Opening the door to the divine is a lot different than religion, it turns out. And it’s something I never gave much thought to when I was younger.
I never connected with Catholicism in more than a cultural way, maybe because I didn’t go to Catholic school. And never really considered God except as someone to direct intercessory prayer to if I really, really thought I wanted something.
But as I passed into my 50s, I started thinking more about spirituality and what it really meant.
So–and talk about burying the lead–it was with some surprise the other day when I realized that I wasn’t a Christian.
I know. This will come as a big upset to some of my friends, especially those who have fundamental beliefs.
I’m not a Jew, either. Or a Buddhist. Or any other organized religion.
Don’t get me wrong. I appreciate a good ritual, like Catholic Mass, as much as the next person. And sometimes, in a beautiful Catholic Church, such as Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome, I do feel closer to the divine.
But I don’t believe Jesus was God.
I believe he was Christ, which means “anointed one,” in the sense that he was a teacher. He had good stuff to say, too. Divinely inspired. But I’m not sure I really understand how he could be God.
So, from that standpoint, no, I’m not a Christian.
The more I read about the origin of some of the most popular Biblical or Christian stories, the more I realize how much Christianity it based on blind belief of stories with shaky foundations. For example:Noah’s story is an adaptation of a Mesopotamian work that predates it by at least 1,500 years. In…Genesis…Yahweh sends the flood as punishment for humanity’s sins. In the Mesopotamian story…the people were destroyed because they overpopulated and their noise disturbed the gods. The original Flood myth was not about morality; it is an archaic argument for ecological balance. ~Julia Assante, PhD
Did you know this? I didn’t. Not that the whole ark thing could be rooted in reality, though. Two by two? All in the same boat? Naah. But it and its relationship to “sin” is fundamental to religion. I just don’t believe it.
What I do believe developed over decades of life, reading, exploring, prayer and meditation.
Here’s what I believe: there’s a Master Plan and a Source. We have a Home from where we came and to where we return. It’s like Heaven, only no clouds or harp-playing angels. Nor is it like our earth. But it’s a fabulous place, nonetheless.
It’s my belief that our souls incarnate more than once and that we’re here to learn various lessons. Or to help someone else learn lessons. This is an agreement we make going into it–we know in advance and choose our lives, even. But of course, that memory is wiped clean so we can actually live it out.
When my ex-husband, B, first saw me walk into the office in 1990, his first thought was, What is she doing here? Because he believed he’d known me in another life. I didn’t quite understand that then, but I do, now. In this life, he was one of my teachers. We have a strong connection, but not as mates. B is a member of my soul family and we have incarnated together before. We have been family. Just not spouses.
I believe the beauty of nature is meant to give us a taste of the divine here on earth. Beautiful old redwoods that have stood for many lifetimes, like the ones at Big Sur. Grounded, stolid, stalwart through the centuries, their roots seem to reach out and hold the earth in a protective embrace. Maybe they hold us, as well, and the wisdom of the ages.
All are creations in our world and they’re nothing compared to what I believe Home is like.
I believe that we can communicate with those who have gone Home, and we can do that ourselves if we want or through a medium.
It’s also so clear that religion and faith are vastly different. Religion has its strictures, its politics and all the man-centric things that make it so troublesome. The Catholic Church is hugely corrupt, I believe, and so are televangelists that shill for money and live high and mighty while their congregants scrimp to fill donation envelopes.
But faith? Another thing entirely. I must admit that it eluded me for many decades.And then, one day, without even trying, I understood what faith was and what I believed.
Some of it had to do with experiences I began having once I opened the door to the divine. Amazing experiences.
And reading everything in the library about the existence of God and about life after life.
Asking questions of everyone I knew: Do you believe in God? What do you believe happens after death?
The most important thing, though, is that I made up my own mind about it and didn’t just accept what was handed me at birth. I never thought that I was born with sin and had to be forgiven, even before I drew breath. I certainly never believed that I had to say some magic words to go Home.
Then again, if you know me, you also know that I was born questioning authority.
It’s not all that important to me that you believe as I believe. We’ll all find out soon enough because we all die in time.
But it IS important that I now know, myself, what I believe, after an entire lifetime of puzzling over it. It’s a good feeling.
And, just like in this moving song, it feels so real, and so good that sometimes I really do feel almost as if I’m flying with my feet on the ground. Click the link below for music: