I have, and continue to be, on a long journey in my deconstruction and reconstruction in my spirituality.
I didn’t predict that this would happen, and I didn’t force it to happen. It just did.
I am happy for the better of it, and yet at the same time there comes some pain and anxiety about leaving things behind for the pursuit of what is ahead.
Nostalgia is a reality for many of us. We like to think of their “good ‘ol times” and “the way things were.” For all of us it seems like our younger years were simpler times when things didn’t seem as complicated, messy, or chaotic. We wish we could go back but we know that time does not work that way.
That’s how I feel sometimes moving away from the faith of my childhood to my spirituality of today. Things seemed simpler, less messy. Yet, I didn’t realize until I examined my faith further; until I learned what it really means to be a person of faith; until I gained knowledge and wisdom about what my faith entailed... that my faith isn’t what I thought it was at all.
I grew up believing that my former faith was rock solid. That faith can be certain. That faith was black and white. That faith knew all the answers to all of the questions. That faith was consistent.
Yet, the more I read. The more I studied. The more I sought wisdom. The more I lived and the more I reasoned... I realized that faith isn’t any of those things. True religion isn’t any of those things.
True religion is indeed paradoxical. It is grounded but it is uncertain. It is well entrenched in the gray and cannot find itself most times in the black or white. It doesn’t answer all of life’s questions, because many times the questions are more powerful and more important than the answers. Faith isn’t consistent insomuch that Sacred Text is valuable, but it isn’t always right. Sacred Text endorses many things we would balk at today and it condemns things we see as intrinsically worthy.
Faith, in its essence, is non-dualistic. It is not us vs. them, it is not this or that, it is not here or there. Faith finds itself grappling with the revelation that all things consist: that the Divine Presence is in all things. This wisdom is hard to grasp because our minds so instinctively want to be drawn to the dualistic way of thinking. Humanity is tribal in nature: it seeks to fit into each other and at the same time be against the other. We seek a foundation so we are drawn to religion, or philosophy, or science, or whatever gives us meaning in how to discern what this world and universe is and what our place is in it.
Yet, the Divine calls for all things to be reconciled unto itself. Creation and Creator united as one. That truth should strike us. I still hold to a spirituality rooted in the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth: the Christ. Yet, a cursory reading of scripture was not sufficient to understand the greater things my soul and spirit was seeking. Yet as my empathic self was growing, my dogmatic/ideological self was shrinking. I realized that the greatest truth there is is love. Love defined by the Divine in the Divine’s creation of the world, specifically the creation of humanity. The Divine Spirit that breathes life into us and into the world and is moved by unconditional, uncontainable, undefiled love.
Whenever we lose sight of love to fall into the dualistic way of thinking, the tribalistic temptation of belonging, the excluding of the other, violence toward our perceived enemies, and all other forms of evil such as rejection, oppression, and enslavement... we fail to rest in the Divine’s purpose and plan.
May we always choose love and may we always choose rest in the Divine.