From the perspective of Louisa Tanner, 35, a hypnotherapist from England.

Do you believe people arrived in their present form on Earth?
I have no idea and am still pondering that question myself. If we arrived from somewhere else and could choose our forms, would we have chosen these forms?  We aren’t really that strong: we have no armour; we’re not completely flexible; and can’t really go at any incredible speed.  We often get travel sick, too. I wonder what form I’d have us in.

Do you think a supernatural force has been guiding our evolution?
I think we are guiding ourselves, but that we are all connected. Some people talk of Prana, others of Qi – I see that we are pure energy. Energy manifested into human potential. Because I see everything as energy, it is difficult to see God as separate from us. I believe this energy that we are part of is the supernatural force. We are divine.

Does it trouble you that we descended from apes?
Not at all. Some apes seem more intelligent and in touch with their inner nature than many humans. We could learn more about ourselves by reflecting on our ancestor. Thank you, Darwin.

What does it mean to you to be human?
To live life fully; learn, embracing the change in our lives, through sorrow and deep joy.

Philosophers say that human suffering proves the existence of God, that some people must endure enormous tragedy and sadness in order to find their path to God. What do you think?
I think everyone has their own path in life and that we unconsciously encourage situations in our life to reflect the experiences we need to express who we are. Through experiencing these potentials we get reacquainted with our own divinity. For example, in my work as a hypnotherapist, it’s important for me to empathise and understand the suffering of those I’m helping. On an unconscious level, I have sought experiences that would give me this understanding.

What about the Asian tsunami of 2004 that killed around 250,000 people? In your opinion, where is a god in such a biblical natural disaster?
I’m a pantheist and see God in nature, or the natural world – energy. It is my understanding that every life form – planet Earth included – goes through natural cycles of growth and change. Much like we humans change and grow, so does Mother Earth. Nature is cyclical; life is about evolution and change. Without change there can be no life. As a human, the loss of life saddens me, and I can’t imagine how I’d feel if my own family had their lives ended through environmental catastrophe. That said, Mother Earth is a life force in itself, and for the most part enables us to live, grow and thrive.

Do you think the chaos and trouble caused by people, including wars, is the product of a Devil-derived evil or purely free will?
I think love and hate, good and bad are all parts of the energy continuum – all part of oneness. It is in our true nature to be at one and not to see the world through the duality of extremes. Wars are caused by people being attached to their own identities, and then defending them. Where one party sees black, the other sees white, and because they are attached to their separating, egoist beliefs, each party will go above and beyond to justify how right they are. The truth of the matter is, though, that everyone and no one is right. So, no, I don’t believe wars are caused by the devil. It’s caused by people who believe in good and evil. In reality, though, there is no evil; there is no good – there just is.

Why do you think the Universe is such a gigantic place, yet the only apparent intelligent life as far as we’ve been able to detect is on Earth?
Because we are looking through our own eyes, and our own perceptions. The life force of energy is the ultimate intelligence and it is all around us. Could we create our own stars that burn brightly for millions of years? Could we create the power of solar flares?  We judge intelligence based on being human and not on being energy. All the time we are looking to prove ourselves and find intelligence in a form similar to us, we are missing the answer. The answer and intelligence is all around us in the form of energy.

Scientists tell us the Universe started off from an incomprehensibly dense dot and exploded into what we see today, and is expanding. In your imagination, what did the cosmos blow up into?
In my imagination I see the same patterns repeated: more life, more diversity and dreams. Endless oneness.

Although impossible now, if a probe could reach the furthest parts of space, at the point where matter was still expanding, and if that probe could jump ahead of the matter, where would it be?
Once again my imagination is creating more of the same: an endlessness, a oneness. That’s time travel, I guess.

Atheists maintain that religion is nothing more than a fairytale and that adherents are deluding themselves. They say there’s no proof of the existence of any controlling entity or creator and that it’s foolish to believe in one. Are they deluding themselves?
We are all deluding ourselves all the time. We see things through our own perceptions, but essentially, who is to say what is the truth? There is only one thing that we share in our earthly reality and that is that our bodies will one day die. Beyond that, I focus my energies on understanding how everyone sees the world through their own perceptions and accept that their truths are right for them.

Does it worry you that your presence on Earth might be nothing more than a chance alignment of primordial amino acids and that we are totally alone and when you die, that’s the end of your consciousness?
Not at all. If we take this question from the perspective that when you die, that’s the end, then there seems to be no point in torturing yourself over the inevitable – you can choose to instead see life as a moment to be savoured. My real belief on consciousness, however, is that we are all connected, and that we are all part of the same energy. I believe that when your physical body dies, your universal consciousness – oneness – lives on. So again, I ask: What is there to fear?

What’s the wonder of being alive?
Living through our emotions and being able to experience the joy of loving, feeling gratitude – the simple things.
If you could say something directly to a God and get a direct answer, what would it be?
Thank you. And no answer required.

Filed under: The Big Questions

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