Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Sunvarmint Goes to the Dentist: Deist Faith or Otherwise Why We All Need Prayer

(click for soundtrack) <- highly recommended accompaniment

As I lay there, with the nitrous filling my lungs, I realized one major problem with the Deist outlook on life.

I feel there is a God. There on the chair, staring into the back of the gauze, a completely unnatural place to be, the light from the dentist's super bright, War of the Worlds looking spot light glaring into my soul (rationally I know he just wanted to see my teeth) my stress level was soaring. How do people cope with this sort of thing?

I can't, couldn't let go of my conscious mind. I let the nitrous take hold, allowing the whirring and sticking and pricking and pulling within my mouth to happen. Dental work is elective. I could have walked out of there. But I want to keep my teeth until my body has no more use for them. So I tried to relax into the situation. 

Don't get me wrong, not at all, I am so thankful for the work that PEOPLE do. I lay there, with the thought going around and around in my head "Thank God these people went to school and learned how to let me keep my teeth!" For some reason (probably just the nitrous) the thought made me giggle. Of course, upon hearing what my body meant to let out as a giggle, but who knows what it sounded like to her, the dental hygienist stopped everything, leaned in and asked me if something was the matter. I tried to talk, but the left side of my face was completely numb. It came out as "Gnah, gnah, eh gnuhs gnahtted gah...gnever ind." 

But I was deep in the throes of my nitrous induced epiphanies. We need a code. We need a book. We need a mantra. Why, because when you're on the table, letting some wonderful person, use some wonderful human skill, to fix or do some wonderfully scientific thing to you, one thing that really helps, is faith. Now, for the Deist, it isn't like we can put aside our rational notion of the world, or discount the facts around us. We can't honestly adapt the mantras of the myth based religions. We can't do that and not struggle with the notion. But the knowledge that there is something else going on, that it's OK, and that some super sentience might or might not be directly observant or responsive is helpful to get through the tough spots. 

I know my Atheist friends will call this simply a self comforting delusion. I'm not going to argue that one right now. All I can say is, as I lay there, I felt safe in the hands of the professional who was doing the work, but also just needed to make contact with what is to me the greater consciousness of matter... How things work, what is the underlying nature of the mechanism of reality and what place does consciousness hold in it... At this point if consciousness isn't more than just happenstance, or the side effect of self preservation of a mass of cellular life... see, that doesn't cut it! I needed a "Yay, though we walk through the valley of the shadow of death", or, some such mantra. I needed the mental equivalent of biting on a stick, which was unavailable metaphorically and actually.   

I have always struggled with "what" the universe is. Some people might not understand this. Regardless, I have concluded that the best route for achieving this knowledge is through rational, scientific, fact based reason. We could use reason to interpret the Bible. But that won't make it for me. Because the main justification for the Bible's veracity, is...yep, the Bible. So it is a thing, that says, "I am the thing." But that thing, doesn't necessarily say that, when you interpret it. But then you get into the millions and millions of different ways people interpret the Bible. And I wouldn't even be asking the Bible question if I was raised, in, well, some place where there is a book or group claiming religious authority other than the crew I've always dealt with here in Alabama. 

So...I just wanted to get through all the whirring, grinding, semi-gagging, poking and prodding going on in my mouth. I haven't come to the conclusions that others have, either that there is no sentience listening in, or that the ancient magic manuscripts will guide us through the darkness. Hell, for the most part, we are the darkness. 

"Yay, though I struggle with knowledge, lifting and working constantly to perceive, never gluing shut mine eyes to the darkness that is ignorance and false truths, I shall not wriggle my soul in fearfulness, for something guides me, and the universe is good and God is nameless"    

I feel it in my bones that there is a sentience behind the burgeoning of existence. I'll save the debate over "what" that consciousness entails for another time. But, in order to have a point of reference. The consciousness was all around me, on and behind the dental hygienist, dentist and all up in my teeth at that moment. 

And I realized, I just need a mantra.

I need to practice breathing techniques. That's it...breathing. Something in my breathing was calming me, soothing my mind, stretching my consciousness.

All this thought made me realize breathing is a great coping mechanism. Especially, it would seem, when it consists of a steady stream of nitrous oxide.      

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