For a while I believed that my reluctance to want to belong to any particular religion (or non-religion even – never liked the term atheist…..) was the result of late-onset teenage rebellion. It’s not like I’ve never made an effort to understand any of these rule-laden, guided and spelled-out clans it’s just that they all, without fail wind me up and leave me with more questions along the lines of “what’s the point’, ‘and how is that better/ different to what I’m saying” or ‘but why would YOUR God not like people because of X, Y or Z”.
To me the detail just seems too un-natural, too formulated and too out-sourced.
After thinking, reading, researching, talking and listening to anyone and anything that looked like it might have an answer over the last couple of years I think I’ve at least come to accept and understand what makes me tick spiritually. I’m not saying it’s right and I’m definitely not saying that anyone else is wrong but what I am saying is that this works for me and as such I am convinced that with this understanding in mind I will go on to grow and love and share more than I would have been otherwise able.
So, my thing is ‘un-branded (or umbrella if it is particularly wet) spirituality and by the way, I don’t actually call it that either but I can’t call this post ‘_______’ as that isn’t practical. This probably isn’t any different to many other people (I never set out to be unique) but in my case the underlying philosophy is a dislike for name tags.
I have always felt that in some cases giving something a name doesn’t quite do it justice. For me ‘God’ is one of those things. I may just be one of those painful people who when asked ‘do you believe in God’ answer with a ‘tell me what/ who god is and I’ll tell you if I believe that” rather than just jumping to a yes or no answer. This usually leads to a bit of eye rolling and maybe even a ‘who do you think you are to think you are’ response from a person who is used to either getting a yes or no tick-in-the-box response which is then used to base other judgements of character from. I am difficult, I am A.N.Other.
But I don’t mean to be awkward and neither do I mean to sound like ‘my God is better than your God’. I just find the details behind people’s faith, spirituality and religion extremely interesting – whatever they believe. In my eyes it is a persons spirituality that gives them their sparkle and makes them human and who am I to judge if being a Muslim is more or less valid than being a Jedi. It is just that I’ve found that when asked to explain to me what/ who God is, many people find it very, very hard. I truly wonder why……
So back to my Un-branded spirituality. When we give something a name, being human we start to form a relationship with ‘it’. We attach personal characteristics to it, we refer to it as if it were a friend that we know and understand – as if ‘it’ were something that we own a piece of. Sometimes we stop going to it to learn and start learning about it from other people. We may borrow books about it, talk to friends about it and even start-up our own club based on the bits of it that we like best. This fits well with our modern rush-a-minute lifestyle and enables us to tick-the-box and move on, happy that we are learning a little more about it each day from whatever media channel we tap into. We forget that the further down the stream we get, the more diluted the message becomes. We may stop being intuitive and as a consequence may start to doubt our own judgement or feelings. Under those circumstances it all seems very counter productive and even a little co-dependent – why think for yourself when look, someone else has done it for you…
My spirituality comes from the absolute power and beauty that is nature. It is all there, laid out before us in a wonderfully passionate dance. There is pain, pleasure, birth and death all playing out day after day, week after week and year after year. Shifting slowly but with a purpose that is both vital and nobel. Our modern lives have enabled us to choose how closely we join with this dance. Will we watch in wonder through our air-conditioned turreted apartments and office blocks or will we live as one with nature lapping at our doorstep?
The main problem with this approach is a seeming lack of a set of rules or moral guidelines but that isn’t so. If we open our eyes and step carefully out into the world we can clearly see right from wrong in any given situation. We know it because we feel it. If we hurt someone or something else we hurt ourselves. If we take too much we live with the consequence of a life out of balance. It is all there laid out but to see it we need to open our eyes, own our space and take responsibility for our actions and in-actions. There is nowhere to hide and the day-of-reckoning is every day from sun rise to sun set and every second in-between. It is as unforgiving as it is kind.
And so that is it really. I now believe that my leaning towards un-branded spirituality has been borne out of a desire to understand openly, freely and without pre-conceived ideas what role I play in the grand scheme of things. For me it is not a question of being wrong or right, better or worse, more or less worthy. It is a matter of feeling and for me, this feels respectful, right and honest.
So, what makes you tick spiritually and how does that help you to Realize Beauty?