I’d never seen pool played before when I was 15 and introduced to the game. A friend had a pool table and a couple of us went over to his house. Two of my friends were playing — I was just watching — when I figured out the game. “It’s just Physics and Geometry”, I thought. “Hit the ball at the right angle and the right speed and it goes in the little hole”. When my turn came — my first game — I pretty much ran the table.
Later I learned that it’s not just the angle you hit it at, but where you hit the cue ball determines “the lie”. If you hit the cue above the center-line, it rolls on after it strikes the next ball; if you hit it below the center-line it stops after striking the next ball. Either one can be good, depending on where you want the cue ball to “lie” for your next shot.
When I saw my first pro — or trick-shot guy — he made that damn ball curve, go backwards… even fly through the air! And when I saw all of that, I didn’t think: “He’s a witch! The hand of a demon moves his ball!” I just thought: “Man, that sumbitch knows a lot more about Physics and Geometry than I do!“
I didn’t think it was magic, though.
I’ve always understood that there are rules at play in the Universe; some we know about, some we don’t. Try to remember that 500 years ago Isaac Newton blew the world’s mind when he started talking about Gravity, and saying things like: “For every action there’s an equal and opposite reaction”. His laws of motion were groundbreaking, and today we take all of it for granted, but it’s really rather recent.
There’s a well known phenomenon where if two people really want to achieve a goal, and one of them repeats his goal every morning — or looks at a picture of the Mustang he wants to buy — he has a far greater chance of achieving it than the other one does. Through the recent times this has gone by many names: “Think and grow rich” (Napolean Hill), “The power of positive thinking” (Norman Vincent Peale), “Thoughts become things” (Mike Dooley), “The law of attraction”… There are even people who say if you believe something strongly enough, you actually bend reality, or manifest things into being (Don Miguel Ruiz).
I’m living in a tent right now, and it’s been raining a lot. At 56 years old I have to go pee several times a night, and it’s not a lot of fun to put shoes and socks on just for a 30 second tinkle, but less fun to tromp through the mud and track it back into the tent (I refuse to wear shoes without socks. It’s just wrong). So Thursday last I decided to buy some flip-flops. I had the money and was going to Walmart after work the next day anyway, so I decided I would buy them there. At that point there was nothing the Universe could do to stop me from having flip-flops come nightfall, Friday.
But when I got to the bus stop Friday morning — in front of the Walgreens — there was a Walgreens bag tied up with no one around. When I looked in it there was a pair of flip-flops — marked 9 1/2, just my size — with the receipt still in the bag. Some people might say “That was the hand of God!”, but I just believe that I squeezed the Universe into a position where it was not possible to deny me the shoes, and just as easy to give them to me. The Universe and my course of action remained unchanged. I still had to go to Walmart that night for my other stuff. The only thing that changed was I had an extra $8.50 at the end of the day. Small potatoes.
Things like this have happened to me enough times in my life that it doesn’t even phase me. I don’t jump up and down and yell “God Loves Me!” even if it’s something substantially bigger than sandals. It’s like if your opponent sees that checkmate is inevitable and concedes the game by tipping his king over, he’s not doing something magnanimous that you need to thank him profusely for, he’s just acknowledging that you’ve already won. You don’t have to make the last 2 moves for your victory to be real.
After Einstein published his “Theory of Relativity”, he began work on something called the “Unified Field Theory”. He never finished it, but he had set out to prove that Mathematics, Music, Chemistry, Physics, Religion… They were all the same thing, expressed in a different manner. Most importantly, the same rules applied in all of them. Christianity says: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”, Eastern religions say “Karma is the universe giving back to you what you gave out”, and Physics says: “For every action there’s an equal and opposite reaction”.
Einstein died before he finished the Unified Field Theory, but a fellow named Thomas Campbell picked it up and wrote a trilogy called “My Big Toe”. Toe being “Theory Of Everything”. It’s a very readable set of books, and I highly recommend them.
So when I see people getting better results than I’m getting in life — and they start spouting about “God’s Love” — I don’t think “I should believe as they do!“. I just think: “Man, that sumbitch knows a lot more about the rules of Life than I do!” I figure they’re following a set of rules that are (in many ways) closer to the best way of doing things. When they talk about the Power of Prayer, they aren’t necessarily attributing their successes to the right thing, but I’m not sure that matters. It’s human nature to anthropomorphize: including giving human qualities (like a beard, benevolence and compassion) to the laws that govern the universe.
So if you want to see the Face of God, you should probably just study Physics, since that’s the field we’ve made the most headway in. We haven’t made any headway in religion in several thousand years. Or you could just play a game of billiards. God is everywhere.