Ask Deepak: Confused About Faith and Seeking Answers
By Deepak Chopra
March 03, 2010
Each week, spiritual teacher Deepak Chopra responds to Oprah.com users' questions with enlightening advice to help them live their best lives.
Q: I have been searching for "God" for several years. I have been on antidepressants for the biggest part of my life. I am recovering from alcoholism and am following a 12-step program. I have felt the presence of God before, and the feeling was so awesome, but fleeting. I work as a nurse in hospice, and I can see other people's concept of God comforting for them, but I can no longer connect with a greater consciousness. I don't believe in God anymore. I believe more in the science of things: the Big Bang theory, evolution and that there is no afterlife. It's a very lonely feeling, but why pray? I would like to find another concept of God that I can hope for. What do atheists have to hope for? When I pray, I feel like I'm talking to myself! What happens when we pray? I know there are no right and wrong answers, but maybe another way to see the meaning of life without a "heavenly father."
— Laura D., Bloomingdale, Indiana
I think many readers will empathize with you and would put their situation in the same terms. It's much easier to walk out of a church or temple than to find a new place to walk in. You may expect that I have a long spiritual answer for you. Let me cut it short by referring you to Life After Death, a book I wrote in order to give the most thorough argument for the afterlife that I could find. Because you are around the dying all the time, it would help for you to go deeply into this subject. You don't have the luxury of escaping it, which is what most people do. Nor is it an idle topic. Much in your life depends on sorting out the relationship between life and death.
As for finding God, I think for you the best thing would be to solve your lonely feeling first. Even though you don't live in a major city, I'm sure that there are groups or churches somewhere nearby where people would welcome you on the terms you offer: You are a troubled seeker who wants new answers. So are they. Find the like-minded and experience fellowship and support from them. You are a born helper. It's time you helped yourself by nourishing the part of you that wants to belong and be comforted. The God part comes in due course.