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.
- 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. *
- 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.
- 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.