“I believe that the only true religion consists of having a good heart.” – Dalai Lama
So here we are in the thick of our life. The decisions we’ve made; whether thought out or impulsive, have brought us to where we are, and who we are. We have children, we have jobs, we have hobbies, we have way too much shit. We have lovers. We have responsibility. We have that freedom of adulthood. We’ve done some good with that and some bad with that. We’re in the thick of it.
Some days, it’s out of control. The bad days. They happen. to good people, like us. And then there’s those days when, wow, we actually have our shit together for once. Those are the glorious days. The days we imagined our whole life to look like and feel like as grownups.
But something’s missing. Theres a gap in the heart, a disconnection somewhere, a forgotten step, a sense of sadness. This feeling can’t be named. And we search and search.
I’ve been there. I found my way out.
Many individuals in our generation were raised without a set religion and as a result, spirituality. Reason being that our parents were brought up in the church; firm morals, forced religious practice, no freedom to independently explore spiritual beliefs, etc.. And while discipline and morals is not necessarily a bad thing. Spirituality is a very personal and individual experience, and to be forced into beliefs can leave a bad taste in your mouth.
So a lot of them choose to raise their own children outside of the Church. As for myself, I was baptized Catholic as an infant and my mother said “that’s a wrap!” I recall asking her as a child what religion we were. She told me I could choose any religion I want when I found what works for me. This wasn’t the answer I wanted. I wanted to “belong” somewhere. However, she was amongst the generation raised within the very disciplined catholic practice and wanted different.
My seeking of spirituality began around this time.
Lets make it clear, that spirituality is a connection to a higher power and religion is simply the tangible, practice and ritualistic component of spirituality. As you often see me write about, I formed my own connection to the moon, wind , earth, oceans and stars, which I later learned to be similar to that of Paganism. Having grandmother of native american descent, I became interested in Native American heritage and read many books. I found their, rituals and beliefs fascinating as they related to animals and nature. My other grandmother taught me about Angels, whom I prayed to nightly. My grandfather brought me to Church in the South. I revelled in participating in practices that felt ancient and full of history and was moved by the many attendants who enthusiastically waived their hands in the air and shouted “HALLELUJAH! PRAISE JESUS!” Just like in the movies. In college, my good friend brough time with her to Christian Church. I loved their joyful singing and eager devotion.
“Whenever you feel unloved, unimportant or insecure, remember to whom you belong.”
I explored many Eastern religions as well, Taoism being my favorite. The uncarved block. I practiced yoga. I lust over Greek Gods and Goddesses. The mystique of astrology. The magic of gemstones and crystals.
And in the midst of moments of madness in life, I would almost always find myself to be without any spirituality.
That’s whats missing.
Seeking spirituality is both easy and hard. No matter what facet you seek, the end product is the same, a connection to something bigger, guidance and faith in something, anything. Peace in your heart. It sounds foolproof. But where do you begin to seek religion and spirituality that is right for you?
This is something that only you can answer.
Start within yourself and take notice of what moves you. Follow that. If you can think of a time in your life in which you felt connected to something bigger, try to recognize what it was you were engaged in, such as a Church service, religious quote or psalm, social gathering, place, ritual or talisman. It may be helpful to return to that. Find a book about whatever beliefs interest your and read it, or download it to your tablet, or search it on Pinterest.
“What if our religion was each other,
If our practice was our life,
If prayer, our words.
What if the temple was the Earth,
If forests were our church,
If holy water–the rivers, lakes, and ocean.
What if meditation was our relationships,
If the teacher was life,
If wisdom was self-knowledge,
If love was the center of our being?
Pray. At the base of nearly every religious practice is prayer. Silent thoughts or words spoken in solitude. Let go of seeking who, or what, may answer and just put your intentions our there and leave your heart open. Above all, pray with your children. If anything, it will help them settle their minds, set their intentions and give thanks. Gratitude is often a shortcut to spiritual fulfillment.
Don’t be scared of new beliefs or practices that you have no experience with. You may find that certain beliefs already exist within yourself and await to be awoken.
Finally, remember that nothing has to be permanent. Thanks to centuries of improvements regarding religious freedom, your beliefs and practices can change as you go through the various stages and experiences of life
“Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.” – Aristotle