Think of god as an eternal, infinite box of puzzle pieces. Energy, (that gives all things in the universe work to do) – is eternally bringing/fluctuating these pieces into time and place (our own piece of space), much as we would pick puzzle pieces out of a box and place them on a table.
In our own lives we try to connect these pieces together. If they fit, we find in them, truth and reality. However, we often behave much like children trying to work puzzles. We attempt to force pieces together that do not fit. Then we grow frustrated and say the puzzle is no good. We blame the puzzle, rather than our inability.
Truth is always personal. When we manage to fit together the pieces of life we are given, they become ours. Some scientists call this fitting, ‘synchronicity.’ Energy gives us work to do which is personally ours; fitting together the pieces of our puzzle to express truth and reality in our lives. This demonstrates god’s care for us.
As Spinoza says, our divine duty is to obey the laws of nature (another name Spinoza gave god). Our brain adds or subtracts pieces to make a whole or takes pieces out to focus on them. When we work like this, we express the puzzle we call god.
Ordinary language operates by the use of metaphors and can often lead to some bizarre and even destructive ways of attempting to fit our puzzle together. When our lives make sense, it is because we have added or subtracted the pieces to express the whole puzzle as god. When our lives don’t make sense, it is because we have tried to cram the wrong pieces together.
Spinoza said this cramming can lead to a sickness of the mind and ultimately death. Democritus said, “To live badly is not to live but to spend a long time dying.” Spinoza wrote to give us a way to cure our intellect of this illness. AA’s 12 Steps are a practical expression of what Spinoza taught.
My particular illness or addiction is academic arrogance. I rejected AA’s 12 Steps as too simple and naive. God was an abstraction in my life. I could not find the freedom Spinoza says comes from a cured intellect until I realized god was the only way I could fit the pieces of my life together.
AA isn’t concerned with an abstract discussion of god but only with the why, when and how of our need for god. These are the first 3 Steps of AA. When I took them, the pieces in my life began to fit together and make sense.
Step 4 led me to this understanding. Steps 5-9 made this understanding practical. Steps 10-12 are part of my day by day work. As Spinoza says, my duty is to:
1) taste union with god 2) produce true ideas in myself 3) make these ideas known to my fellows.
As to the so-called problem of evil, Spinoza says ‘good and evil’ are not in nature but are only beings of reason or relative ways we try to judge reality by our finite brains. It is not my work to put together all the pieces of every puzzle but rather to fit together the pieces that are in my life in order to express the truth that is god.
“Truth is god itself.” Spinoza