Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Spirituality - to grow and mature spiritually

As I've aged, my spiritual nature has become more focussed. I've always thought of myself as a "spiritual" person, mainly because as I got an early start in a sobriety program I shunned all associations with organized religions. For me, "spirituality" got the work done without having to deal with organized religion.

I found personal success when I put my issues into the care of a higher power not necessarily called God, but nature. Nature is so obviously out of my control, there was no better face to put on the concept of a higher power, and this became my embodiment of 'God as we understood him'. Even so, I would never call myself a nature worshipper.

I could never find an organized religion that made sense to me or felt authentic. Most dogma seemed hollow - it always felt as if I was required to accept someone else's experience as my own and deny my own feelings

As I gravitated to doing athletic things, I grew a real love for the outdoors and re-kindled my respect for nature as a higher power. Running and riding are meditative activities for me. I think of the mountains as my own personal cathedral. I think of riding or running with my athletic community as going to church.

More recently I've found myself totally resonating with Buddhist philosophy. I was advised to go to Buddhist temples to meditate, and have found this to be very fulfilling. Everything I've read and learned about Buddhist philosophy feels utterly at home for me. The concepts of compassion, of loving kindness, training my mind to be open, being mindful and aware, these resonate with me fully. I practice Tonglen breathing when I go to meditation, and it gives me peace. I love living mindfully, open, respectful of others and their experience. I feel good about myself when I practice this philosophy.

I know, right? It sounds like crazy woo-woo, and it feels so grounding.

It is very important to me to share a spiritual framework with others in my life. I'm definitely not a religious person trying to recruit or testify. I believe that all humans are essentially the same creatures, we all want connection. I believe it costs nothing to be compassionate to others. I believe in sharing loving kindness. I believe that mindfulness gives me a greater experience of the world.

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