It has always been important to me how I describe who I am in terms of my spiritual philosophy. Labels in our society are given to everything and everyone, some negative, some positive. For quite a while I have not referred to myself as a “Christian”. What do you think when you hear the word? For me, it has a mostly negative connotation conjuring visions of hypocritical elitists toting Bibles and speaking “Christian-ese” In the past, I have identified with Messianic Gentile and believer, neither of which truly satisfies a core philosophy. The term New Ager makes me grimace; it has become a catchall moniker for anyone who believes contrary to western organized religion and is often said with disdain by others. Spiritual seeker or spiritualist is probably the closest I am going to get, for the moment.
“Spirit” or “spirituality” is derived from a Latin word meaning ‘air’, to breathe or breath’. Yeshua (Jesus) spoke to Nicodemus about the Holy Spirit when He told Nicodemus man needed to be born of water and of the Spirit. Organized religion has come to interpret the phrase as the first birth from the womb (water), and the second, anointed with the Spirit of God. Somehow the Biblical writers and interpreters made the leap to being “born again” and receiving salvation, being saved, and cleansed of sin. Personally, I look for the less complex and self-serving interpretation; ‘born of the spirit’, in my mind, means we come to realize we are spirit beings housed in the flesh of man and seeking to journey with the Divine or God. Most of us get to a point in our lives when we hope there is more to life than our physical existence, to believe our lives have meaning and purpose, and look for ways through which we define the meaning and purpose. Just like people come in all sizes, shapes, colors and orientations, the are many ways to journey with God.
The term ‘spirituality’ has generally positive connotations in our society, covers a broad spectrum of beliefs and philosophies, and expresses itself through our individuality. There is freedom to believe what makes the most sense to us. I will add the caveat all spiritual journeys seek our highest good, ever becoming more like the purity of the Divine expression of love, lest anyone think I advocate ‘anything goes’, including philosophies that seek to do harm to others. Probably more than anything else, the defining objective of the spiritual journey is becoming the expression of Divine love in the physical world.
Sounds all peace and love, the stuff of hippies and sharing the bong within our circle of love, doesn’t it? It kind of is, except for the bong part. I’m no radical purist by any means, I have worn a Willie Nelson tank top with a marijuana leaf and the words “Legalize It” written on the front! And, I am a firm believer in the need to legalize pot; I see no difference between consuming alcohol and smoking pot, and I believe marijuana has many valid medical uses, if a way can be found around the pharmaceutical industry getting their sticky fingers in the pot – no pun intended. Sorry, a momentary digression into a highly controversial subject! Those of us who consider themselves spiritual-seekers work to attain a higher place of understanding and relationship with God; to see the world through the eyes of love. But, what happens when life doesn’t seem so positive, when it feels like the cards are stacked against us?
We all experience crises in our lives, whether financial, health, or the loss of a loved one. We will face one or all at some point. Crises are never comfortable, and by and large, most of us perceive a crisis as negative. I cannot speak for others, but for me, I immediately begin to question my spiritual beliefs. It’s almost a knee-jerk reaction. I question if I headed down a wrong path, or if God is ‘punishing’ me for something. I have learned these are residual fears instilled by an abusive past, by continually being told God punishes our ‘sin’, whether we are aware of the ‘sin’ or not. Still, in light of the knowledge I am not being ‘punished’, the thought pops up the moment a crisis occurs. Why? Pattern, habit, and an area still needing work in my life. I can recognize it now which leads to the ability to overwrite the thought with the reality; the belief was a lie. When the thought wafts into my consciousness, it is important to immediately counter with truth. God is the purity of love and has no desire to ‘punish’. Lesson #1 in dealing with personal crisis – it isn’t your fault if your actions did not directly or indirectly lead to the crisis. Think of it this way; if I lost my job because of budget cuts or restructuring of the company I didn’t lose my job as a direct or indirect result of my actions. Life happens around us.
Search your heart, examine your thoughts. Are there long held beliefs instilled by false teachings? What are positive words of truth you can use to counter the false beliefs…..?
NOTE: I am changing the format a bit as I transition to a different blog site. The blog will no longer be known as “Unchurched”. The new site will afford readers the opportunity to subscribe to the site and receive the blogs via email, as well as expand readership. I also plan to explore varied aspects of spirituality and understanding. Stay tuned….!