It’s been such a beautiful, beautiful sunny-crisp day, quintessentially autumn, especially after the rain of the past couple days… This morning Jess called and asked if he could come and hang at the house this morning, so he did, and we talked for awhile, and then he and I went grocery shopping, so now my cupboards are full and he’s crashing in the Spare Oom and I have some time to myself before I go meet my friend Patty at Cafe Delirium tonight. I’m always tempted to feel a little discombobulated when my morning routine gets interrupted but I’m trying to remember that I can be mindful and meditative no matter what I do, whether I’m seated cross-legged on the flour, or lying on the couch reading, or talking with my son or a friend, or shopping for food.
It’s nice to begin to feel comfortable in my own skin. Finally. But as with every new habit, it’s rickety until it’s established. For quite awhile now I’ve seen myself as Someone Who Does Yoga; had a nice tidy little picture of myself with hair pulled back, in a leotard, on a mat, contorting my body in all manner and fashion. But this was before actually doing it (again, I am not counting my decidedly unrepresentative college yoga class). I tried it a couple days in a row and found myself longing fiercely for the days when I did only what I call my ‘yogic’ dancing – which is basically just swaying in place and flailing my arms and stretching my legs and maybe moving around in a circle-ish now and again. It wasn’t until I was on the couch simply being with God that it occurred to me that nobody but me had that yoga picture in mind, so why not go back to what made me happy before? What a huge duh that was. So now I’m happily swaying and flailing again. For me, it’s way more meditative in that I can sing my own song, or lose myself in music if I’m listening to some, and move any which way I want instead of following a prescribed pattern. It’s very sacred for me and it’s adequate exercise, so it works! Whew.
Along those lines, and it happened in the same being-with-God time on the couch, I saw a picture of my recent spiritual renewal. A few years ago I was a strong Christian. Between school and other life circumstances I became an agnostic, a humanist, and was contented with that. (Just an aside, but I know from experience that people can be perfectly contented without including God in their lives; they just live in a different paradigm; so I’ll never again wonder, “how do they do it?” It’s no longer what I want for myself, but it actually is easy.) More circumstances ensued and I began looking for God again, but searched outside of Christianity because I hated most Christians (except for the ones I loved, and then I only hated what they stood for). Now, I’ve come full circle: there are definitely things I dislike so much about what Christianity has become that I won’t label myself a Christian, but I adore Jesus and highly respect Christian mystics from both the Catholic and Protestant traditions. They feel like my people because they are my people, which is the point I’m getting to.
I now see Christianity as the core of my sworl of spiritual practice. From its center I pull on the golden thread that connects it to all other religions, and trust me, there really is a connection. Christianity is not at the center of my practice because it’s the right religion and the others are wrong. That’s an important distinction. It’s there because it’s the one I was born into, raised in; Jesus is the manifestation of God I was taught to love and run to in times of distress, to thank in times of deep gratitude. It’s my cultural and childhood religion and the one I have my roots in. I no longer need to fight that but can embrace it! I can be at home in the soil in which I was planted, and gain the most amazing nourishment from other sources as well.
It’s incredibly freeing to feel not only unbound by my tradition, but actually set loose by it; to know that I can rest comfortably in it without pushing anybody else away or feeling compelled to pull them in. I’m very, very excited to begin reading Christian mysticism again; to delve into the words of C.S. Lewis, Julian of Norwich, St. Teresa of Avila, and others, as well as modern mystics. I was blown away a couple of months ago when I idly picked up a book of essays by Lewis, whom I had always loved during my Christian years, and the pages fell open to his essay on meditation, and he was saying exactly what my beloved Tolle has been saying. The terminology may be slightly, or even drastically, different in some cases, but the message is the same. That’s the golden thread, the golden truth, that I’m keeping my eyes on at all times now. That way I can listen to my Hindu or Buddhist or Toltec or Mayan or Pagan friends and hear, really hear, what they’re saying and delight in our common belief! I can focus on our similarities and not our differences.
I don’t know about you, but I’m so over division, you guys. I’m all for unity. All for one and one for all! Let’s do that instead! Love you. xo