I’ve spent the past week or so thinking about my last post and the response and my response to the response. How’s that for convoluted?? And thanks to the person who DID comment because she helped me figure out a key that I may have fumbled for quite a bit longer. Figures – she’s usually good at playing that role for me.
Until now, my spiritual life has mostly been a seeking out of an experience of connection with and knowing of the divine in the multiverse. I’ve approached this seeking from a place of organized religion, then from my own journey that focused a lot on prayer (ritual/spellwork, same thing, really) and worship (offerings to the divine, learning the stories, acknowledging the gifts and lessons). Those are the ways we’re often led to reach out to this thing we call by so many names, and which seems best defined as the divine.
Focusing on prayer and worship led to a lot of me worrying about doing things the right way, and a lot of enjoying the pomp and circumstance, as well as the intellectual engagement via research. And yet in the midst of prayer (ritual, community), I have felt that connection and it is truly magickal and ecstatic in that space. I have also felt the connection when I’m in touch with the wild world around me, mostly in deep green places like the PNW. I realized last night that this is what I’m missing – the connection. And it doesn’t come from a book or a ritual outline or a particular story of a divine being. It comes from an inner opening that is really tough for me to make right now.
My draw to Jesus is that he was on the same journey. So rather than worship Christ, I’m more interested in his connection and how it happened. I’d rather have similar experiences than stop at admiring (worshiping) the person who did the same work I’m trying to do. I’d rather learn from him than put him on a pedestal. This is how I feel about other people who have a deep spiritual connection, and frankly, it helps me a great deal to see them as human, to know their struggles, to know their moments of doubt as well as their moments of connection. The most prevalent model in ALL faith traditions I’ve worked with is not to do this, but rather to make them more than human and to be threatened by their stories of struggle.
Look at how people reacted to “The Last Temptation of Christ” or “Dogma” for an illustration of this. Also, look to how many spiritual leaders talk about their struggles as if they were in the past (and conquered) rather than an ongoing part of the work. There’s a reason for this, and I think it’s deeply rooted in our psyches. Many people want to believe there is an end to the struggle, so they want to believe in people who seem to transcend the struggle. I’ve noticed this in all faiths I see practiced around me, and I think it’s simply part of the human condition. It’s good to remember the difference between practice and mastery. I think one may be an illusion.
I spent the past week looking for books or discussions on connecting with the divine. They’re out there, but they’re buried underneath a pile of books about worship and prayer, the needle in the haystack. I would deeply love to find a community that’s interested in this same kind of work, and interested in doing it in a way that honors the vastness of the divine and all the ways it manifests. I would also deeply love finding that connection again on my own. I think that I’m starting to see how to do that, but I still have a long way to go. Right now I feel like I’m still heading away from the places I’ve known towards a place I sort of sense is there, but really won’t know until I find it. Not exactly comforting, but it feels right.