It is fascinating that this came as a random blog post idea after seeing Oatmeal’s hilarious webcomic, How to suck at your religion today.
I am not an atheist. I just don’t believe in God as “he” his presented to us via the Judeo/Christian dogma. I think the Judeo/Christian God as presented in the Bible is ridiculous (And, dare I say, a jerk. But that is a blog post for another time). I think the whole idea that God created this world in 7 days is just silly, if one is to believe this literally. It is story. Folklore. All cultures have stories of creation and this is just one of those many stories. The Bible is the story of a tribe, full of metaphor, like all folklore.
I don’t have any answers when it comes to God and religion. I believe everyone has to find their own path and it is a very personal thing. My own path has taken all sorts of twists and turns. I don’t deny that I am a seeker. Right now I believe that god (if that is what you want to call it) is in everything. I believe that we are all connected and “god” is the thing that connects us. I am no greater than the robin that sits outside my window. We are cut from the same cloth.
I like thinking this way. It is fairly new to me, having been raised with a Christian mindset. But looking at the world this way makes me feel happier and, generally, more at peace.
Last summer a new neighbor moved in and he smoked. I was irritated by this because it was hot outside and I wanted the windows open. Unfortunately when the windows were open the pollution of the smoke inundated my senses. Eventually my irritation turned to anger and I found myself wishing really awful things on this person I didn’t even know. Things began to really snowball when I finally saw this person smoking in front of his apartment. He was scraggly and pale and I made up all kinds of scary stories in my head about him.
At the time I was learning about Mettā, also known as Loving Kindness meditation. Mettā is form of meditation in which you send love to all beings, essentially. I won’t get into the details (if you are interested you can find instructions here). I decided to send loving kindness to our neighbor. Mettā is hard to do when you are not feeling any love or kindness for someone. I certainly was not feeling any of that. But I still said these words in my head and directed them to my neighbor, who would be smoking on the front porch as I did this most likely (’cause he was a chain smoker).
May you be happy
May you be healthy
May you be safe
May you live with ease.
Like I said, I didn’t feel any kind of love or kindness toward this person but I said the words anyway. What did I have to lose?
The craziest thing happened. Not long after I started doing this our neighbor struck up a conversation with Raf. He heard Raf upstairs running his tattoo machine and asked him if he was a tattoo artist. Raf ended up tattooing him and they developed a friendly acquaintance. Eventually I chatted with him too when I ran into him outside our apartment. I found out that he was a really nice guy (not the scary person I concocted in my mind). I learned his story and have a great deal of compassion for him now.
When I think about this I am amazed. Loving kindness is truly a powerful thing.
*I was looking for writing prompts so I could have something to blog about today and came upon this fabulous website.
- Weekend meditation: metta (conscioussanity.com)
- Welcome to Your Mind (Part II) (blueflamemagick.wordpress.com)
- Defining Metta (keiththegreen.wordpress.com)
- Why meditate? And how to get started! (cozyblanketsnowflakerepetitioncompulsion.com)
- Metta: The Art of Loving Kindness (greenteakarma.wordpress.com)
Demeter of the library (Photo credit: Arenamontanus)
Last night a friend got out her Goddesses Knowledge Cards and we did an on-the-fly (not really knowing what we are doing) reading. We decided the first card we chose would be the past, the second card is the present, and the third card is the future. This is what I chose:
Past – Hathor.
Present – Etain
Future – Demeter
- Demeter (earthpages.wordpress.com)
- Mythology: Demeter and Dionysus (danitorres.typepad.com)
- Hathor (wed-gie.com)
Image via Wikipedia
I do remember my dreams. In fact, I started a dream journal last year because I like to think about them and figure out what they mean. It’s fun, like figuring out a puzzle.
I often have water dreams. A recurring nightmare that I have involves being overtaken by a giant wave. For example (and this is weird), the night before my birthday I had a dream where I was driving along a highway next to the ocean and the road was overtaken by a wave. The car was engulfed by the wave and floated out to sea. It was really frightening. Eventually, the car drifted back to land, and safety. However, the weird thing about the dream was that the Tsunami in Japan was happening at around the time I was asleep!
Sometimes the departed appear to me in my dreams. When I was really sick two summers ago this happened. Specifically, my stepbrother, who committed suicide a few years ago, appeared. He was young and vibrant and very happy. He thanked me for being sad when he died, for grieving for him. It was very odd and made me wonder if I wasn’t dying myself (I was soooo sick).
I would LOVE to have a flying dream. I’ve never had one and am so sad about it. Everyone I know has had them and it is not fair that I haven’t. So, Universe, just throwing out there.
A friend on Facebook posted the following Pema Chödrön quote:
“Only to the extent that we expose ourselves over and over to annihilation can that which is indestructible be found in us.”
I’ve been thinking about this the past few days. This idea of annihilation. Self Immolation is an idea that keeps popping into my head lately too.
No, I don’t want to light myself on fire, ending it all in a spectacular way.
It’s a metaphor for what has happened to me the past couple years. Which started with the annihilation of a life: Doug’s.
I think back on how that event changed me so profoundly. It utterly and completely broke my heart. But it didn’t just break my heart. It also broke all the crap around my heart I’d put there as an attempt to protect it. Shellac is the metaphor that comes to mind. I have spent my entire life painting shellac around my heart to protect it from breaking. But my effort wasn’t strong enough to protect it from Doug’s death. And so it broke and I’ve walked around with this heart that has been completely exposed to the elements for two years. It has been both very painful and very exhilarating. It’s kind of scary but it feels right. Like I’m living life.
So I was led to meditation which has helped to clear away the cobwebs in my head a bit (some of them are still there). And by doing this I have been able hear my intuition and trust it a bit more. This practice has led me down a path I really didn’t expect. “Everything you thought was real isn’t” was something that was said to me by a friend and fellow meditator early on in this process and I’m seeing the truth of that statement in a big way. Along with the shellacking of my heart, I’ve created some really ornate facades that seem to be crumbling down around me.
My ego is one of those facades. I was telling another friend on Facebook today that it feels like my ego has been beaten down to a bloody pulp.
So according to this article, my meditation practice is working (horror film, indeed). Most importantly this practice has helped me see the truth. It feels like I am burning up in a spectacular bonfire. And that hurts. But in the end what is left is what is real. What is left is that which is indestructible.