Principles of a Non-Religion
I feel like affirming and adding onto a sentiment made by the beloved saint Anne Frank. That in spite of all the pains they can inflict, it is better to have the truths and insights religions can bring than to be left entirely in the dark without them.
And so it is I’d like to formally introduce a belief system that’s existed for a while (especially since the 70’s and 80’s) that’s been mocked and kept to the shadows until now with its absorption into the daily lives of many without trying. I can’t call it a religion. Mostly because it isn’t one. Instead a lot of the attributes of this “belief system” are, on principle, not regimented that way.
They call it “New Age”, which has annoying connotations. I call it Spiritualism because it gets further to the heart of what it entails.
This faith system is hard to describe and reign in. It flows like water where others stand as stone.
On Principle, ANY person can indiscriminately participate in this faith.
On Principle, any person of this faith can believe anything they want. This includes and exemplifies the right to believe and validate the truths of many religions.
On Principle, the values of this faith are centered around: Peace, Empathetic Compassion, Truth, Divinity, and Creativity. Non-violence is its necessity.
You can be a Jewish person who also sees validity in Native American beliefs.
You can be a Hindu that also sees value in Christian teachings.
You can be a Muslim that also adheres to the teachings of Buddha.
You can be an anything that also considers himself/herself a something else.
In spite of the many iterations and combos that are possible, by some miracle most “new agers” tend to have alignment with a lot of the same beliefs.
I met a Catholic woman who did spiritual healing using meditation and chakras. I met a woman who acknowledged Heaven, angels, Christ, and reincarnation. I met woman who practiced Native American beliefs, but also drew a great deal from Celtic understandings. (Russell Brand is Christian and Hindu. I could probably name other celebrities, but some are less pronounced than others in all honesty. Russell takes pride in being open about his thoughts –including his beliefs.)
ALL spiritualists that I’ve met have DEEP reverence for that which is sacred –even if it’s sacred to someone else. They pay homage to past faiths and cultures and have great respect for the beliefs of others. Every time you meet with a member of this group you gain and you give in equal measure. They a purposely curious about the way you see the world, that their line of sight may be broadened.
Above all, the spiritual “presence” and clairvoyance of these people is off the charts. I tend to include myself in this as well. You can read them very easily and information passes swiftly between you. There is a drawing and a connection made there.
Every once in a while you’ll meet someone who’s a bit “too out-there”, but that’s usually because that’s what happens when you delve more into another realm than this one. Heaven isn’t normal. Heaven isn’t mundane and ordinary. You don’t sit at a desk stapling papers together in Heaven. It’s different. And the people who connect to it that deeply are going to be different as well. They’re going to be weird in a wondrous kind of way.
Rituals v. Spirituality
I can understand why some people do spiritual practices. Some people attend church, some people mediate, and some people create alters and pray before them daily. We are creatures of habit. My problem with rituals comes when habit is all these practices devolve into.
I compare it to saying the Pledge of Allegiance every morning in elementary school. “I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United states of America… and to the republic for which it stands… one nation, under God, indivisible (until recently -actually ALWAYS)… with liberty and justice for all (except those who are black or can’t afford it)”.
There were moments when it was recited and the entire time I was thinking about peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Other times I did genuinely mean it, but it was hard to express that sincerity, given my script was written for me. There were times I wanted to go off the beaten path and say, “No but really, I do care for this country and the people in it. We have it pretty great here all things considered. We’re a work in progress, but progress IS being made…”
This is the trouble with ritualistic practice. It leaves no room for creative influence, intuition, and often sincerity. Spirituality is usually a lot more fluid and harder to reign in. Every once in a while my day-to-day routine will be abruptly shifted because of intuition.
Wanted to leave my desk at work. Wanted to leave it. Wanted to go. Needed to go somewhere. Anywhere. Just go. So I did. Down the stairs to the cafeteria room. BINGO! Donuts. I kid you not, they placed donuts down there the second I stepped in the room. And I got first dibbs!!!
God bless intuition. Any time you fall for ritualistic practice ask yourself, “What donuts does God want to lead me to that I am not accessing right now because I’d rather control the situation and force myself to perform ritualistic acts instead.”
You can’t reign in the soul. It was never intended for that. You have to let it find its own way.
Thoughts on Affirmations + “Happiness”
For reasons explained in the previous paragraphs –not a big fan of affirmations. They bother me. Most of the time I don’t understand them. People have varying definitions on what they are and it tends to confuse.
My definition of an affirmation is something like, “I am empowered and can create anything I want in this life.” It’s supposed to be an empowering, self-affirming statement. “I am surrounded by an abundance of love and divine radiance”. I don’t like it.
And this is something I grappled with 2 weeks ago. Is it a negative thing out of alignment with Heaven, or a positive thing that comes from Heaven? This weird attitude/vibe you get from some spiritual people others might call “hippies”? It’s this weird happy-go-lucky, summer camp singing kumbaya by the camp fire, Big Bird from Sesame Street talking to little kids… it’s THAT vibe. And I tried to compare it to Mr. Rogers but then realized that although he talked slowly, even he didn’t actually carry himself in that way. Sorry Mr. Rogers!
And I ultimately decided that it was the way some adults talk to CHILDREN. And they talk that way because they view children as delicate bundles of innocence that would be tainted otherwise. Which is why I “suck” at talking to kids because I refuse to do that. I talk to them squarely in the eye as if they were adults and extend them that same line of respect. I HATED when adults talked to me that way. It’s demeaning past a certain point.
And yet that “lisp” rolls around on people’s tongues every once in a while when they start talking about stuff like, “We are all children of radiant moonbeams and starlight sparkles…”
Anyways. Affirmations are only of use when they’re genuine. Do it for yourself and no one else when You decide you really want to.
Which brings us to HAPPINESS.I hate “happiness”.
I like joy though. Genuine, sincere, real, utterly liberating, deeply contented in the moment JOY.
Happiness as it has been manufactured to people has devolved into those shoes you just absolutely need from DSW and that new car to match your Gucci bracelet and that one brand of ice cream –and ONLY that brand!
Happiness is a commercial intended to distract the deeply discontented.
I said it.