“Your perspective on life comes from the cage you were held captive in.”
~ Shannon L. Alder
I think a strong spiritual core is essential. Spirituality is, and has always been, a big part of my life. I urge people with developing spiritual senses to seek out wisdom to its fullest scale within your realm of understanding …. and then some. This world can be distracting, misleading, and superficial. Spirituality allows you to explore a dimension of yourself that will lead you to life’s deeper issues. It’s a road that leads to purpose and peace.
I believe there are as many religions and belief systems as there are perspectives of God; and there are probably millions that have yet to be discovered. Lost prophets whom we may never know existed, or marginalized belief systems that are now extinct. I believe that a person’s spirituality should be designed just as their diet. Different karmic food groups that come together to formulate something complete and provide the nourishment for your soul. It is your duty to explore and find which best suits you. My life experiences have determined how I choose to practice my faith and what it is I actually believe.
Why choose to choose?
I don’t think faith is as simple as choosing a religion and sticking to it. However, if your perspectives are in line with a specific religion, then you should practice it. If you feel ascension and connection within a religious group, then stick with it. If you do, however, identify yourself as a member of a faith that you don’t actually practice, then you should truly ask yourself if there’s a deeper reason behind your ambivalence. Are there parts within your subconscious that can’t completely connect your chosen religion’s dogma? At the very least, you owe it to yourself to determine and discover what it is you truly believe. When people become disillusioned with a particular belief system they tend to also become disillusioned with God — particularly when they aren’t able to separate God from religion, or understand the difference between spirituality and religion. Often, if a faith has been radicalized, fundamentalized and stigmatized, people separate from it and only observe it from afar –– one would hope; but that’s a subject for another day. One’s automatic assumption is if this religion is false to me, then so is God. The idea of discovering and exploring God as an individual doesn’t occur to them.
Keeping an open mind is essential. I can shamelessly say that I believe in many things. I believe the concept of God is simple, yet so vast that it cannot be neatly placed in a single box. Just as there are an immense number of perspectives on life, there will naturally be just as many attitudes and beliefs about God; whether people are willing to admit it or not. God is intrinsically different to everyone, yet seemingly governs the universe equally. You can ask 100 different people “how would you describe the world” and get 100 different answers because within “the world” are many variables and perceptions –– no two people experience things the same; their explanations may be similar, but there will always differences. The hand you are dealt in this life, your experiences, and your reactions to them, will determine how your life unfolds. You can have a conversation with a neo Nazi, a misogynist, a saint, or an atheist and each exists in their own reality.
Cognitive dissonance states we, as human beings, go to great lengths to rationalize any contradictions within ourselves. Mainly this means we struggle to balance what we believe versus how we choose to behave. This comes very much into play with the way we see and practice faith. We may believe that abstinence is the righteous way, but not practice abstinence. We will then avoid dissonance by telling ourselves it’s ok because we were really in love. We tend to do that with what we deem the most challenging rules instead of just saying we don’t believe abstinence is suited for us. We allow ourselves to avoid the pain of actually practicing the faith we claim by rationalizing what may very well be bullshit couched in logic. I don’t think you can actually believe in something you don’t practice. Somehow, people claim to be a practicing member of a faith without actually being a practicing member of the faith. Actions speak louder than words. Instead, we go through life doing the bare minimum our faith asks of us in hopes that, one day, we will ascend into righteousness. An example would be calling yourself a Christian when you don’t practice any of Christ’s teachings, as opposed to simply identifying yourself as a believer and seeker of Christ.
The concept of God is a manifestation of what you have known it to be
The concept behind this is the same –– faith is a language. It has been reported that people have miraculously awakened from comas or had near death experiences. People claim to have seen a prophet come to them along with a bright light. To me, the most fascinating thing is the prophet differed based on the person having the experience. A Christian saw Christ, a Jew saw Moses, and a Muslim saw Mohammed … so, who saw the right prophet? Are these experiences merely hallucinations that shift based on the principal figure each connected with and placed a strong faith in? Whom would you see? The point is that each was saved by the prophet they believed to be their savior. Is that not what really matters?
Religious and spiritual beliefs are one’s identity
I am someone that naturally connects to people, places, and things, very quickly. I am curious by nature and know the value of listening to anyone who speaks from experience. This has carried over into my spiritual thinking. I have a strong enough belief in my intelligence and intuition to not only simply believe in what feels ‘right’, but also in what adds up to me logically. For the most part, I choose not to discuss my spiritual/religious beliefs with people when they inquire. Not because I feel a sense of shame, but rather because my beliefs are often complex and contradictory to people. It’s an amalgam of diverse cultures and seems to be a singularly acquired taste. I can’t help it if I connect to one thing and not another, or choose not to be defined completely by one faith alone. To me, the universe and the idea of God are both too enormous to be fathomed. So, I do more discovering and connecting than anything else. I don’t, however, think that just because I think this way that everybody should. I do think that you owe it to yourself to seek and understand God through the design and method that he may have chosen for you and not settle upon a design or method someone else may have told you to practice.
Side-note: In the path to enlightenment, reaching the top is defined as a feeling of oneness with God. We have all experienced this oneness to some degree or another, whether it came from a pill, a puff, or a prayer. An ascended being exists in a perpetual state of this oneness. My problem is with people who claim to be ascended and enlightened, but manifest such hatred and hostility toward specific groups of people. I don’t believe it possible to be one with God and live with a strong sense of contempt towards anything or anyone. I don’t think godliness is a question of choice, it’s just who you become when you actually ascend. Harboring that kind of disdain for others shows you are much further away from the perfection of ascension than you realize.
If you are practicing a faith whole-heartedly, but still feel hatred or judgment towards others, then that faith is not working for you. If you are practicing a faith whole-heartedly and you have compassion and understanding for others, then your faith is working for you. It really doesn’t have anything to do with the faith itself as much as it has to do with how it affects you. The bottom line is acknowledging who you are and discovering the path that will actually lead you to that feeling of oneness. For example, my cousin Marie can’t drink milk because she is lactose intolerant. Milk makes Marie nauseous, bloated and constipated, so Marie stopped drinking milk because it isn’t working for her. I, on the other hand, love milk in my Lucky Charms®, and I know that drinking milk gives me the recommended supply of calcium that I need, so I continue to drink milk because it works for me. Therefore the question can be raised whether the problem lies with Marie or the milk? Is there even a problem to begin with? The real question is: Do some people have aversions to the faiths they choose to practice and not even know it? My answer is unequivocally, yes. Are the symptoms of this aversion to the faith hatred, hostility, and judgment towards others? My answer again, is assuredly, yes.
Instead of them focusing on doing “God’s work” and attacking ‘sinners’, people should focus on finding the path that will somehow transmute the hatred and hostility they feel towards others into love and compassion. If you can do that, then I’ll shut up and listen to everything you have to say. If not, then I can’t be bothered. I don’t need to learn how to hate –– excellent examples abound.
Be open to learning, growing, and ascending, on your own. Delve into what you believe you know by examining what you were taught and your life experiences. This is your answer. It’s all up to you. Research and discover ascended masters, deities, beliefs, and prophets, that actually speak to you, relish that connection, and see where it takes you.
Millennial Memo: According to recent studies, Millennials have a great disdain for Religion, the belief in God, and spirituality overall. There is a growing emphasis on individualism more than ever before. Millennials are rebelling and moving away from the idea of being a part of any group. Although I have a strong spiritual base, I have still become affected by the millennial shift into strong individualism and am seeking my own answers.