wow. writing a post about religion and spirituality, and what they mean to me, was a lot more time consuming and harder than i thought. religion is such a hot button topic, and you have to choose your words carefully. i really hope i don't offend anyone, as that was certainly not my intention behind this post. i didn't mean to get involved in the topic of religion at all, but thought it might be helpful for me to explain my thoughts on it, since some people might be wondering, "how can you be more spiritual if you aren't religious?"
Sunday morning. The perfect time for a "become more spiritual" post. Spell check just told me I had been spelling spiritual wrong. Maybe I should write a post before I do my projects. Anyway.....
I'm not a religious person at all. And I don't want to be. Being spiritual is different than being religious. If I were religious I would have a clear and defined path based on one particular religion, which would guide me in every aspect of how I lived my life on this planet. Becoming more spiritual, as I would like to do, will include meditating, and setting aside the time to reflect on how I wish to improve my life by staying true to a strong set of morals. I want to strive to become a more positive person, and focus more on everything I am grateful for. Organized religion is flawed in my opinion. Too many believers are hypocritical. I don't think the religion or idea is at fault, it's the followers that taint the good image I might otherwise have of a particular religion.
Religion, to me, is like a comforting story. Something we tell our children to calm their fears of the unknown so they can fall asleep. The truth is, we don't know. We won't know what happens after we die until we die. A friend of mine once told me (about choosing a religion) that it's like choosing our favorite lie. Jesus Christ is no more real to me than Santa Claus. Probably once real men, great men. People started talking about these great men, re-telling these tales from generation to generation. As we all know from the game of telephone, these stories can get twisted and mis-interpreted, shaped by the experiences of the storyteller over time. The stories take on the current societal trends of the time, with vivid magic and folklore, as well as strong political undertones and fears. Don't get me wrong, I believe that religion as a whole has good intentions behind it. You can learn some great lessons from living a religious life, like selflessness, respect, obedience, patience, hope, charity, and general "goodwill towards men".
Technically I am agnostic. This means that I am open to the idea of religion being true, but without scientific proof or seeing it with my own eyeballs, I can't be certain. I have gone to church, and prayed to God, and even got baptized. But I can honestly say, I never received any answers from Him. Not a sign. Not even the image of the virgin Mary on a potato chip! I can't say that I believe with 100% certainty that I believe in ghosts and aliens, but there are too many stories by reputable people to dismiss the thought (and just think about how vast our universe is!). I get a lot of comfort from reading books about Buddhism. The words bring so much prospective on life, teaching you how to "live in the now", and engage fully in whatever you may be currently doing.
Saying you are agnostic is often tricky. Most people don't really know what agnostic means, and automatically assume that you are an atheist. An atheist is a person who doesn't believe an any sort of God or any higher power at all. They believe that this life is it, and that when we die we die. End of story. Atheists are very logical and scientific. This is not what I believe at all. I want there to be something! The idea of Heaven sounds much more appealing than rotting underground & being eaten by maggots. Even the things I don't want to believe, I still sort of do. How can you argue when you hear someone say, "the Devil is among us."?! Then again, atheists have a point. I can't rule that idea out either. If this life is all we have, we might as well make the best of it, savoring all the little morsels of happiness that we can.
Who am I to say that one religion is better than another?!
I just plan on lighting a candle each day, and taking a few moments to meditate, and write down a few things that I am grateful for in a journal. I plan on writing down my morals, and discussing them with my family as often as possible. And every day I plan to practice being a happy person, that I can be proud of when I am old. You have to strive for something. Something beyond the day to day. I will be looking forward to having that little bit of calm and peace in each and every day.