Thursday, April 15, 2010

Offering Praise to the Great Spirit (God)

Why believe in God? This is a question that has existed since the beginning of humankind. For me the answer is simple though. I sincerely believe it's a normal, inborn desire to offer praise to the creator of this amazingly complex and beautiful world, to acknowledge and give respect to the source of all creation, the great scientist; the force which keeps the planets spinning in motion, ripens fruits and vegetables, makes the sun rise and fall everyday, causes rivers to flow, the ocean tides to come in and go out, our hearts to beat-the force which makes all of life possible.

No one can deny that there is some force which allows life to happen. Whatever you choose to call this force however, is clearly up to you. I believe there is something inside each of us which acknowledges a creative force, a creative entity operating in the universe. There is something inside us which understands the grandeur, the splendor, the magic, the exquisite richness of all life and thus desires to offer praise to the source, energy, power, or presence which originates and orchestrates it all.

People have praised God since the beginning of time in many different ways. These include, but are not limited to: building sacred temples, performing offerings, practicing rituals in temples, worship in churches, devotional music or poetry, prayer & meditation, Native American sweat lodges, dancing around fires, drumming circles and pilgrimages. There are many unique ways of Offering Praise to the Great Spirit (God) and none are more correct, or superior than others. Any form of worship from the heart is TRUE worship.

I have felt God's strong presence in Native American sweat lodges, Hindu temples, Taoist Temples, Buddhist Meditations, Christian churches and temples and even standing on top of a mountain. It's really not so important how you praise the source of all creation, but that you acknowledge him, and praise him for giving you this juicy experience of life. It is also important that you strive to develop and maintain an active communication/relationship with this entity that sustains your life.

A lot of people see praising God as weakness, as co-dependent behavior, or simply as a waste of time. To me though, it has always felt right, natural, in fact, just as natural as breathing, eating or drinking water. In my mind and understanding, it has always just made sense that there is a bigger picture out there, of which I am part of. I don't believe life could exist without some force holding it all together, a magic glue so to speak. And I feel stronger, not weaker by acknowledging and praising this force. I don't worship out of co-dependency, or fear, but because I feel the presence of this being in my heart and soul and all around me, guiding every step of my life. I desire to offer it my praise and gratitude.

I fully understand and accept that not everyone believes in God though. I think it's absolutely normal to question God's existence. There have been times in my own life where I have been uncertain as well. Everyone goes through times such as these. Oftentimes, we experience events that cause us to question. Sometimes too, it's hard to believe in what we cannot see. To me, life is just too amazing though, too wondrous not to believe in, or acknowledge a creator. This world is too beautiful. There is just too much intelligence everywhere for there not to be a creative force maintaining and sustaining it all. But it's so much more than that for me. I have also had many times, experiences that have confirmed the existence of a creator to me beyond the shadow of a doubt. These experiences include near death experiences, times when prayers have been miraculously answered, and times when my life has been spared.

Offering Praise to the Great Spirit (God) is a grand privilege and honor. It should not be treated as a chore, but as a gift of utmost significance. Also there are many rewards from believing in, praising and having a relationship with this Great Spirit. This relationship provides us with inner delight, insight and much inspiration. It gives us a peace that can distill any malady. It helps up develop strong roots so we don't break and crumble during a crisis or storm. It provides us comfort, keeps hope alive, brings us protection, makes us feel more alive and provides us constant guidance with an ever present, still, small voice. The Great Spirit is a friend like none other, a shelter and sanctuary from the storms of life. Throw your hands up in the air...

Copyright Justin Topik 2010