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Friday, February 11, 2005

To God or Not to God?: A Personal Spiritual Path

I was raised Catholic. I was a believing Catholic; I was touched by the peaceful energy of church. The rituals are beautiful, and surely beauty gets us closer to a higher power, if there is one. And then, later, I became angry upon understanding some of the poor effects Catholicism had on my psyche--most notably, an overwhelming, pervasive sense of guilt--and so I didn't believe in anything, except for maybe the ordering logos of the universe, fate as an area in which to move rather than a line, and the virtue of practicing moderation in all things, beliefs straight from the Greek philosophy I was studying. From this natural order in the world, it wasn't too far to Earth-based spirituality, following the seasons with reverence, supplemented by Tarot cards and astrology and such. Nice, but not very sturdy in the hard times. And so, in a difficult time, I found the elegantly nontheistic Buddhism, with its transcendence of the inevitable sorrows of this world through mindfulness, being present. This brought the exquisite little book Living Buddha, Living Christby Thich Nhat Hanh, which draws parallels between Buddhism and Christianity. Yes, the Kingdom of God is right here, right now. Beautiful. And then I found myself making a peace with Christianity, and missing church ritual, and then visiting Episcopalian churches with two different friends, and so I decided to find myself an Episcopalian home. So I did, and it was nourishing, the fishes and loaves and wine and fellowship, and the Episcopalian liberalism: women bishops, gay bishops, the virtue of reason. But even as I went to church, I was getting deeper into my studies of qi, and then in a mind-blowing workshop on western herbology, I returned to a sort of Earth mother spirituality, grateful for the world around me and happy in the idea of the feminine in deity, manifesting herself in myriad healing plants; a deeper form of my earlier Wiccan dabblings. And now my qi work is growing deeper, and I've begun seeing everything all as qi, qi in different forms, and feeling, again, that we all live many lives and learn in each one, and that if there is a higher power, maybe s/he doesn't matter much, because we can learn to receive the benefits of prayer--and stronger, and moreso--without prayer and through qi work, which is, indirectly, what prayer is. And now I'm thinking of the cosmos as a dance between being and nonbeing, yin and yang; with the best God, the best prayer, the best Wiccan magick, the best philosophy, being in us and our use of qi. Our use of qi is not only through qi gong or meditation or healing, but in how we expend our energy in everyday life, and how we create harmony or disharmony with the world. We should use our qi wisely; we are more powerful than we realize.

I am not flaky or impressionable or fickle; rather, I synthesize everything I encounter that I sense is of value, and continually deepen and broaden my practice of whatever it is through my explorations.


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