Friday, April 20, 2018

What I Believe

I've been meaning to write this post for a while.

It has felt like something that should be here....this blog, being a chronicle of of my life and the things I spend my time and focus on - my beliefs are a big part of that.

I realize that some of the things I share here contradict each other. One minute I'm telling you that I'm published in a Catholic book about religious miracles, and the next I'm talking about the crystals I use to meditate. I know it all sounds conflicting, and you might be left wondering what the heck it is I believe in, or what religion I follow. And I know that in telling this story, I might offend some of you, or scare some of you away, and I'm sorry for that. But this blog is an extension of me, and my beliefs are what make me who I I feel as though this story belongs here.

So if you're interested.....this is what I believe.

What I Believe |

My spiritual backstory is a large and long one, but it would take posts-and-posts to tell it, so here's the cliffs notes version: I was raised Catholic. I went to a Catholic private school until high school, and I made all the sacraments from Baptism through Marriage. I went to church - a lot. I attended more retreats than I would have liked to, including an awkward CYO gathering. I did community service. I chose a confirmation name. I gave up meat and pop for lent.

And then in my teen years and into early adulthood, I questioned a lot of the teachings and dogma of the church. I felt with my heart and soul that I knew God - that I could have a conversation with Him at any given moment, and I could feel His presence whenever I needed it. God, as I knew Him, was loving, happy, positive, kind, forgiving, unconditional - like a really attentive parent.

But anyone who was raised Catholic can tell you: that is not quite how the church makes you feel. In fact, before communion, as we prepare to intake a physical representation of God we say, "we are not worthy to receive you." Not worthy?? To me, God lives in all of us - He is what we are made of. What about that says we are not worthy? It discounts our individual existence as offspring of God Himelf. Makes us infants to the church.

Everyone's heard of Catholic guilt. It's part of our ritual. We have to do things in such a way so as to stay on God's good side. To be approved of and forgiven, over and over and over again. Excuse me for falling on my self-help terminology again, but that works fabulous for an Obliger or an Upholder. I'm a Rebel with a strong Questioner leaning - you can probably guess that dogma doesn't work so well for me. (If you have no idea what I mean by those last couple sentences, see HERE and HERE.)

I thought about converting to a less rigorous religion and joining a smaller church, but was worried I'd just end up in the same place. So I started to do some research, and a lot of self observation. And one day, in 2012, I stumbled upon this quote.

“You go to a quantum physicist and you say, “What creates the world?” And he or she will say, “Energy.”  Well, describe energy. “OK, it can never be created or destroyed, it always was, always has been, everything that ever existed always exists, it's moving into form, through form and out of form.”  You go to a theologian and ask this question, “What created the Universe” And he or she will say, “God.” OK, describe God. “Always was and always has been, never can be created or destroyed, all that ever was, always will be, always moving into form, through form and out of form.” You see, it's the same description, just different terminology.” -James Ray

This was the spark that gave me confirmation that really: it's all the same. Everything. We put different words and rituals and values on things in ways that make sense to us, but at the end of the day - we are all connected to the same higher power.

Shortly after this, I fell in love with yoga. I'd wanted to try a class for years, but never felt like it was quite right. Through a series of events, I met a yoga instructor that shared yoga with me in exactly the way I needed to learn it. Some instructors are very focused on the physical, but mine believes in including the whole body, mind, and spirit. It was the catalyst that helped me work out a lot of my pent up emotions and beliefs. It inspired me to go in search of my own clarity.

And this is what I've concluded.

People are all created from the same energetic source, as well as all that is on Earth, and what matters is how we connect to that source and use it for the greater good. Dogma doesn’t matter. Rituals only make a difference if the person performing them feels them - heart and soul. A list of rules and regulations can mean a lot to one person, and absolutely nothing to the next, and yet both can feel deeply and irrevocably connected to the same loving power.

You can call it God, or Jesus, or the Universe, or Source, or Infinite Spirit, or Divine Order, or Love. What feels the warmest and coziest in your own heart is right for you, and no religion or sacrament can make or break your connection to it. It’s personal work. It’s your own doing. We can walk like robots through the rituals we’re asked to do and be told that we’re absolved when we’re really not at all. In the same respect, we can feel connected and enlightened and forgiven our human failings without ever touching a rosary.

So I do what feels good. I pray to God. I meditate. I hold crystals in my hands to harness the energy of the Earth (both of which were created by God, right?) and visualize healing white light when I need it. I sage myself and my home when things feel off. I follow astrology and recognize patterns in the moon and the planets. (God made those too, right?) I sit in nature and seek the energetic flow of life and love. (Because God made them, right?) And once in a great, great while...I go to church.

And so, if you were to ask me what I call myself, or what it is that I practice, I'd say this.

I am a Christian that believes in the acceptance, forgiveness, and non-judging love taught by Jesus, that prefers to shy away from the church (still honoring the light that was so clearly abundant in Jesus, and not so much the smiting scarcity of the Old Testament). I believe that we are all souls, born from the same loving energy, having a human experience on Earth. And I am a novice yogi that sees the value in the vastness of loving energy, and sometimes performs funny rituals because they feel good.


If you're curious how this translates into specific hot-button issues, I'd be happy to discuss...but perhaps not publicly. ;)

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