The older I get the more my eyes are opened to the world around me and unlike many of my friends, the more liberal I’ve become. I read the news and see how differing opinions, different religions and variations in skin color hue are typically what wars are based on.
I am thankful that I was raised to keep my eyes focused on the person in front of me. Not the person’s outward appearance, but the person inside of the skin, inside of the clothing. I’m more interested in who that person is, what road that person has walked and what lessons that person has learned along the way. I’m looking for commonalities, not differences.
Exposure to the Jesuit/Catholic (baptized, First Communion and until I was 10 years old), Episcopalian (pre-teen and teen years), Lutheran (throughout my childhood and college years, as well as some adult exposure) and Presbyterian (adult life) churches has provided me with a great overview of what I like and don’t like about Christian organized religion.
Personally, I’ve always felt most comfortable going outside when I need peace and to re-center myself. Sitting by water or going for a walk in the woods has always been the best “medicine” for my soul. I see wonderful things in the eyes of the people I meet on park trails – peace.
I find myself becoming more of a free spirit in regard to religion or spirituality. I’ve taught my children the open-minded attitude toward others that I have. But, I’ve also taught them the basis of Christianity, as that seems to be the societal norm where I live. However, I’ve found myself going more and more toward an earthier side of spirituality. I don’t find peace in going to a church and repeating the same as others. I find peace in listening to the world, meditating and learning from others in a more open environment – not so structured.
I admire in many ways those who find comfort in religion and have their structured lives, but I am certainly not willing to fight for or against any religion. I believe we can all worship or meditate and find our own peace in our own ways without infringing on one another. Isn’t that what spirituality should be?
Through what I’ve learned, different religions have more commonalities than differences. I don’t understand the thinking that there must be just ONE religious or spiritual journey to heaven or the afterlife, the great beyond or Valhalla. What makes one believe it is the ONLY way?
You, my reader, may find me odd when I say I love to read the writings of Buddha or Lao Tzu. They make me think and reflect. They help me meditate. I look to the earth around me for signs that I am on the right (or wrong) path and have found that if I only look and listen, the answers are there.
When I was going through many difficult things last summer, everywhere I looked I saw dragonflies. They’d buzz by my head everywhere. It became so evident that I was missing something, so I began to research dragonflies. One of the most symbolic meanings of dragonflies is change. In my head I knew I needed to change a few things. I was avoiding it, delaying it. When the dragonflies began buzzing by my head in parking lots, I felt that I had to pay more attention. It was the universe talking to me and encouraging me. Letting me know that I would be okay. And I am.
Most of us speak freely of karma. What goes around, comes around.
So, why is it so difficult to speak so openly of alternate spiritual journeys? My faith is in God and also in the Earth Mother – the masculine and the feminine, the yin and the yang, the balance. It is in the universe and what it holds for me. I am free to choose and make my decisions, good, bad and, ugh, ugly. I will face the effect of my decisions. If things are meant to be, I believe they will be. We are all provided with what we need, maybe not what we want, but what we need.
I am enjoying this spiritual path. I’d love to hear from others who have explored different options. Not ever intending to criticize any religion. We all are here to teach one another, continuing to learn and share as much as we can. We are all delicately intertwined and do make a difference when we open up and can, without hesitation, speak about what is in our minds and our hearts.
The dragonflies haven’t been seen since I made some changes in my life. Maybe they are only bugs to you, but to me they were a sign and I’m happy that I paid attention.
Now I need to research hawks again. They have been everywhere.