My Next Step: Church

I was an atheist. Now that I’ve gone to church three weeks in a row, I have a hard time identifying with that label. One day I decided that I needed some formal spirituality in my life in order to address all aspects of my humanity.

Spirituality is a part of being human, just like our emotions are part of being human. Many people connect spirituality with religion, and spirituality without religion is seen as fluffy hippy stuff. I disagree. Wikipedia defines spirituality as “to refind the original shape of man, the image of God.” I am refinding the original shape of myself. Whenever the pastor says “God”, I think of myself and everyone who makes up my experience. I am responsible for my salvation, but I cannot do it alone. We are never alone, and we can accomplish nothing without the influence of others.

Now, I said that you don’t have to connect spirituality with religion, while I am getting my spirituality from religion. You can get your spiritual experience from anything that connects you to yourself. Here is a list of spiritual activities:

  • going for a walk
  • reading a book
  • riding your bike
  • playing with your dog
  • baking or cooking
  • painting
  • creating
  • teaching
  • meditating
  • writing
  • learning
  • thinking
  • playing music
  • looking through a microscope

Add your own activity to this list if it grounds you, makes you feel better and connects you to yourself.

I go to church because it’s an opportunity to learn about the human experience from a book that has been around a long time. I figure anything that’s been around that long must have a bunch of truth in it. Though I listen to the pastor, and respect his knowledge, I choose the truth for myself. No one can tell me what is right and what is wrong. I decide that for myself. This is the problem that so many people have with organized religion. They expect someone to tell them what to do, and are hurt or furious when they come to their own conclusions.

I have been lucky enough to start with a clean slate. I don’t need to be saved, but it’s nice to think about being a good person, forgiving myself and thinking about all the love in the universe that we are all hooked into.

Next post: “Let go of who you think you should be in order to be who you are.” -Brené Brown

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One thought on “My Next Step: Church

  1. So great to be able to read about your processing of life on all levels. Your ability to find purposefulness and meaning in everything is a precursor to the incredible work you will do (and are already doing!) in the world. No matter what you do, your ability to find meaning and connection will inspire the best in others.

    I read a very interesting book recently — “Proof of Heaven” — a neurosurgeon (and atheist) who was in a coma for weeks and should never have survived, wrote about his experiences while “away”. This sort of thing is not new, but to hear it from a man who has otherwise been the one explaining away these events as neurological functions, was very interesting. Not that I need proof of heaven, but what it did for me was validate the purposefulness of the work I am doing and feel so strongly about, now, in this life. It helped me to embrace an angle of the spirit realm that I previously tended to have some pretty strong doubts about.

    Buddhism challenges us to make everything we do a spiritual act. Seems this is what you’re writing about. Living consciously – taking nothing and no one for granted. Think of the positive change that could happen on a world scale if we all reached this stage in development – sooner rather than later.

    Thanks for sharing, Emily 🙂

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