Sunday, June 3, 2012

Meditation and Spirituality For The Sake Of Being Spiritual

Since my diagnosis roughly 3 months ago, the spiritual side of me has become more alert and awake. Today when I ran into my primary care physician outside of the office, he asked me how I was doing and I told him I was doing well...that I was "watching & waiting". He said how he would hate that, not being able to actively fight. He looked me in the eye then and said, "It's got to make a person religious."
For me, I do not believe that CLL has made me religious, it has made me spiritual.
I have done religious. Growing up as one of Jehovah's Witnesses, I was very religious. I was so religious that I was terrified that God was going to strike me down the day that I came to the realization that Jehovah's Witnesses do not have sole rights to "truth". I remember the day that I gathered the courage to explore other religions, other denominations within Christianity. I will never forget the fear and exhilaration that I felt when I walked through the doors of a mainstream Christian church. As a JW, we were taught that other Christian religions were of  "Christendom", and were the "Great Harlot" and that churches were houses for demons. I was overcome with emotional release at being free from what had felt like chains of mental imprisonment. I felt the love of God as He led me out. Please do not get me wrong. There are many good JW people. People with good hearts who just want to do the right thing. I just feel that they are being horribly deceived by an organization of fallible, imperfect, men.

My hunger for the spiritual has always been strong. I have always been able to find the spiritual, the awe inspiring, the amazing and unearthly in the mundane. I have always loved God. I devoured the plethora of Christian literature, music and prayers that had been off limits to me before. It was as if I had been starved for years and then thrown into an all-you-can eat buffet. I could not get enough. I had looked outside the box I had been living in, and I was in love with what I found. I felt such freedom. Freedom because no one came to my house in suit and tie to check in with me if I did not attend a meeting or get the required number of hours in the door to door ministry that month. I felt freedom because main stream Christianity seemed to love everyone. Accept everyone. Because isn't that what Christ was about? About love? About acceptance. About reaching out to those who were broken and bandaging them up?

But within a few years, I began to feel disillusioned. I looked around and realized that most of the followers of Christ, picked and chose which verses they would deem the most important, and then use those verses to make a safe and comfy world for themselves to live in. A world that was filled with people who thought just like they did. I was disillusioned when it seemed to me that the Christian "right" were the one of the most unloving, judgmental, greedy group of people around. More concerned with individual rights than taking care of their brother. More concerned with homophobia than with obesity, greed, lying...etc.

And perhaps it is my Jehovah's Witness upbringing, but I was never able to wrap my mind around hell. Hell. It is preached in most churches and is the most horrific, awful, gut wrenching, unloving, unkind teaching that anyone could dream up. I mean after all, its not as if your tortured for a moment and then you die. No. Your tortured for eternity. Without let up. Forever. And ever. For a choice you made as a broken hurting human. I've talked about it before, I know. But if God is love...then there is no hell. And if there is a hell...then God is not who He says He is.

But now, now I feel like I have opened Pandora's box, because I do not know what I believe. Who put the books of the bible together? Are they really the inspired word of God? Because if they are, there are so many questions. So very many questions. I continue to move through the questions, cherishing the journey.
 I think that God is bigger than our mistakes. I think that God is bigger than our denomination. God is more than a gender. A race. A religion. A sexual orientation. I do not think we can box God into human form, but I think that we try very hard to do just that.

Lately I have found peace in Christian Mysticism, in Meditation, chants, peace, stillness. I listen to Jewish Rabbi's and Enlightened Catholic Monks, to Buddhist teachers and spiritual philosophers. I light incense and candles and close my eyes and rest in a stillness that is so profound that I cannot give it words. I can only sense it with my spirit. A connection to life, the source of life, God, other humans, nature...a beautiful connection that requires nothing of me, except that I receive it. And I have decided that it is okay to live with the questions. Questions are part of the great experience of this life. For some, unanswerable questions are more than they can bear, and so they choose to cut the spirituality out of their life like a cancer. For me, I just keep walking towards it, because I love God. Do you think that God could be angry because we chose to worship incorrectly? I cannot put that much humanity into the Source of life.

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