Faith, and the Process

This year, I packed my bags to Visby without bringing any books. Nothing to read, whatsoever, actually. I thought that if I really felt inclined to read, I would surely find something. I suspected that I would have fun and be busy, and I was not wrong. However, one of the people I met recommended this book to me, and I decided to bring it back with me.

Considering my reading-pace this summer, I´m surprised I have already read it. I blame/thank the coughing cold and a sleepless night for it. And it´s an easy read. Göran Skytte´s language is that of the investigative journalist. It´s bold and simple, made to be concrete and easily understood by everybody. Sometimes I cringe a bit when it´s slightly less artful than I would expect from someone who after all took his time to write a whole book, but it´s clear that Skytte is best at home with the short and short-lived texts of the newspaper world.

The title of the book is "Omvänd" (= conversion), and it´s about his road to Christianity. Göran Skytte is known in Sweden as one of those big, burly, manly reporters who made their reputation digging up the dirt on Big Important Things, intrepid, fearless, with a massive ego to match. Womanizer. All during the 90´s he had his own tv show where he interviewed Everyone of any importance in Sweden. And for his time, he asked questions that were perhaps not that usual. Are still not that usual. About fundamental beliefs, and faith.

What I didn´t know, what no one knew, was how troubled Skytte was in his personal life. He doesn´t dwell on it, he focuses on his spiritual life, but he clearly mentions attempted suicide, years in psychiatric treatment, difficult relationships with women, debauchery. 

I confess, I was not a fan of his. I can´t tell you why, since I tend to gravitate towards the kind of television where people are given time to talk in depth, which is what he provided. Still. I don´t know. And without a warm recommendation, I never ever in a million years would have picked this one up. I did so because I am a believer in syncronicity, that one can find answers to prayers in the most unexpected places.

Göran Skytte is a confessing Christian, and I am not. That does not mean I don´t have faith. (In Swedish, the word tro means both faith and belief, which actually makes it easier for me to explain my standpoint in English.) I have faith in religious practice, and I am a religious (in my case, Christian) practitioner. However, I have no creed. I hold no particular beliefs in the nature of life, death, God. I work with what works, if that makes sense to you. It makes no sense to me to worry about and have standpoints concerning the stuff we can´t know anyway.

If you wish to pin me down, I guess I´m most like a Quaker. I would go to Meeting if there was one here where I live. I could start my own Meeting, but that is not my calling. At this time, anyway. The one person who I believe teaches the kind of religion closest to mine, and who is a great inspiration and teacher to me, is Eckhart Tolle. I think he has nailed it perfectly. When I first came across him, I thought, "that´s not new, that´s exactly the nuggets I have washed up from all my years as a searcher". But he really has the calling to shape those nuggets.

But I am digressing. I read Skytte in one sitting. What did I get from him? An injection of faith in the process, perhaps. I have lately had reason to re-evalutate a lot of my practice, I have felt old, I have felt like it´s too late for a lot of things. Skytte, being in his 60´s, is in himself a great reminder of how we remain like learning children, if we strive to live authentically and consciously. What I get is not so much a new idea, or even a new perspective, but rather an enhanced feeling. Energy. Fuel. A reminder that the process is just that. A process. That the goal is ever changing and elusive - that there is no goal. A tree does not stop growing, ever. Nor do we. The hundred-year-old platans and beeches in the Bothanical Gardens in Visby are a reminder of that.

Or perhaps there is one goal. And that is to share, and pass on.

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