Spirituality: purpose, reason, faith

July 24, 2011
Image: Queens Museum of Art

Many of us are born into an organized religion,
a set of beliefs that become second nature.
We don’t question them; they underpin our lives
even if we’re not aware of it.

Others venture out on a spiritual quest,
seeking answers to the big questions of life.
Why are we here?
What does it all mean?
What happens next?

The spiritual journey sometimes comes late, as it has for me.

My family wasn’t particularly religious;
our Catholicism was more ethnic than deep belief.
Over the years, though, I read voraciously on spirituality,
exposed myself to different threads of belief and talk-talk-talked
about it with the people closest to me.

I soaked it all in.

Still, I can’t say any of it felt conclusive for a very long time.
{As conclusive as spirituality can be.
It’s called ‘faith’ for a reason.}

In the past decade, though, my own journey went into overdrive,
for no particular reason I can identify.

Perhaps it was churning away in the background
and I didn’t notice it until a critical mass had built up.

In any case, I’ve finally found a spiritual paradigm
that resonates deeply with me.

It’s not particularly traditional.
But I feel more of a certainty about it
than I ever have about organized religions.

Life is such a mystery, isn’t it?
When I look around at the complexity of our system,
I know there has to be a Greater Being.
When I look inside myself, I know there has to be a purpose.
There are things we just don’t know for sure;
but from the beginning of time, (wo)man has had faith
of some kind.

So, I wonder: how did your own spiritual beliefs evolve?

6 comments on “Spirituality: purpose, reason, faith
  1. faye roy says:

    I evolved much like you, I think many do. In the beginning our beliefs are handed to us,sit dormant until we question and challenge how it fits into our own life.I took care of a great aunt, a sassy woman at 83. She was a spiritualist, believed in seeing to the other side. Her mother and sister shunned her beliefs. She said at their passing,she saw each of them with a knowing smile, it felt like acceptance to her. My mother was an evangelical free church member but didn’t not practice her religion much of her life. Formal religion to me did not give people the power (faith) to go through adversity, trauma, loss or fear with the strength to know all things work together for good. So I do not belong to a church, believe in the good and evil in the world and a higher power (universe) that does not interfere or punish but allows (free will) choices to direct our lives. No one is right and no one is wrong, we are all on the same journey.

  2. I love this, Faye, thank you.

  3. Angel says:

    Thanks for sharing. Like you, I too have had an awakening of sorts. When the brief system designed for security and freedom began to be more painful, I dug deep. Many things were lost but so much more gained. When I think of the old wise women, I’ve admired in life, I think the too must have crossed this bridge; alone into the wholeness of God. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Angel, thanks. Digging deep is right–that’s how we get there. “Alone into the wholeness of God:” yes. Lovely.

  5. Judy says:

    I sat in an AA meeting having just collected my 1st year medallion at the tender age of 25, and I looked at the faces in the room. Familiar faces now that I’d been there several times a week for a year, but I could not really say that I knew them or that they were friends. I’d heard and read that it was my duty, my responsibility even, to myself to develop my own concept of God – one that worked for me. I was clueless but willing. In a quiet moment in the meeting, I looked around at the faces in the room. Across from me sat 3 ladies, a bit older than me; each of them sober several years; one of them shared my name. For some reason after each meeting, they came up and gave me slips of paper with their phone numbers, implored me to call sometime, hugged me and smiled at me and treated me nicely – as if they really cared. Until that night, I had always lost those little slips of paper and was convinced they didn’t really mean it. On this particular night as I looked at those ladies, it occurred to me that there was something different about them. They had something. Something inside them that made them care and love for absolutely no good reason. For a moment I was baffled, but then it dawned on me that maybe that “something” they had was actually God. They had Love in their hearts, and I chose to use that tiny flicker of understanding as my definition of God. It has worked for nearly 30 years now. They say that God is Love, and they say that we are made in His image, therefore it makes sense, to me at least, that the very nature of our beings is Love. We can choose to express our true nature – to Love – and experience peace and ease and bliss, or we can choose not to and experience dis-ease. Free will.

  6. Judy, a beautiful story, thank you

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