Friday, July 25, 2008

BlissQuest: Trying New Religions

I plant begonias in honor of a very special great aunt.

Listening to: An obvious choice.

Today's Bliss Formula: On my way to Buffalo for the day to take lots and lots of pictures and hopefully eat some yummy food. I think I found some awesome places to photograph. Exciting.

I don't know about you, but I think I've tried just about every religion out there.

This obsession with finding some form of perfection (which is impossible, I know) started when I was quite young. I was raised basically with nothing and so went searching for something.

But I don't know...I think I would have been like this no matter what my house had been like. I know plenty of people who were raised with one thing and still turned into seekers. Perhaps we are all destined to walk the path of seeker if we are at all inquisitive and curious.

At this point in my life, I tell people I am a "ReluctantCatholic Yogi who believes in Magic."

The catholic thing is something I knew I wanted to be a part of since I was about eleven. It just is what it is. I'm not very welcome in that church since I'm a lesbian, but I know there is more to it in terms of mysticism and important ritual so I try to overlook the fact that I am, technically, "uninvited." I don't go to Mass very often but I have personal practices that I am devoted to.

The yogi thing is obvious and I am thankful that I found yoga about 14 years ago. I am even more thankful that I found Kundalini Yoga about 7 years ago.

Magic...I don't mean the casting of spells. I just believe that we are infinitely powerful beings capable of creating our worlds. So maybe I do mean casting spells -- just not the dancing naked under the moon kind.

A large part of my searching has taken place in libraries, but I've also been a visitor to all sorts of churches, and at one point, I took a year long class at a local reform temple. I've also had sessions with spiritualists -- that was a huge leap for me!

For BlissQuest today, I thought it would be fun to dare you again.

I dare you to try something new. Take a friend if that makes you feel more comfortable.

But go somewhere you've never been before. Go to a Temple service or find a Mosque. There are all sorts of pagan circles, find one. A simple phone call can confirm that they welcome guests.

The important thing is to take our searching out of books and into the real world. We'll never know what works for us if we don't experience it first hand.

Or maybe you have recently tried something new -- I would love to hear about it.


carlikup said...

Been there ...

I started that journey a long time ago. I traveled in North Africa, Europe ... you name it, I was there in quest of G-d. I was born a christian. I always had questions. I use to run to the chapel next to my house to visit the sweet nuns that lived there with my list of questions which I think were a little bit to "avant-garde" for them. I use to be a lead singer in their choir, and tears were literally running down my cheeks as I sang the Ave Maria on sundays (it sill gives me chills today, even though I am no longer a christian).

I was the child that would go take walks in the forest just so I could go contemplate and talk to G-d. I always felt G-d close to me, and in my heart. I felt within myself that G-d expected me to be a good person: not to hurt, not to steal, not to kill, not to judge etc. I felt my G-d was one of compassion.

I started questioning christianity when it started questioning people who were dear to me, including myself. First example, I was considered a bastard in their eyes, because my mother conceived me out of marriage. Then I was told that my friends, who did not believe in Jesus, would not go to heaven. I was told that children who are not baptized, don't go to heaven. I was told that my two very good and "gay" friends, Steven & Rene, would go to hell if they didn't give up their sodomistic and animalistic ways. All of this just did not sit well with me.

I started searching more and more. I traveled ~ I questioned different people ~ I converted and became orthodox ~ I covered my hair ~ I disconnected form society literally for almost 10 years. I was not better than when I was a christian. It's all the same.

I feel that "Religions" are fabricated so that we can be controlled. Sacred books are written by human beings, not by G-d. "Spirituality" and our connection to G-d, that, no one can take away from us. Our soul speaks to us, G-d speaks to us, and I feel that this is stronger than anything else. We are from a different generation, and I thank G-d for that. We are a generation that is capable of embracing what is different, accepting it. I want to be of that genetion. My husband and I are raising our children to be of that generation. Thank G-d we are in a different Era.

Who are we to say that one religion is better than another one? What proof do we have? Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Budhism ... it is all good, as long as you beliefs are not extreme to the point where you are judging and hurting other people. There's extremism everywhere. Maybe, if I were 10 years younger, and I would of had a conversation with a priest of this generation, I would of never converted, who knows. Today, in many religions, there are different branches of practice: orthodox, conservative reformed ... maybe I would have been a great reformed christian!

A very Holy and wise person told me that G-d reaches people in different ways.

Who is the great person that said that his religion is the one of Love & Compassion? ~ that's the one I choose to practice.

Miss Eagle said...

Ah, you are both sisters under the skin. A friend of mine, an Anglican cleric, once described me as having a questing spirit. And I think that description somes me up - and I somehow think that both of you are questing spirits too. What is it in us? I frequently say that we all have a religious part to us, it's just that I have the gene - inherited from my father. But then again, perhaps it is our own individual spirit. We know there is something more. We know, because we are only human, we won't find the the answers to our questions fully satisfied but our journey gives us more knowledge and teaches us valuable lessons of life and spirit. My great difficulty - and complaint about the shortcoming of Christian denominations - has been integrating my life, my spiritual journey, and my community of faith. These days at 64 I think I might (might?) have got there but perhaps it is that I have become more adept at shrugging off the stumbling blocks. And now I am considering a further integration to my Quanglican nature (Quaker/Anglican) - the Tao.

Blessings and bliss

blisschick said...

Wow. Yes, we have all been on long journeys indeed, and I agree that this makes us sisters of sorts. I like to think that religions, though, were not originally created with negative intentions. It's just that we can't know the outcome of our intentions, ya know? Mary Doria Russell writes about intentions in an amazing sci-fi work, The Sparrow, about jesuits in outerspace, which sounds utterly ridiculous but she was recently nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. Anyway, I like to think that it's just messy humans messing things up...but that underneath it all, there is some amazing stuff there, even if just metaphorically.