Monday, July 20, 2009

Linking to the Spirit

I know I discuss spirituality frequently, and I also know many of you are neither church-going nor religious (but still, this is my blog, and not yours, so sometimes I will write about things uninteresting to you). I do attend a church--a church whose members I like, and whose teachings are liberal enough to not offend me. 

HOWEVER, I realized, during church yesterday that I have gone a long time without feeling anything. The hymns have had no effect on me, the recitations just sounded bland, and everything felt lame, felt unfelt to me, like we were all going through the motions, but not the emotions.

I am not the kind of person to raise a hand and say "Hallelujah!" or "Amen!" to anything. In fact, when other people do this in front of me, I find myself looking to the exit to make sure I have a clear means of escape. Yet I also tend to find spiritual energy in a setting, such as the outdoors or even a building (like a church). One church building in Independence, Kansas, where I used to live, felt spiritually potent to me. It was modeled after the ruins of a cathedral in Scotland, and it may very well be the most beautiful church I have ever been inside. Sitting in the church, when the lights were off and sunlight streamed in through enormous stained glass windows, was a spiritual journey in itself, restful, comforting, powerful. Not so when people were there. The services at the church, like the ones at the church I now attend, left me cold, and it wasn't long before I stopped attending. 

Why does all this matter? In some ways it doesn't. The spiritual world cannot be contained within a building, nor can it be controlled by people worshipping within a building. But when I cannot find a spiritual link to my own belief system, and when I am forced to keep it entirely within myself for long periods of time, and when a system intended to broaden and feed my spiritual journey does nothing but stifle it, I start to lose contact with the very essence which feeds my soul each day... and that is not a good thing. 

I don't want to be in this alone. I don't want to feel as if I am the one person in the world who sees the world as I do. But I have no idea where to go, or what to do, to find what I need to keep going. 

Any ideas?


  1. Darling, there are other churches if you want to pursue that angle. Keep trying them on until you find a fit. My mother-in-law has a Wiccan group where she found her niche.

    Alternatively, you can find other ways toward fulfillment. One needn't pursue religion, per se, to find spiritual connection. For some, it might be concerts and sympony or the opera. For another, it might be digging in the soil or a garden club. For another, it might be a book club, writing club, mother's group.

    You could also pose these questions on-line as you did, and perhaps find a connection, not physically, but a linking of minds that helps restore the spirit.

    After all, I truly believe there is not just one path. I do believe that, if you find you are on a path that retards rather than expands your spirit, you must look elsewhere, even if it's inconvenient.

  2. I'd be interested in Wiccan, but I would also like to remain married :-)

    I am more like a Unitarian Universalist than anything else, but for some reason, though they aren't supposed to, several denominations in the area seem adamantly opposed to any Christian teaching. My ideal would be one that has programs open to all religious pursuits, from Wiccan to Taoist, from Christian to Native American...

    Then again, perhaps I simply need to put a bit more effort into meditation... I could certainly use a few minutes of quiet here and there...

    Thanks for the encouragement!

  3. Well my miserable, tired, evil, angry, vindictive, drug addicted soul found the truth and love from a god, a god I found in the book of Mormon….. Now I know what you are thinking MORMON
    I hear this everywhere I go.. But if you feel lost, I beg of you just to pick one up and read it, and pray about it when you feel like it. And you will have your answer, just read it… now I don’t go to church every week. More like 5 times a year, but I have found the answer my soul needed…

    I find god in my family and friends, I find god in my good deeds, I find god in nature. Once your soul receives the light, it is easier to find it every day after that.

    Knowing god is out there and there is life after death, it gives your spirit strength to get through the stress and anger life’s throws at you day in and day out….

    All I can say it is worth a read, if you don’t like it then ohh well. But for myself and my family, it brought me join and my life back. Where I do not use drugs, or smoke or drink {that much} or swear {that much}.

    It has saved my life and enhanced the life’s of those people close to me… it gave me a clear YES this is true once I prayed about it once I completed it….

    None of my friends are Mormon, nor do I think it really matters. God/religion is personal… it is between you and him and no one else…

    Best of luck, I hope you find the light your soul is trying to find…. It’s like knowing you need more but not sure what more is. Or what it is you think your life needs improvement, but knowing there is a hole that needs to be filled. If that sounds close, then give it a chance. That is where I was in life before I just gave it a read, with no other desire other than just to see what it was about…. And Bam my life was changed for the better.

    I do not believe going to church makes you religious, I think knowing god is real and Jesus lived and living you life the best you can is what matters… best of luck to you and your family

  4. People find those spiritual, enlightening moments in strange places. They aren't even always (often) churches.

    Nature does it for me. I'd probably be a happier pagan than just about anything--the power and majesty of the universe is all I need.

    I gave up on the words in iron-age books long ago. And all those buildings seem to revolve around them.

  5. Jeff King: Thanks for the suggestion... but I'm afraid I was raised Mormon, so I had enough exposure (and reading) to know it isn't for me... even though many of my friends here near Seattle are active LDS. I know how well it works for them, though, so I am glad many have this comfort.

    The Mother: Nature has always been the source of most of my spiritual inspiration, and for years I've called myself a pagan for that very reason. I am also a polytheist, for I find mythic systems fascinating no matter what their origin, and I have found all religions to be, to an extent, helpful. I just need to spend more time working on this than I do at present, so that I can tap into that side of my nature more fully.

    I appreciate what all of you give me, too, believe me. Sometimes all of you can raise me out of a terrible funk, and inspire me to do more with my life.

  6. Yes, you find it within yourself. I have found no church out there that completes me, to quote a bad movie. The only place that I find to always uplift me is a quiet walk in the mountains. I haven't been actually able to walk quietly alone in the mountains for a while. Might have something to do with my 2 yr old monster that can be highly adorable. I will have some quality one on one time with the mountains soon. Just the memory of them brings me peace. Why because I find myself in the quiet surroundings. No one better than yourself to be your best friend.

    Today I took a mini vacation from my life and required nothing of myself. I have been quiet and reflective doing my embroidery and writing. Do not expect a church to fill that spot. There isn't one that can. The peace that you need is inside of you. All the church provides is a reminder of some simple lessons to helps us keep doing what we already know inside to be true.

    I learned a valuable lesson from a dear friend once. She was always able to find the rose hidden in any literary briar patch. She could look at a story that I believed to have not one ounce of merit and show me the value contained within.

    Remember the inner child and loving person within you and you may find some of the peace that you have been missing at church. It may require you to go and pretend that you are back in your dear church in Kansas with all it's beauty and surrondings. It is still with you. It's memory and comfort still remains in your heart.

  7. I think you are right, Leilali May... for no institution can fully fill me up. Yet if I concentrate on my inner self, meditate, and seek the answers only I can find (in my own unique way), I might get there.

    I need to spend a little time doing this each day.