My Spiritual Journey (in a Nutshell)
I started this blog as a way of motivating myself to get back in touch with my spirituality. I’ve always been very spiritual and I think, as a species, human beings are intrinsically spiritual. That explains why there have been so many religions practiced across the world throughout history.
Religion and ritual are great ways to focus that spirituality into a means of outward expression, but spirituality isn’t always religious. In many cases, I’ve found, the most authentic spiritual experiences are felt beyond religious constraints. It’s inaccurate to say that religion is a prerequisite for spirituality. I have known atheists that are just as spiritual as Christians are, so it isn’t a matter of faith. Having been raised a Christian myself and coming to a place in my adult life where I’m practically a non-theist, I’ve been spiritual both religiously and non-religiously, and there isn’t much difference between the two experiences.
Well...that may not be entirely true, because as a Christian I often felt forced to feel spiritual.
I attended a private Christian university my freshman and sophomore years, and I often felt moved in large gatherings to stand up, hold my hands in the air, and close my eyes during a moving song, but it wasn’t because I was feeling particularly spiritual. It was because everyone else was doing it, so it seemed like the proper thing a spiritual person should do.
I’m not saying every spiritual experience I had as a Christian seemed forced, but that one stands out, as does the day I was “saved.”
I was nine years old and attending Vacation Bible School. Again, I’d been raised in church so none of the Bible stories or prayers were anything new. At one point, the teachers told us to bow our heads and close our eyes, and if any of us felt “moved” to come out into the hallway to be saved, we should do it. I kept peeking out at the room from behind squinted eyes.
Shortly, half the class had vacated the room to go ask for salvation in the hallway, so naturally I followed suit. Maybe I thought they had cookies...who knows? I’ve always been a follower anyway. Can you tell?
Anyway, I stood in the hallway and repeated the salvation prayer, peeking out from behind squinted eyes the entire time, and went home that night to tell my parents I’d been saved. I was too young to understand exactly what that meant, of course, but the point was that the church had won young souls to Christ with sugary snacks, kid-friendly Bible stories, and funny songs. It certainly wasn’t an authentic spiritual experience, although it probably should have been.
This isn’t to say I was never an authentic Christian. I was, and militantly so at one point, which is why it’s strange that someone like me ever found her way out of religion at all.
As a pantheist, I do find myself having more moments of awe and wonder than I ever did as a Christian, which may be odd to the religious person wondering how someone who doesn’t believe in God, at least not the Christian God, can make such claims. That is what this blog will ultimately be about—my spiritual path as a pantheist and my “year and a day” of study and pagan-inspired rituals that will, hopefully, allow me to learn things like meditation, make me more thankful and mindful of the mundane, and leave me feeling more fulfilled.