Daily Prompt: Describe a memory or encounter in which you considered your faith, religion, spirituality — or lack of — for the first time.
My lack of religion was a crisis two times in my life. The first time was when I was in high school, growing up in a dysfunctional family where I felt like a prisoner. I went through a series of experimental stages from Carlos Castaneda books to witchcraft (the equivalent of goth today) and finally to Christianity. The Christianity helped me through the end of high school and several years of college. Christianity, though, is a very social religion. If you’re affiliated with a formal Christian group, the pressure to have your Christian peers constantly in your face is extreme. It was a good escape for a while, but eventually my introversion caught up with me, and I fled Christianity in pursuit of some solitude.
The second time I missed not having a faith was when I was diagnosed with cancer. I didn’t have a minister or church or friend to talk to. The minister of the Unitarian Church that I was attending at the time came and visited me, but she said all of the wrong things. It’s not her fault, I’d only gone to church a couple of times and she barely knew me.
Hubby handed me a book called “The Major Religions of the World” by some guy named Burke, and I thumbed through it looking for something I could at least somewhat pursue. I picked Taoism because of its love of nature. I didn’t know where to go with it, though, and eventually began my cancer treatments and joined a Tibetan Buddhist group through a book called The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying by Sogyal Rinpoche. Here I learned how to meditate. Eventually the group pressure was too much for my introversion and I overloaded and quit, but not without having learned some of the basic principles of Buddhism and meditation. Since then I’ve taken meditation lessons from various other monks and health practitioners and read countless books and listened to audio talks.
Now I’m in search again for a religion. However, I’m in search of it deep within myself today, not outside of myself. Sometimes when I’m out walking the dog I feel a strong pull to the earth, as though there’s a force saying “HERE I AM!”. Is it Mother Earth? There are probably Earth-worshipping religions, I don’t know anything about them. But I do believe that the secret to religion for me is developing a belief in myself and a belief in the power of Mother Earth.
I admire bloggers whose faith is strong. That’s probably one reason I spend almost the entire day reading other people’s blogs. It’s inspiring to read words that are written from that deep place within the heart. I think that place is the key to faith.