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Coffeehouse spirituality for wandering souls - Page 2

post #21 of 54

I just stumbled on this thread and found it very interesting.  I too find it difficult to fit in anywhere spiritually.  Recently, I have come back to Catholicism.  I am fascinated by the lives of saints and I just read an amazing book The Mystical Life of Jesus, which really paints him in a different light as a mystical and spiritual teacher and even has evidence in the bible.  I also have read books on Buddhism such as the Tibetan Book of the Dead and The Tibetan Art of Parenting.  I practice daily meditation and also do yoga which is strange for most Catholics.  Why does meditation have to be something different than prayer?  I guess I am fascinated and amazed by all religions and have found so many parallels.  That is really cool that you are finding symbolism throughout the traditional bible stories also.  My biggest question I have right now that I meditate on frequently is what happens after we die?  I grew up with the idea of heaven but I am now leaning on the side of reincarnation and maybe heaven is within once you are enlightened?  I just don't know, maybe it will come to me one day during meditation. 

post #22 of 54
Thread Starter 

Welcome, VE, glad you found this.  It had laid dormant for a long time before I felt the need to resurrect it.  

 

I find the rituals of Catholicism interesting.  It really is an ancient religion, if you think about it, and the symbolism is rich.  All this aside from the politics of the religion, which I won't comment on here.   I love the study of symbolism, but then am drawn towards simplicity in the end. I haven't explored it personally, in my life, just learned *about* it.  They are aids for the journey of the spirit in the same way that a familiar smell will transport you mentally back to your grandparents' house.

 

I would love to hear more about your meditations on "life after death".  The most recent thought I've had about it is the spirit "remembering" its true nature.  I'm not sure if I believe in heaven and hell beyond personal experiences-- perhaps hell is the spirit getting lost, not remembering true nature?  I have not read the Tibetan Book, but did see a PBS (?) special about it, and following a man on his death bed, with the Book being read to him in his last days.  It mentioned reincarnation, and stated that  if your spirit starts forgetting before its journey is finished, it should take the first path to a new life, so that it does not enter the new life completely lost (my words).  Interesting idea.  Not sure what to make of it.

 

I used to be terrified of death as a child.  Not so much anymore, but it makes me sad that I will not see the entirety of my girls' lives.  Need to get over that.  But I have reached a place where I would be glad to accept death of the body with my eyes wide open.  Eventually.  When I'm old enough :)

post #23 of 54
Thread Starter 

Cosmic!

 

OK, one last link that touches on science and faith right at the bottom of the article.  Great article in its own right:

 

http://www.npr.org/blogs/13.7/2013/09/29/225359504/how-does-the-world-work-top-down-or-bottom-up?utm_content=socialflow&utm_campaign=nprfacebook&utm_source=npr&utm_medium=facebook

 

If anyone has a problem with the link, let me know.

post #24 of 54

Subbing!  This is where I'm at.  I feel there can be a connection to a bigger sense of life, but I have a hard time accepting that there is one religion that has the inside scoop on who God is.  (Or the life force, or higher power, or whatever you call it.)  I grew up in the woods, before kindergarten, and I was aware of a kind of humming of life that connected everything in one continuous sheet of existence.  All the plants and trees and bugs had a kind of quiet humming.  Not the kind of humming I could hear with my ears, but I heard it through my skin.  It all hummed right through me and through the trees, connecting everything.  If anything moved in the woods, I was aware of it, because we were all connected.  This was all my own personal perception of the world, and I never told anyone, because I didn't think it was unusual.  So no one ever told me it was wrong of me to experience the world this way.  (I was slightly autistic, so my sensory system was in overdrive. It could have been synesthesia.)  Sadly, I also witnessed violence at a young age which blasted silent holes in the continuous sheet of humming which stayed there.  I hate the holes. 

 

I've recently gotten back in touch with this part of myself.  As I grew up, I forgot about the humming, or maybe blocked it out.  But now I've tried listening for it again, and it is still there, if I am paying attention.  I would like to visit the Sequoia forest someday, to hear what the trees say. 

post #25 of 54
Thread Starter 

Even if it was synesthesia, what an incredible experience!  I, too, have had moments of physically feeling connections to everything around me, but they were either fleeting or induced by psychedelics (which, like your experience, I do not discount just because it was influenced by something else.)   

 

In fact, one particular experience is the root of all my faith: that we are connected to everything all around us, and that all the connections together, the universe, has a consciousness.  

 

I'm glad you've been able to reconnect with that incredible gift.

post #26 of 54

Subbing too! I would like to make a post later, when I have a quiet moment to actually think!

I liked your last link, SweetSilver. I copied a response that I would like to share....

Quote:
 For me, anything that helps us mirror the Universe as it really is, should be included. Why can't it be top down, bottom up, reductionism, non-linear dynamics, genetics, epigenetics, and culture all at the same time... the only thing that keeps us from utilizing all valid models is the inability of our awareness to accept paradox or to realize that any one conception of reality is no more than one view of the elephant (blind men and the elephant). That is simply the nature of human awareness. It always sees partially but those partial views don't have to be mutually exclusive. Reality is a whole and always has a coherence and unity even if our awareness is fragmented.

Back later! Thanks for starting this thread :)

post #27 of 54

I just stumbled on this thread.  Thank you for starting it.

 

I was raised Catholic and then gradually grew away from the church.  I've always felt I didn't need a physical structure to experience the Divine.  That everything is a part of one giant web.  It was difficult to break away from the rituals of the church, and I still feel something stirring when I smell a particular incense or when I hear the Rosary.  I realized after awhile that I can create my own practice.  Spirituality is such a personal thing.  I cringe when others try to pin other people down with their beliefs.  Even when it's me doing it! 

 

I've never understood why science and spirituality can't be interconnected as I believe they're simply different ways of expressing the world around us.  They don't have to be separate.

 

I love to walk our property and just experience the land..the plants, rocks, dirt, spiders, birds, deer...whatever critters are out there.  I can kinda identify with feeling the "hum" of it all.  Yet it's such a tough thing to describe in words.  I take photos of Nature to capture those moments where it seems like something is reaching out to me...or just because I am dumbstruck by the Beauty of it all.  I call it Zen photography.  Thank goodness for digital cameras!  I once used up rolls of film.  :-) 

 

I've experienced things that lead me to believe there is "something" out there.  I don't want to label it.  I've been helped at just the right time...I've seen "what goes around, comes around" in action and been awed by it.  I've wondered about reincarnation after an interesting experience during an acupuncture session.  Oh and I believe Catholicism once embraced reincarnation but I think it was removed from literature.  I think there's even a saint. 

 

Any way, I'm rambling! 

 

Take care everyone.  May you all have some Peace in your lives today and always.

post #28 of 54
Thread Starter 

Ramble away, milagras, that's what we are here for.

post #29 of 54

I think I belong in here. I don't know - I'm getting pretty used to just not fitting in anywhere :p

 

I haven't been a super active poster on here in the last little while. But I come back and lurk and read in the homeschooling/unschooling forums and always pop in and read a few threads in this forum. 

This thread in particuar is interesting to me. 

I used to spend a lot of time thinking about my spiritual beliefs, trying to put them into sensible thoughts and words and feelings. And then life gets busy, and I forget. And now I'm making a concerted effort to NOT push any spirituality onto my children, I'd like them to just come to their own beliefs when they feel it. However, that means I keep my spirituality "in the closet" so to speak. 

 

Lately, with the Canadian remembrance day creeping up on us (Nov 11th), my mind is full of my pacifist beliefs and then I remember "oh yeah, I used to try to look for some Quaker meetinghouses near me, and there weren't any, I wonder if there are some now?" and then I think that I would love to introduce that belief system to my kids and then I feel conflicted and then I remember I live in backasswards Northern Ontario where there are just no places for me to go to gather with people who believe similarly. Then I forget again and life gets busy. 

 

Some days I feel this tremendous need to fill my spiritual cup, other days I think "is it really this big of a deal"? 

I really wish I lived around others like me. 

 

Whoa, rambly. I thought my thoughts were clearer than this lol. 

post #30 of 54

When it comes down to it, on those days when I really want to put myself in some kind of spiritual category - and I fail miserably - I just remember that I'm a good person (most of the time). :-)  It bugs me when others tout the idea that one must belong to a certain church or practice to be good.  So many spiritual paths come down to one simple thing.  do unto others.  Harm none. 

 

Yet part of me still longs to fit in sometimes.  My childhood church always had dinners and bazaars and trips to places like Washington DC.  It is the community I miss.

post #31 of 54
Hi I belong here right now, even though I have been a member of a Unitarian Universalist Fellowship for the last 10 years and have been their Director of Religious Exploration there for a little over a year….. I am a wanderer because I believe that is really what we are meant to be. I don't believe that spirituality is a static thing and I don't believe that any of the great teachers (Jesus, Buddha etc) ever really wanted us to stay in a non-fluid state of being.
I joined the Fellowship I did because I was looking for a place where my kids could explore their spirituality on their own terms BUT it was very important for me that we were in a community.
I was raised in the Episcopal Church and still love that place, but I believe mostly because I miss my mom who has been gone for 14+ years…I love the music and the ritual and the community.
For me spirituality offers HOPE and even though I am a "wandering soul", hope finds me when ever I meet with a group of two or more. I love Yoga and fine life and energy there…but like all great things in my life it takes time and energy to get the most from it. I know that I need a meditation practice in my life…so I am looking for something that resonates with me. I like the idea of long walks…away from all the things I have to do…

Thank you for being here….
Love and Light
post #32 of 54

I like this thread, it resonates with me quite a bit.  I was raised by ex-Catholics.  They wanted us to make our own decisions about spiritual matters.  I'm happy about that for the most part.  But at times in my life I have felt the lack of spiritual community.  And I have always been somewhat of a seeker, very interested in these things. I've had a variety of what I'd call transcendent experiences, especially while receiving energy work (like Reiki) or doing breathwork.  Although these experiences felt very powerful for me, I have never felt a strong inclination towards a particular religion, which actually makes me kind of sad.  I am a "people person" and like to get together with like-minded individuals.  I think I'd enjoy practicing religion, I just can't find one that I particularly agree with.

 

I'm married to an agnostic Jew.  We occasionally go to services at the local synagogue, for holidays.  I really like the people there, but feel kind of like an outsider.

 

In some ways, art is like a spiritual practice for me.  And my veganism kind of is too. 

post #33 of 54

I like art too, that it is a means to express feelings about the 'unknowable'. 

post #34 of 54

Sometimes, when I'm writing, I feel the flow of something unknowable.  Something outside of myself.  It's like I'm merely translating the stories I write...like the old stories are being filtered through my experience.  But I didn't create them.  I'm just dipping into the River. 

 

 

post #35 of 54

milagras, yes I know what you're talking about!  Have you read the book The Artist's Way?  I'm reading it now and she talks about this stuff.

post #36 of 54

Yes, I've read a few of Julia Cameron's books.  I've read The Artist's Way.  For some reason though, when I try to work through the program, I get blocked.  I keep thinking of trying it again since I'm in a better place mentally now.  :-)  I think I'll get it out today.

post #37 of 54

Cool.  I'm reading it now for the first time and haven't read any of her other books yet.  Which do you think is the best of her books?  I am not really "doing" the course, but I have been doing the freewriting thing every morning and I've come to really look forward to it, even though it sometimes feels like a chore at first.  For me, journaling often is a good way of processing things and staying conscious about what's going on in my life. 

post #38 of 54
Thread Starter 

Just popped in to share this npr article about a non-religious church.  Fun!

post #39 of 54

Is anyone interested in animal totems, spirit animals, stuff like that?  I have some (distant) Native American heritage and have been interested in reading up on the cultures and beliefs.  A few days ago, a hawk killed and ate a small bird right in my back yard.  Then the next day, a pair of bald eagles were hanging around my house for a while.  (I was able to get some nice video and pictures.)  I just realized this could be a serious message.  And I've also been feeling lately that I need a spiritual identity.  One eagle was a juvenile, still with many brown feathers, but nearly grown.  My oldest son and I ran outside with our cameras.  I think that the eagles were for both of us--mother and son eagles.  DS had even been saying for a few weeks that he wants an eagle figurine for his room.  The eagle is extremely powerful medicine.  It is reminding me not to get bogged down, that I need to stay focused on how much I can accomplish.  It is also said that the eagle carries prayers to the Great Spirit, and will return with answers/gifts.  http://www.shamanicjourney.com/article/6031/eagle-power-animal-symbol-of-spirit-vision-and-strength 

post #40 of 54
Thread Starter 

I have difficulty with shamanic spirituality.  Intellectual difficulty with it, that is.  My intellect is firmly rooted in Metaphor and Archetype.  I cannot wrap my head around Literal, which is the framework shamanic spirituality.  It is the same bristling I do when others want to approach the Bible as literal fact and history.  For me, it is a metaphor with a loose connection to some historical facts.  

 

Shamanic spirituality reminds me somewhat of Hinduism, with its many faces of god, its aspects.  But while I enjoy contemplating those aspects, it is translated as metaphor and archetypes.  

 

Here's what I think.  The "ultimate point", if you will, of the personification of these aspects is to draw the believer to a place spiritually where all form and identity is burned away until all that is left is pure consciousness.  If, in the process of engaging with a spiritual discipline, one is instead lead further into the complexities and the multitudes, that's where I reject it.  I suppose it would be possible to get so overloaded that the mind shatters?  

 

I think meditating on the symbolism of an animal totem would be an elegant path.  But there I go again.  Symbolism.  That is not shamanic spirituality.  A shaman would say that the eagle is *literally* carries prayers to the great spirit.  I have difficulty with that.  

 

I have had experiences of synchronicity, but I remain unsure.  I feel like the belief in synchronicity opens up the mind's awareness to see the connections.  I remain very much an existentialist in other ways, it seems.

 

I hope you don't feel like I'm criticizing in any way.  I'm genuinely curious, both about your experiences, and my odd resistance to the ideas.

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