For a good part of my life I have simply been trying to sift through and digest the many profound thoughts regarding spirituality. First off, I have to admire, maybe even bordering on envy, the clarity and steadfastness of the articulations of beliefs and passions on the issue as propounded by my many acquaintances. It clearly shows the prodigious amount of time and effort they must have spent trying to arrive at them.
Unfortunately for me though, my personal searches on the subject have come up with more questions than answers, though I definitely have strayed far from what we were taught in both Catechism and Theology.
I, of course, have postulated and cemented certain standards of conduct on certain things I consider crucial in my daily living of life. But I notice that they are getting to be more non-religious (based on our traditional understanding of religion), more non-secular, and more grounded in modern science which has now become more tolerant and observant of its joined-at-the-hip alliance with spirituality.
For one thing, I state that I do not believe in a personal God, i.e., a God who is a person fleshed out with feelings, emotions and qualities; though I understand that being human ourselves, we have to think in terms of what is known and familiar to us. To me, at this time and space, He is just everything I can see and perceive. For me, investing God with a "person" is synonymous to God saying, "I am God and you are not me".
A mystic seeks direct experience with the universe, not any particular entity or person. Having said that I still find myself talking to Him like a person in times of solitude and need. Childhood/adolescent experiences linger on.
Regarding evil, I have always subscribed to a quite simplistic attitude toward it by saying that it is nothing more than the misuse of free will; and since man is the only being I know that has free will, it must be man-made. I cannot say that it comes from God because I do not believe in a God that dispenses things apart of Him. But this understanding is a little bit like putting the cart before the horse. Since before we choose anything, that choice must first be available. It must pre-exist before we can choose it. We have been taught dualism - good and bad, yang and yin, form and matter, etc.
For me, realities and perceptions of realities all exist in the physical universe. Being part of that, they are all subject, with exceptions that I still cannot fully comprehend, to very strict and almost immutable laws. We are familiar with some of them and science continues to unravel them for our consumption. If we defy them, then reaction/retribution will be instantaneous. This applies to that football player who met an accident because he attempted to defy the laws of Physics. Our emotions which are bound to our physical beings in the state we are in, react similarly. The emotion of love which is good makes us grow and ecstatic, but hate which is bad is consumptive and gnaws at our beings, making us interiorly diseased. We even differentiate between healthy and unhealthy fears. But based on our limited understanding, we know that certain events defy these laws.
Lastly, consciousness or level of awareness (or call it by any name, as intelligence, mind, spirit, etc.) as a non-physical component of man I find not only very slippery to grasp but also quite intriguing. It is a quality we know each man has, quite easy to discern its different levels as manifested in different persons; yet so much unknown. Which is it? Immortal? Or eternal? Can it exist independently being an integral part of what a man is?
While all these sound ethereal, they do impact on how we as individuals handle our daily lives and our interaction with our environment, a great part of which is interacting with other people. Therefore answers to these questions will define how we handle our fears, prejudices, moral values, ambitions, even our attitudes toward money and crime.