Monday, 6 June 2016

sticking to the basics

As I become older I have become less formally religious and more spiritually-minded. This has meant abandoning a lot of the trappings of religion and adopting a wider and less intransigent view of the role of the divine in my life.

Let’s admit something: we don’t know anything about the nature of God. We cannot even conceptualize it because it is beyond our abilities as human beings. So it comes down to faith and the idea that we come from somewhere and our life is supposed to have meaning.

We have all sat there and stared up at the stars reflecting on the vastness and nature of the universe. Everything operates like a Swiss watch and yet there is randomness and chaos at the same time. It is hard to deny that there is vast intelligence behind it all and even if you go back to some big bang there is an origin point we cannot go beyond.

Many religious faiths espouse unyielding and unflinching elements that can inflict rigidity and possibly even stunt our spiritual growth. The most orthodox practices even resort to telling people what to wear or what to do during specific times.

A good analogy might be a verse in Corinthians:

“When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things”

This resonates with me as I endeavor to concentrate on the basics. Love your fellow human beings, yourself and to try to do good things for others while we are here on this earth. Everything else seems to fall away as pageantry that does not harm these objectives but does not add to them either.

My Catholic upbringing helped shape me but to some degree also enslaved me with a rigidity that prevented my self-acceptance. I have no one to blame because it was my own interpretation of what I was taught and my silence conspired to only make things worse.

But when you really reflect on it, even those basics I am trying to stick to are hard enough to succeed at.


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