Monday, January 3, 2011

My Journey With God, Not Religion: One Reflection Of Eat, Pray, Love

Sitting in the back of the car, barely able to see out of the window, we sit in traffic. Endless cars in front of us and behind us.  I look at my Dad in the front seat and wonder why he does this everyday.  It occurs to me that in 8 more years I will be driving in this mess.  I start to consider how many parents with kids my age will also be driving in 8 years--oh no, that's a lot more cars.  There will be two generations on the road.  Wait a minute, if I get married (and other girls and boys get married) and they have children we could have up to 3 generations of families on the road adding to this traffic.  I imagine more highways and byways to make room for the cars, but quickly decide that would destroy the trees and the land.  Wait!  Where would the animals live?  I shiver with worry. I think about God and internally ask him why he sent me here to be a part of this craziness.   

Is this what a typical 8 year old girl thinks about?  Was this a premonition? A psychic glimpse of my future?  Perhaps.  The job I landed at the environmental organization back in the early 90s was dedicated to overpopulation and environmental issues.  Issues I still deeply care about.

Brought up Catholic, I was IN church ON time EVERY Sunday WITHOUT fail.  I questioned whether God was in there--even tested it.   During mass one Sunday morning (in my naive, childish and inquisitive manner--I was a child after all) I mumbled words that were sure to anger God and prove he was in there, "Our Father, shit, shit, shit..."  Nothing.

Photo by Ximena Brunette
Playing outdoors with my niece one afternoon (I was probably 10 or so),  I asked her if she could see the air.  She squinted looking up into the clouds but doesn't see anything. She quickly tires of me and returns to what she was doing.  I, on the other hand, was mesmerized by what I saw.  There was an essence in the air and in the sky--like billions and billions of minuscule sperm-shaped sparks randomly moving about.  I decided to keep quiet since no one else seemed to care about what I saw.  I remember thinking there is an energy around us--something greater than ourselves.  I thought, "Is this God?"

Are you ready for this?  During a Reiki training class we took a mini field trip outdoors to learn to relax our sight and see energy in our atmosphere.  There it was. What I saw as a child, I was re-introduced to as an adult.  To add to that, during that same Reiki class, we learned about sacred sanskrit symbols.  I found myself tearing as I was practicing writing one of them.  It was the symbol for God.  What evoked my emotion was that what I was drawing was something I used to doodle in my school notebooks as a kid.

My spiritual journey has taken me to levels of thinking and meditating I never knew could exist, but yet, feel so comfortable and completely natural to me.  The Catholic Church was a wonderful foundation, but did not complete my picture for the complexity that is me.  Friends who know my story have been urging me to read Eat, Pray, Love. This holiday break, I finally did. Elizabeth Gilbert poetically illustrates her journey to find herself and God. If you haven't read this, I highly recommend it.  She did a great service to many of us by sharing her life journey with us.

Despair in her marriage brought her to her knees to seek God's help.  Tragedy made me turn away from God, but it didn't last.  I finally resolved that God was always with me, a part of me.

I believe there are more people out there on their journey, too, looking for inspiration, guidance, life balance and purpose--wanting to know "why" to various issues in their lives. My painful experiences lead me to God in the most unconventional way. Gilbert teaches us that "The Hopi Indians thought that the world's religions each contained one spiritual thread, and that these threads are always seeking each other, wanting to join.  When all the threads are finally woven together they will form a rope that will pull us out of this dark cycle of history and into the next realm.  More contemporarily, the Dalai Lama assured his Western students repeatedly that they needn't become Tibetan Buddhists in order to be his pupils.  He welcomes them to take whatever ideas they like out of Tibetan Buddhism and integrate these ideas into their own religious practices.  Even in the most unlikely and conservative of places, you can find sometimes this glimmering idea that God might be bigger than our limited religious doctrines have taught us."

Does it really matter where the source comes from if it provides you a means to finding your true self and your Divine Source?  Your life's path?  I think that as you explore various teachers, authors and religions you should absolutely take whatever resonates with you and for your unique self.  It doesn't require a trip to Italy or India to find it (although I'd like to try it someday).  It merely takes your desire.

If you are interested in reading the book Eat, Pray, Love you can find it on the following link:
Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia

1 comment:

mj said...

Get down with your unique self!

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