Friday, December 30, 2011

Universal Sleuth

Meditation Mount in Ojai,
where I have done some serious imploring.
The holidays are almost over!  Yeah!!!  I never thought I'd be so excited to say that.  But, the problem is, the holidays are frenetic, frantic, exhausting, and gluttonous -- which actually leaves very little time for, you know, relaxing and remembering where the festivities really came from -- former pagan rituals that are now merged with organized religions' belief systems.

For me, personally, I've always had my own internal religious thing going.  Here's my background:  my parents are both atheists, but I grew up celebrating Christmas, Easter and all the other big ones primarily for the traditions involved -- traditions that I like to think of as "Americana."  I was never exposed to church, or temple either for that matter, considering my mother was born Jewish.  But the weirdest thing about all this was, that at around the age of 4, I started believing in God.  I suppose that since I was never given any religious direction, I surreptitiously created my own.  Needless to say, I would talk to God, I would pray to God, at night I would get into bed and say in whispered tones, "Bless my mommy, bless my daddy, bless my brother and sisters, bless my best friend, Emily..."  I could never tell my parents that I did any of this, because they would make fun of me -- and they still do, as a matter of fact.  They'll giggle and snicker, "What are you this week, Sarah, a Hare Krishna?" (A beautiful movement, by the way.  I mean it.  Although definitely too extreme for my taste.)

The truth is, I have dabbled in different religious beliefs -- I tried Buddhism for a while and went to see various Buddhist speakers talk (simply riveting stuff), I've studied some Hinduism, and do appreciate the sensuality and mindfulness of the religion, and I've had the bare minumum of exposure (weddings and such) to Christianity and Catholicism.  But there's also the blatant fact that I happened to marry a Jewish man.  Judaism has a wisdom and a code of ethics behind it that I had never realized before.  But do I connect to God through Judaism, or through any specific religion for that matter?  No.

I think I connect most to God, or, what I sometimes think of as a universal spirit, internally.  I feel, and thus know, that there is something bigger than myself -- inside, as well as outside, the sum of my parts.  I used to be most transported by this knowledge when I was in nature, or in front of something visually breathtaking.  But, now, as I get older, I feel it more consistently, even when I'm simply driving on the freeway with three kids screaming in the back seat.  Maybe this is because I feel so blessed to have what I have in my life.  Or maybe it's because I'll always be a wanderer, on an unidentified and limitless journey, curious about what's inside of me, as well as what's beyond.

I like having this internal connection to the divine, but I know that others, like my parents, will think that I'm dabbling in a religion known as lunacy.  For me, I want to feel and connect in the way that I want to, and then I want others to connect to God (or not connect, if they so choose) in the way they themselves need to, as well.  And this is why I sometimes think organized religion tends to divide us, as opposed to bring us together.  For, with those rules, we are told that one way is correct, or better, than another way.  And being in the South, I find the segregation here prevalent, but, truthfully, the divisions are everywhere, they're just better hidden in certain parts of the country/world.  Perhaps I'm a little rebellious, and dislike being told what is the "right" way to worship (I've never liked rules much), and I also know I'm idealistic, but I just can't help myself -- I guess that's part of who I am too.

My writing and my poetry have only furthered my spirituality.  When I sit down in front of my computer I usually have no idea what I'm going to write, and then it just spills out of me, like instinct.  It's that thing bigger than myself that's connecting me to my soul, and then connecting that to all of you.

So, I guess the next question is, why did I write all this?  I have no earthly idea.  SEE where enlightenment can take you?