything is interconnected.

I was raised as a Catholic, and I still say those Catholic prayers daily, silently to myself. I also found, through the study, training, and practice of Shamanism, the Lakota ways of praying, and from the Yoga Sutras – the interconnectedness of all and what it means to live life as William Blake once wrote, “Everything That Lives, Is Holy.”

It is not for us to judge others’ relations to the God/Divinity/Peace, because I believe as Dalai Lama said, “We must make room for all belief systems.” It does not mean we have to agree with them, or practice those rituals ourselves, but with our actions of being non-judgmental, we embrace all as a living-whole, while making our own unique journeys to the top of the mountain, towards finding our own way of living and being in the world with peace and compassion within our hearts.

I spoke once with some Atheists who told me, “I don’t believe in God, or eternal life after death, but I do believe in making every day matter with deep kindness and compassion, and loving each day as if it may be our last.” When they told me about this perspective, I replied, “Then you are living in the moment, with no attachment, you truly embrace what it means to live as a Yogi.” They smiled and answered, “Maybe so.”

In India there are as many shrine on the streets to worship deities, as America has Mc Donald’s, flowers adorn small temples, made by local communities, but what they all share in common, is a profound respect for something outside of our earthly existence. And like my Atheist friend, who takes solace in the present moment, I find that, this ritualistic form of faith is in itself a way of finding God, in a manner that can be seen, felt, and revered.

One may never truly know the answer, or agree on the answers to, “The Question Mark At The Heart Of Existence,” but what we all share in common, is that we truly are all in this life together, regardless of how we traverse the mountain, the trials and tribulations, the lessons and blessings we are being given on any given day. And if I could share one thing, my hope is that we grow to live with less judgment and to see the humans, nature, the trees, the animals, the rocks, the sky, stars, moon, sun, and the present moment, as Godlike, as the cathedrals, temples, and shrines we frequent, and as powerful as any prayer or ritual we may perform. This will be possible only if compassion lives fully within us all!

 

Why are we here? Why were we born? What is our purpose in life? What happens after our Earthly Bodies have left this physical form? What is the true meaning of life?

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