Somewhere along the way the simplicity of belief became convoluted.
Somewhere I began to accept the requirement of explanation; defending the reasons behind my beliefs to prove my "rightness" instead of embracing the beauty of the unknown. Explaining myself distracted me from my beliefs, and the reasons became more important than the belief itself. I forgot to enjoy interacting with what I believe in.
to accept (something) as true; feel sure of the truth of.
to hold (something) as an opinion; think or suppose.
As I begin making the distinction between what I think I know and what I believe, I'm stripping away every assumption and expectation. I'm sorting my thought process by asking the redundant whys, like a child on a road trip, "Are we there yet?"
My brain feels a little like it's going to explode but my heart feels five times larger because I can finally breathe.
I'm going back to basics. I am rewinding to the beginning and starting over. I'm pretending I know nothing and learning how to choose what I believe without worrying how I'll explain it to someone else or how to win them over to my way of thinking. That's what religion did to me and I'm so over it.
If I attend an event with 100 people, there are 100 unique perspectives of the evening and not one of them is "wrong". So if I believe in God, I lean toward my personal experience. Easy, right?
I don't know why I believe certain things. But at any point I can - and likely will - change my mind. Believing is mysterious, magical. Believing is feeling. Believing is having an opinion.
I choose to believe in God because I like the idea of God.
I like considering there is something, someone greater than myself. I like thinking there is a being outside of time and space who wants to connect intimately with me. I like saying my soul's language is the language of God and my only need is to learn how to listen. I like believing the purpose of my life extends beyond the 85 years I'll likely live here on Earth; that I'll either be reincarnated to experience another life - on Earth or in another dimension - or as a bodiless soul enjoying an eternity of heavenly realms. Because I've never died before, I can't say what's on the other side of death but I am choosing to believe there is something.
I choose to believe in Spirit; the Holy Spirit of God living inside of me because it makes me feel good. I speak about the language of my soul being the language of God and that's what I believe Spirit is. Spirit lives in my subconscious, always trying to break into my consciousness, so I can live a more fulfilled life as my whole self. I believe Spirit is trying to remind me who I am because I often forget and get tangled up in what's "good" or "bad", "right" or "wrong". I believe there are only the things that distract me from who I am and the things that affirm me in who I am.
I choose to believe Jesus was real. I like the way his mind works; how he practices his faith and expresses his beliefs through storytelling. I want to be a storyteller. I also believe I'd likely doubt him more than trust him if he was walking this planet today. A man wandering around telling people he is their savior arouses suspicion. But I like the idea that God was like, "These people don't get it so I'm going create Jesus and show them who I am." I've learned a great storyteller shows, not just tells.
Growing up religious, I have to separate the practices I was taught makes a "good" Christian. And I have to separate myself from the label of Christian altogether.
- I'm choosing to read the bible as a historical document weaved with poems and a beautiful narrative of love, life, hardship, discipline, and a God I couldn't possibly understand. I don't know if I need the bible to be more than that.
- I choose to pray because it helps sort what I think and express how I feel in an active meditation. But I don't believe prayer requires words. Prayer is being and connecting to who you are; practicing the art of listening to your soul's language.
- I'm not sure I know where attending a church building fits in to all this. So I'm choosing to keep my distance until I'm ready to tackle it - if I'm ever ready.
Have you ever forgotten how to swallow?
Your muscle memory temporarily lapses and you struggle to remember how to do something you normally do without thinking. You no longer know your body is going to react the way it's supposed to and so you hold to belief it will happen. Belief leads to faith, faith leads to trust, and trust leads to hope. In a moment of panic, you hope. That's where I am, and this is why I'm starting over.
My beliefs start with me - not with the bible or religion or what I was taught growing up.
Most importantly, I'm choosing to believe in my process, my questions; I believe in myself. I believe in honesty, transparency, and vulnerability. I believe there is nothing I've done or will do that won't bring me back to myself. I believe the journey to accepting and becoming my whole self is where I will discover more about my belief in God. And I think that's a pretty good place to start.