Image by SamHakes, used with permission.
Talk of us and them.
I'm an inside outsider,
Praying for meaning.
For a long time I've felt like an outsider when it comes to religion. I remember going to church for the last time in 11 years. I sat there crying and no one noticed; they were too busy gossiping and worrying about their fancy outfits. When I was a child I asked my father how the Bible can be 100% correct if imperfect people wrote it. My father said that God watched over the men and didn't let them make mistakes. Why does God let bad things happen in church? Why do corrupt churches that have lost sight of the important stuff still rake in the money? Why doesn't God stop the atrocities that happen in the name of religion? All of these are unanswerable questions.
I was recently called an atheist by a friend. The label took me by surprise. Although there are a lot of things I've been called over the years, atheist was never one of them. I quickly corrected my friend that I'm not an atheist, but my lingering doubts about religion remain. After all, I think that none of us really know what we're doing, and we're just trying to help each other along the path. It truly is the blind leading the blind.
One thing that I find distasteful about religion is the "us" versus "them" mentality. My friend Maria thinks she's a super Christian, but she hates gay people and people of other religions. She has not talked to me in six months since I told her that I was taking care of my gay friend who had heart surgery. I disagree with Maria's opinions, but the problem is that there are millions of people that believe the same exact things that she does. These people are lost and using religion to justify hate. I've even heard people with Buddhist beliefs saying things that definitely aren't so Buddhist. We're all imperfect. All we can do is to try to live the best life that we can.
I have never been one to make new year's resolutions, but this year I am going to make more of an effort to find a spiritual practice. I am a bad Buddhist. I rarely meditate, believe in the sangha but don't have one, and I don't know very much about Buddhist history. I'm seriously thinking about taking a local Buddhist class or an online Buddhist class and I'm going to try to develop a regular meditation practice. One way I plan to stay honest about my meditation practice is through my friends at Online Meditation Crew. When you see @stereonoire using the #OMCru hashtag, you will know what I'm up to. I also want to continue to work on my health and develop more of a connection with nature. Tomorrow is my first pickup of fruits and veggies from the organic buying club! I plan to write all about it on Et tu, Tofu, so check there in a day or two to see the results. I am so excited about it and just know I'm going to love the great fruits and veggies.
Do you have any resolutions? How do you define and deepen your spiritual practice(es)? What are your favorite spiritual activities?