Photo: I may not be marching, but I have a different Drum.
Perhaps I’m just getting old but, lately, I care less and less what others think of me or that people agree with my worldview. What brought this about on the beautiful morning before Sol’s scorching rays gifted me with his magnificence? I guess it was Facebook. Someone shared an interview with Rick Warren, staunch evangelical Christian. It was all, “God is good. I give my life to Jesus. I know that all Christians go to heaven.”
Nice sentiments, and I will admit that it is a better message than “We are all sinners and the Devil is about to devour us for eating that cream puff” crap. But still, it rankled. I think the god Chronos makes more sense. His sentiment is, “Be true to yourself, whoever that might be at the time.”
If you attended public schools after they stopped teaching Greco-Roman mythology, you might not know that Chronos is the god of time. In the myth, he and his consort, Ananke, took the form of serpents and circled the primal world egg until it split apart, forming the Earth.
So, now, Chronos has been demoted to being the icon of Father Time at New Year’s Eve parties.
Sigh. Anyway back to rankled. Part of me says, let it go. I completely believe people are entitled to their own beliefs and opinions. Another part of me groans that this sort of religious malarky still holds so much power over people. There was a time when I wouldn’t have commented, or would have at least been more tactful. But nooo, I dove right into Facebook and said just what I thought about most religion. Not so tactful or complimentary.
Maybe it’s because of my unique spiritual path that I never had to go through the religious trap (feel free to substitute a ‘c’ for the ‘t’ if you want). Even as a child, when I attended church, I never really bought into the whole sin and damnation thing. Well, maybe partly. That’s why I finally got baptized at the age of 14. I thought, “What if they are right? What if baptism is necessary? I’d better hedge my bets and get sprinkled.”
So I went to Dean Gilmet at the St. Paul’s Episcopal Church where my choirboy boyfriend and I used to sneak in after hours and do what was then called, “making out” to keep the hormones blazing through our young, hot bodies. Ahhh, Donald, you were a good kisser! Hmmm.
Wha…? Oh, yeah, baptism. Dean Gilmet agreed to baptize me into the Episcopal faith. I was sprinkled in a pompous ceremony surrounded by my sinful friends who had just come from toking up behind the rectory. I’m not so sure that old Dean Gilmet didn’t have his moments of bliss with the weed, too.
I felt soooo holy and purified. I was going to change my evil ways and dedicate my life to Jesus, and Buddha, and Allah, and Krishna, aaand maybe a few other guys, too. I would just keep those “others” to myself and not mention them to the Dean.
Well that sense of purity and being “washed in the blood of the lamb” lasted about a week. Then I was back to my old sinful self, sneaking cigarettes from my dad’s stash and filling coke bottles with beer from his in-home tap. Stuffing a pillow in my bed to look like it was me, I would often quietly escape through my bedroom window to meet with my partners in sin for a beach party, or a bash at a friend’s house. Once, I told my parents I was spending the weekend with my best friend Louise. It wasn’t a complete lie. Louise was going on the surreptitious trip to Big Bear mountain with us. We all piled into Freddie’s 1934 Ford coupe that got us stranded in the middle of nowhere. We ended up having to hike the road for three miles to hide out overnight in Gary’s mom’s storage shed…. Damn.
No bolts of lightning hit me for my evil ways. No devil came out to tempt me. At the same time, I had a deep sense of my own divine nature and that there was a god inside all of us. Very schizoid. I ran with a pretty rough crowd, and yet I didn’t get sucked into their world. I was always one who was set apart. Never belonging, either in my church world, or in my biker, pot-smoking, partying friends’ world, either. Somewhere in between.
I give a lot of credit for that to my mother who raised me to be an individualist, to think for myself, and to accept the consequences of making poor decisions. Thanks, Mom, wherever you are.
So maybe I’m not as surprised as I might be, at this stage of my life, that I usually don’t give a rat’s ass what people think about my beliefs; however, there was a time I did care. If someone asked me what I did for a living, I would say something safe like, “motivational speaker,” or “writer.” I still do that when the consequences of total honesty outweigh the rewards. By “consequences,” I mean having to bear the boredom of being lectured to by a “believer.” Or the consequences might hurt someone else. For example, if I am a guest at functions with friends and being honest might harm their career, or stand in way of them getting lucky later, I’ll usually play it safe in the “what-do-you-do” department.
Usually, though, I just tell people I’m a psychic, astrologer, and metaphysical nerd.
So, over the years of maturing, I have come out of the closet to tell the world that, yes, I am a heathen non-believer and that, in my-never-to-be-humble opinion, heaven and hell are constructs by the old church to keep the great unwashed in line.
Bill Mahr is one of my mentors, as is George Carlin. Mahr is an agnostic like me, and Carlin was a professed atheist. Both make a lot of sense in my world, but sometimes I think they go too far. I wonder what George is thinking now. “Wow! I was right. There is nothing.”
I don’t have any real evidence of an after-life. Although I have a sense that there is one. I have talked to and seen too many ghosts for me not to lean in that direction. I believe, as staunchly as I can at the moment, that we are all evolving toward a place where humans will stop killing each other and being cruel. Don’t see that coming in this lifetime, however.
I’ve had too many mystical experiences, spontaneous healing, prophetic visions, out of body travels, ET visitations, and such to not believe that there are lots of things happening in our world that most of us don’t have a clue about. To be 100% sure about anything, it would seem, needs more than just a 2,000-year-old book of word salad saying so.
Ahhhh, faith, it’s a wonderful opiate.
It’s a beautiful thing to have the ease of absolute rules. No need to take responsibility. No need to really work on ourselves. Just pray for forgiveness and all will be well. Just have last rites and heaven’s doors will open.
For me, I take from every guru, saint, holy person, scripture, spiritual path, and as much science as I can digest. I pick and choose what feels right and leave the rest. I guess that’s what everyone does—even Christians who pick and choose what fits their message from the Bible. So, maybe I’m not so different after all, I just took a different road using the same formula.
The only place I can think of where I am different from most homo sapiens on this planet is that I don’t hold onto my beliefs with the dogged fear that if I change them, terrible things will happen. But, on the other hand, maybe there are some of those fears still lurking beneath my consciousness. I am ever open to new discoveries about myself and others and my world view changes almost daily.
For now, I give thanks to the concept and archetype of Chronos. Create, grow, and flow with time. And may the great flying Spaghetti Monster shed blessings upon you.
I would love to hear your take on this and your own experiences with religion vs. spirituality. How did you get to where you are today? Are you still on a journey or comfortable where you are?
Thanks for listening. Leave a comment, big, small, beautiful, or not.