Seeing is Believing… Or Is It?
We have all heard the age-old phrase “Seeing is believing” or ” I will only believe it when I see it.” For some situations in life, I have to agree — when dealing with the material world around us. I find it especially true when dealing with people. You can only be burned so many times and then you just end up losing your faith in human nature. I’m sure that I am not the only one here who has felt that way at one time or another- and for good reasons as well.
It saddens me, however, when people use this phase when referring to the existence of the Divine (God, Goddess, any divine entity) . I have heard so many Atheists, Agnostics, and even people who claim to have faith, make comments about the divine that basically translate as, ” I will believe it when I see it.” I have also heard people crack jokes about how silly it is for an adult to have an “imaginary friend” that they continually talk to but never get a response in return.
I am a firm believer that everyone is entitled to his or her own beliefs/opinions but I really think that we should all take a look at the other side of the fence before making any rash decisions. So, despite all of the multi-faceted views on religion and/or spirituality, I have a proposal to make. I think that if people gave the divine a chance, no matter how skeptical or bent on logic they claim to be, they would discover that seeing isn’t believing, but believing is seeing. However, this “sight” is more of an emotional awareness that allows us to “see” and experience the divine. First I think we should explore the problem before we discuss a solution…
People have asked me why I believe what I believe. Why do I believe in the Ancient Egyptian Gods and Goddesses? Simply because I have ‘seen them’ by emotionally experiencing them or by feeling them? No, they did not manifest out of thin air and demand my undivided attention. Nor did they shout my name from the sky and underworld to prove to me that they really do exist.
I do not doubt that this could really occur, in one sense or another, but I have not experienced it for myself, therefore it is not the reason I have faith. So many people seem to have this expectation when it comes to deities. What seems more ridiculous to you- only believing in something if it makes itself physically apparent or having faith in something you haven’t physically seen but have emotionally experienced?
I think that knowing and experiencing the divine requires more of an effort on our part. If I was a divine entity, I wouldn’t just pop out at random times to offer people bits of wisdom and enlightenment. I would make them work for it! I’m pretty sure that all of the Gods and Goddesses, no matter what pantheon or time period they are from, would expect the same.
What concerns me is when people are new to Paganism, or any religion/spirituality for that matter, and expect to hit it off right away with every God or Goddess they choose to call upon. Some people are lucky, and a certain deity may favor them, so they get instant “results”. The deity tends to the individual and encourages him/her to form a relationship by allowing him/her to “see” the divine presence. Other times, the deity will choose to ignore the individual altogether or make the person work for results (most likely a fulfilling relationship with said deity) – the latter probably being more common.
This is why I think people have little or no faith. They just don’t want to put forth an effort to get to know a deity that they want to relate to. I have found that quite a few Pagans/ Wiccans at one point or another (myself included) tend to EXPECT Gods and Goddesses to grant desires with little effort on their part.
Yes, we can “promise” a deities that we will pay them homage in a certain manner or offer them incense, oils, foods, etc. so our wish will be granted, but to me that seems superficial and empty (again, I have done it myself, so I am by no means pointing my finger at others.) I think that we can almost relate divine relationships to relationships that we have with other people- especially significant others.
Sure, we can shower them with gifts and grant them “favors”, but there is so much more to a relationship besides that. We should learn about their personality (likes, dislikes, quirks, etc.) and how to work with them instead of against them. We should do this when relating to the divine as well and maybe we would get better results, thus strengthening our faith as we go.
I think that we have issues describing our spiritual experiences as well, so sometimes we put it on the back burner and brush it off as a coincidence or fate. My theory is that we are so used to describing material items, we are programmed to think that if we cannot describe the way something looks, sounds, smells, feels, etc. then it is illusive or does not exist at all.
For example, if I was asked to describe a rose, I would say that it is red, smells sweet, has sharp thorns, and so on. Needless to say, not too many people would describe the flower much differently.
However, if I was asked to describe the Goddess Isis, that might be a bit more difficult.
Since I have never physically seen Her, I couldn’t accurately describe Her physical attributes (hair color, skin color, clothing, eye color, etc.) unless I was basing it off of an artist’s depiction of Her. On the other hand, if I described my spiritual “sight” of Her, I would say that She is a being of light that brings me a very warm and peaceful feeling, almost as if She was my own mother.
Skeptical people might raise a brow to this description, but again, it all boils down to having faith, putting forth effort, and opening our minds to things we may not think to be possible.
So, if there is that one special deity in your life that you are not to sure about because he/she seems a tad bit illusive or you don’t know how to approach them, I say go for it! It won’t be as easy as looking at a person across the room from you and acknowledging him/her, but it will be well worth it in the end.
I suggest researching the deities that you are drawn to before you form a relationship with them. What are their attributes? What do they like/dislike? Do they have any aspects that you would like to relate to as well?
The research is the easy part. Now open your heart and your mind to them and allow their presence in your rituals or daily life…I’m sure that when the time is right, you will gain sight of them through your emotions and intuition.