Monday, June 28, 2010

Prayer and Meditation and Practicality

I have been all over the place, spiritually, lately. Sometimes I put out requests to the Universe expressed in the format of "I hope that..." Other times, I have acknowledged that I do still believe in Jesus Christ as a manifestation of the divine and I pray to him.
I have also been practicing some basic meditation...I sit quietly and as I am mindful of my breathing, thoughts come to my head, I perceive them and let them go.
These kinds of mental exercises are beneficial to me. They help me remove fear and anger. They give me hope and courage.
As a traditional Christian, I was an angry person. I was angry at God the father. I could get along with Jesus and the spirit but some of the things accredited to God angered me. I then became fearful that I would be chastised through adverse circumstances to become a more humble and obedient Christian. What's the point of praying about things in that kind of a setup?
Sometimes I still have these anger/fear thoughts, leftovers from a flawed system of belief.
The flaws are within me. Much of religion, or lack thereof, is filtered through my life experiences.
Organized religion is flawed too. Sometimes religion is good and sometimes bad but that is not my battle or my axe to grind.
I want to acknowledge the divine but I also firmly believe that my choices, what I do with the circumstances of my life, can decide the outcomes while I exist on this planet. Circumstances (health, parentage, etc.) are what they are. Find otherworldly reasons for them or not but find out what you can do to be reasonably content and successful.
I see that things are orderly, that there is cause and effect. I would like it if there were a few miracles in my life right now but I continue to work towards what I want out of this life and I also work towards being of service to others. That is a part of my ever-developing Code of finding meaning as a human. I hope for a balanced life and that is within my grasp.

Friday, June 25, 2010

A Conversation and Some Trembling

I had a looooooong conversation with a Christian who is close to me about all of this and I have come to a couple of conclusions:
-I would tremble to deny that there is a higher power in this Universe. At a gut-level, it would feel like playing with fire...not so much in fear of divine retribution but that some sort of "just desserts" might be served to preserve cosmic balance and declare me a fool.
-Who am I to say that there is no higher power?

I have moved another notch in the rebuilding of my spiritual beliefs from atheist to agnostic.

I have been studying eastern religion for a few months now but I find my interest swaying back to Jesus Christ. Who was (is?) this man?
And what of the trinity, particularly the Holy Spirit? It hit me like lightning the other day-the idea that the Universe, chi, the collective, whatever that divine massive thing is may be also called the Holy Spirit.
Is this Spirit the creative force and the producer of the basis for our ideas of prophets and gods? Is this the divine spark that resides within all beings?
Is truth all-inclusive? Can the truth of one religion be the truth of another? Or are they set against each other?

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

A Case of the Whys and Beyond

It's the Whys that undid most of my religious beliefs. None of them could stand up to that eternal, infernal question: "WHY?"
My main concern is the reconciliation of the idea of a loving, benevolent Father God (in other words, the Father God of the Christian trinity) with the things that happen in this world-the unspeakable crimes we human beings visit upon one another, the disasters, the infirmities, just the sheer bad luck that some people find themselves up against.
Now, I know I've been down this road before but I have one more question to heap onto the pile.
Why would this loving Father God reveal Himself through one man in one relatively small geographical area with only one way to be saved?
What of the millions who have not comprehended Christ in the past, in the present and maybe in the future? If I have studied the Bible correctly, those who have not accepted Christ as their savior are condemned to hell.
How does this concept of eternal torture line up with the concept of a God who gave us free will so that He would be truly loved? Why would he condemn perhaps over 3/4 of his creation, His children, if you will, to hell? And many having already lived a sort of hell on earth due to the general human condition would now be spending eternity in the hell created by "Father God."
I can conclude one of two things:
1. We are under the control of a God who truly is to be feared.
2. This concept of God is false or at least misguided.
I prefer the spiritual world described in the "Big Book" of Alcoholics Anonymous. It is described as "roomy and all-inclusive." I prefer a religion that focuses upon the love that we as human beings can show one another. Love is not cornered by the Christian. I have met many loving Christians and they are some of the best people. I don't know a lot of people of other faiths because of my locale but I have read the loving words written by people of other belief systems and I know how kind and merciful some people who don't really have a big- deal belief system in place can be.
There is room for all of us, room for us to share and to journey together, to engage in mutual respect even if we don't always understand.
I have faith in the common person. the common person has a few people that he (or she) loves and he wants the best for them. He has a general goodwill towards others and maybe a few prejudices too. We are only human after all. He loves his country and wants to work towards his goals and secure things for future generations. I have faith in this common person.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Feeling Bruised

Sometimes I feel so misunderstood and unappreciated. It feels like a betrayal when those closest to me don't seem to see me as I really am and assume the worst about me. It makes me want to run away and hide. It makes me want to find a cave to lick my wounds and be alone.
I try my best to be a decent human being but I am flawed.
So, these days, I keep many aspects of myself hidden. I don't share my feelings like I used to. I pour them into this blog. I am tired of being judged by the ones I love. It hurts. I think I need some new friends.

I don't want to be...

There are traps I don't want to fall into. I see these flaws in others and I see them in myself. As one AA old-timer put it, "I'd rather be nice than right."
Don't wanna be:
a busybody
"my way or the highway"

When it comes to discussing religion (or lack thereof), there is always danger of these character flaws. ..and then there is just plain old bad manners.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Benevolent Presence

I have been pondering this for awhile now and, although I cannot prove it, I believe that there is a benevolent presence in the Universe. I believe that, at times, a type of kismet or serendipity happens because of this "presence."
Sometimes, a person will say just the thing I needed to hear. Or a little gift comes to me, something to keep me going during the tough times.
Or I show up at just the right time to be able to help a's like circumstances aligned perfectly to bring that moment to fruition.
And friends are there for me too. Even bad circumstances can produce some good.
Things happen within a positive flow of energy if I go along with it and cease struggling for my own will to be done.
I'm not sure what this Presence is. I don't think that it is omniscient. I think that it views all with compassion and helps where possible and grieves when it is unable to help.
Sometimes I think it is the collective spirit of those who have passed on and whose hearts and kind spirits still linger.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Belief-O-Matic has an unscientific little test to determine your spiritual leanings. I took it and here's mine (noting this here so I can refer back and look this stuff up or draw one out of the hat or whatever)...
1. Mahayana Buddhism
2. Neo-Pagan
3. Unitarian Universalism
4. New Age
5. Liberal Quakers
6. Theravada Buddhism
7. Mainline to Liberal Christian Protestant
8. Taoism
9. Baha'i Faith
10. Orthodox Quaker

#1 is the one I am most aligned with at 100% and #10 the least at 71%. There are seventeen more below the top 10 with the lowest being JWs at 20%. This is interesting since I was born and raised in the Jehovah's Witnesses. Hinduism is at #16 and Islam at #20. Roman Catholicism squeaks in at #26.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Look to the Future

I have been reading a book called Man's Search For Meaning. It is about the experiences of a man in the camps of the Holocaust and how he lived, day after day, month after month, with the horror inflicted on one human being by another.
He studied on the issue of human suffering. Is there a reason for suffering and can meaning be ascribed to suffering?
He seemed to think that suffering gives depth to a person's character and life. I have to reluctantly agree. I say reluctantly because I am a wimpy sort and would avoid suffering altogether if it were possible.
Deep down, I know that suffering has formed some of the deeper, better qualities of my character. I know that I would be shallow without the negative experiences in my life...and perhaps unable to enjoy the good times without the comparison of suffering.
He does not expound on religion so much as I had expected.
His will to survive seems to be based in his love for his wife (also imprisoned and of whom he had no knowledge-if she was alive or dead) and a view towards the potential future. I think that he is a religious person and that he admires faith but that did not seem to be the main focus (of course, I am only two-thirds of the way through the book)
I am going to try this view towards the future...I'll envision a probable future. I am starting school soon. I will think of when I have finished school (with excellent grades, hehe) and have a good job that provides the basics of life and a few extras. I will think of the meals I will cook in my kitchen when I own my own home (or rent a nice one, anyway). I will think of the day that my husband and I have ironed out a few of our major differences and can appreciate each other more.
I don't see this as escapism, just a new form of hope. I am shedding a couple of tears as I write this because it all seems so far away. But (borrowing from the 12-Step tradition) I know that if I do the footwork and allow the results to come to fruition in their own time, my hopes will probably come to pass.
But the present! Still gotta work on that!