Category Archives: Spiritual Wanderlust
Meanderings and explorations along unconventional paths. (At least they’re unconventional to me.)
Lately I’ve been reading a lot about New Age spirituality, which is about way more than wearing crystals and listening to Enya. The worldview that underpins New Age thinking is diverse and spiritually rich – whether you take it as truth about our metaphysical world or just a good fantasy story. To some it’s myth, and to some it’s fact, but either way it’s fascinating.
It’s been more than two months since I last posted at Experience Pearls. I’ve been busy at work, tutoring children in various school subjects (mostly math, French, and reading/writing). For a while it seemed like this would become one of those orphan blogs you sometimes see in Google searches: the ones that have obviously been left behind, victims of their creators’ busy lives, to float in the online ether.
What’s more, I’ve been sort of spiritually uncertain, a little bit at a loss. How do you get your spiritual groove back when you’ve been going through a particularly crazy time of it, and you’re no longer entirely sure what you believe? There’s been a lot of change in my life, and as I try to reorganize myself around a series of new ways to interact with the world, I also need to figure out a new way to interact with the divine.
That will be the focus of my blog going forward: how do I work my spiritual side into my daily life when I don’t even know how to characterize my faith? Where do my new beliefs and my spiritual heritage interact? Where do the old and the new meet? My interior life has changed. Now I have to figure out how to bring that new inner skin into contact with the spirit that lives outside of me – the God that my old self knew, but my new self needs to reimagine with all-new assumptions.
And of course, there are some things that haven’t changed. I’m still fascinated by fundamentalism of all kinds, still interested in how people live out their beliefs, and even sometimes gobsmacked by the crazy things people take as straight-up, Gospel truth. There’s a lot to explore in all that, and I welcome everybody who’s interested in exploring it with me as I do my best to take it outside the box.
I’ve been pretty interested in atheism lately. I’m not an atheist. I’m pretty sure I’m not even agnostic; I believe in God.
But I just keep listening to what the secular humanist community has to say . . . and I think maybe I might be a humanist.
Is there any such thing as a religious humanist? Are there other people who actually think of themselves this way? I’m not really sure. Most of the people I’ve heard speaking about their embrace of humanism are pretty strong in their denial of God’s existence. But I’ve learned that the God they don’t believe in is the same one I reject.
Dr. Ronald Moglia, in some of his writing, tells a story about a visit to Sri Lanka:
We had to take a ride; it was only about 30 or 40 miles, but it was across country. In Sri Lanka that takes about seven hours by car. We didn’t know that, so we kept asking the driver, “What time will we get there?” He kept saying, “Oh, soon, fine, pretty soon, just a little while now”. The next day I told a medical colleague who’s Sri Lankan, “I’m amazed at how people don’t care about time here!” And I related the story.
He started to laugh and said, “You don’t understand. Time is in God’s hands. If that driver said, ‘We’ll be there in six hours,’ he’s taking God’s right to determine how long it’s going to take to make that trip.” How stupid of me, to take my values and cultural learnings and throw it on this person’s shoulders.
Lately I’ve been feeling the impulse to pray – sometimes just at random or when I learn of someone else’s misfortune and want to send good wishes for them into the universe, and sometimes as a way to get through some of the more difficult moments of my daily life. I close my eyes, focus my thoughts, and search for the words that will put me in touch with the divine.
That’s when I run into a bit of a problem. All the prayers I know are Catholic.
So I chickened out of church yesterday. I came up with a bunch of excuses (from the wrong shoes to the wrong frame of mind) but the truth is that I really just didn’t feel like it fit. It didn’t feel right. Maybe it was because I took the Beliefnet Belief-O-Matic test and learned that the only religion that fits me less than the one I was born to is Seventh-Day Adventist. (Read my results in my spiritual profile.) Maybe I was just feeling prickly for reasons that had nothing to do with my religious history.
But in any case, I didn’t go. Okay . . . now what?
I think it’s important for me to go and get a better sense of where I stand in relationship to the Church and its rituals. What works for me? What doesn’t? I know I love the ritual of Catholicism, but so many parts of it tie to things I don’t believe. Can I incorporate it into my at-home spiritual life? If I don’t have a church community and a regular place and time for worship like the Mass provides, will I bother?
There’s only one way to find out, I guess, so I’m committing to this. Next week I’ll be back in town, and I’ll attend the noon Mass at the local cathedral, the one I’ve always found so moving and awe-inspiring. I won’t let myself be intimidated . . . although venerable old churches can be quite intimidating when you know just how heretical you’ve become! But I’ll be there, and I’ll monitor my reactions to see what I can learn about my own spiritual self, about what I need and what holds me back in my quest to get closer to God.