I am a seeker

Life

I am going through a term student program at my sangha and our first retreat was a week ago. Those of us attending had to prepare a presentation about ourselves. In preparation for this presentation we were to write three outlines: A historical outline, A karmic outline, and a spiritual outline. The exercise was interesting. It was fascinating to see what bubbled to the surface. I thought I would share my spiritual outline on my blog.

 

  1. I was born into a Catholic family. I did all of the Catholic things: I received communion at the appropriate age, I went to catechism classes, we went to church every Sunday, and I can even still to this day recite the Nicene Creed by heart.  I had a pleasant experience as a Catholic. I was interested in God and prayed often. For me praying was “talking to god.” I started this habit early in life and it continued throughout most of my life, up until fairly recently. *

    Me on my first communion

    This is me at my First Communion, featuring a very interesting light leak.

  2. I became a born-again christian when I was 22. I had a very powerful conversion experience and I was very “gung ho” about following Christ. I read the entire Bible. I would spend hours studying the Bible and praying in tongues. I am actually really glad I had this experience because it was probably the only way I would ever read the Bible and I am glad that I read it.

    This experience led me to a Pentecostal church which was not a good experience for me. I think this church might have even been a cult. I left that church when I went to University and slowly drifted away from Christianity. It took a long time to “cleanse my brain” from the brainwashing that occurred from that experience. A lot of fear was planted in my at that time. I remember the day when I actually questioned the divinity of Christ and I didn’t feel fear. That was an incredibly good day.

  3. When I got to the place where I was able to question Christ’s divinity  I explored other religions and was drawn to Buddhism. I have been reading about Buddhism for a number of years but have been a bit shy about jumping in with both feet.  I think this is because of my experience with Christianity.  I might always be a little gun shy because of that experience.
    Buddhism resonates with me. It allows me to look at other beliefs without guilt. I am a seeker, I have always been a seeker and I will always be one. Buddhism supports this aspect of myself and I love that.

*At this point in my life I don’t believe in God. I guess technically I am an atheist, though I am still very spiritual.  Can you be a spiritual atheist? I do believe in something inexplicable that connects all beings together. If that is God, then ok. I believe in whatever that is.

More on Osho/Rajneesh

Random

I don’t mean to harp on this subject but  the only thing that I have to entertain me are my thoughts and this is what is on my mind lately. I feel like I need to get it out.

There is a writer that I’ve been reading for the past year and I have really liked her work. She writes about intuition and how it pertains to spirituality. She has a podcast that I subscribe to. I have really enjoyed it. My gut (ha) told me to check the bibliography of her recent book to see if Osho is listed there. Osho is, indeed listed in her bibliography. Not once but twice. So not only have I been reading these tarot cards I have been reading books and listening to podcasts by a person who has been influenced by Osho/Rajneesh. I kind of can’t believe it, but there it is in black and white. It makes me wonder about how pervasive Osho/Rajneesh’s philosphy is? Where else can it be found? I feel like I can’t trust anything. I don’t think this is a bad thing, actually. It is another example of non-attachment.

It seems like the only thing I can really trust right now is the practical.  can trust what is right there before me, the issue at hand.  Everything else is just conjecture. The one thing that I continue to do everyday is zazen. That is nothing more than sitting down, shutting up, and breathing. That is all there is to it.  So that is what I will continue to do.

Can I just point out a few things about Osho/Rajneesh that have me baffled? Let’s pretend  for a moment. If you were a spiritual leader and the group of people that you were leading committed horrible acts (like carrying out single biggest bio-terrorist act in U.S. history), wouldn’t it make you think about yourself a little bit? I mean, if you were so bothered by these acts to the point that you reported your own followers to the authorities, wouldn’t you have the tiniest shred compassion? And having that shred of compassion wouldn’t you, at the very least, think, “Hm. maybe, since my own followers are doing these horrible things, there is something wrong with the way I am doing things. Perhaps I should not be a leader for awhile. Perhaps it is time for  me to lay low and figure out why my followers did such horrific things.” Right? I mean, if you were a compassionate person, who cared about the well being of your fellow humans you would do that. But Osho/Rajneesh did not do that. Instead he went back to India and changed his name and reinvented himself as a “zen teacher.” He re-branded himself. He changed anything that had the name “Rajneesh” associated with it to Osho. This tells me that he didn’t care at all about the way his teachings affected those who were listening to them. I don’t find this at all compassionate. I don’t think he cared one bit about his followers.  Because of this, but most importantly, because of the heinous  behavior of his followers, I will never trust anything that comes from him or any organization that is associated with him. I don’t care if his teachings seem like they sound good (they only sound that way because he stole philosophies from other religions). Anything that he taught, or continues to teach byway of his current followers is totally irrelevant. It is irrelevant because he was a freaking cult leader. It is irrelevant because  his followers committed horrible  and terrifying acts. If I find out that a person  has been influenced by him in any way I just can’t trust what they have to say, plain and simple. I don’t care how wonderful or genuine that person is. If they have been influenced by Osho/Rajneesh their philosophy is tainted.

Where I Find Spirituality

Thoughts and Opinions
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Today I’m am choosing topic #21.

Where I find spirituality

I have been on a search for spirituality from the time I was a wee child. I’m just that kind of person. I’ve always been interested in things “not of this earth.” I was raised Catholic, and was forced to go to attended church every Sunday. So the idea of God and the afterlife has been ingrained in me from the beginning. I remember being very interested in things like horoscopes and reincarnation. My sister or my mom had a copy of the books, Sun Signs and Love Signs by Linda Goodman and I remember just being fascinated by both of those books.

When I was younger, up until I was in my thirties I would pray. When I was younger it had a “talking to God” kind of quality to it where I would pour out my fears, hopes, and dreams and it would make me feel better.

When I was in my mid twenties I became a born-again Christian, much to my family’s dismay. Again, I was searching for some spirituality and I found myself at “Skate Church” with a friend of mine who was a Christian. They caught me on the right day because I “gave myself to the lord” that night and it was, indeed, a spiritual experience for me. I met my future husband that day, too. I suppose that could be a kind of spiritual experience, as well, because I knew the moment I saw him that I would marry him.

This “born again Christian” phase ended up being an interesting two or three years that culminated in attending a rather crazy Pentecostal church that bordered on cultish. Raf and I had gone down this road together and we got out of it together.

We got married in Reno Nevada at the Starlight Chapel with no pomp and circumstance. Just the two of us and the minister. That was rather spiritual for me, as well. When the minister proclaimed that we were joined as man and wife I felt something happen spiritually between us, like our souls were knitted together. It was kind of strange and fantastic. It makes me teary-eyed thinking about it right now.

These days I don’t go to church. And I don’t even know if I’m a Christian anymore. I might be, I don’t know. I’m still trying to work that out. As I get older and wiser I realize that spirituality is not found in one place, one church or in one “god.” I find spirituality everywhere, in everything. I especially find it in nature. I don’t know how to explain it, but it’s that feeling of peace. That feeling of being right with the world.