I don’t know what your experience was with religion growing up. But I grew up Roman Catholic, and it seems to me that Catholics like to keep a healthy distance between God and man.
Sure there are a lot of rituals, but there doesn’t seem to be much in the way of experience.
Believe me, I was just as excited as the best of ’em to finally receive my First Communion. To wrap my mouth around that dry, stale wafer, which always seemed to get stuck to the roof of my mouth.
I had finally taken in the body.
I had expected some sort of shift. Enlightenment perhaps.
I got nothin’.
The blood was my favorite part, although, even at seven, I was conscious of germs and new that little white towel wasn’t disinfecting any surface. The wine was rare though, only special occasions. I was certain the priests saved it for later and got wasted after.
The body, the blood. Really?
I didn’t get it. I didn’t care. I was just so proud to stand stoic in that line, all serious and church-like, pretending I was down with God just by association.
I left parochial school in 8th grade and with it went all the coolness of the Catholic rites of passages, aka sacraments.
No soon after, I was invited to attend a friend’s youth group function and was introduced to a Southern Baptist church. Boys, trips to amusement parks, dances, lock-ins made chillin’ with the big J.C. seem totally worth while.
It was only when I got tricked into “giving my heart to Jesus” (which comes with a free hotel-room bible, btw) and not getting the part in the Christmas musical, when I decided that faith wasn’t for me either.
Once the teen years hit and all scapegoats under fire, God was my favorite target. If he was so great, than why was my life such shit.
I became skeptical of everything. Untrusting. Zero tolerance. Zero faith.
I had one angel. And she was in heaven, only because I didn’t know where else to put her. And that was it.
I had always been taught that God was outside of me. Separate. He’s easier to point a finger at that way.
Flash forward almost 15 years, and I was desperate. Everything that I had denounced from self help to spirituality was all falling off the bookshelves at me.
I wanted no part. Like a kid with her mouth sealed shut, twisting head from side to side in order to avoid the spoon full of peas, I wouldn’t crack.
By now, I had two angels, from whom I’d felt glimpses of peace. But God, nah, only the feeble need God.
Well, as they say, God works in mysterious ways. Here I was, more feeble than I’d ever been.
The radical shift came, at 30, when I actually experienced God (call it what you will: Source, Universe, Spirit, Life Force, The Big G, My Homey, whatever … it’s all the same).
I had loosened the grip, one white knuckle at a time, from a firm and very stubborn set of beliefs, sitting down in my first meditation. And it was just seconds into settling quietly and getting still that I felt a vibration all over my body, when I finally understood.
I got it. That source of unmistakable infinite energy was inside of me all along. It is in the separation and the distance we keep that makes us feel so lost and alone.
Now don’t get me wrong, me and G weren’t instant besties or anything, but I knew we were gonna be tight. He/She/Thou was super patient when I had my meltdowns and kicked and screamed like a bratty tween, and always gracious when I returned fumbling with apologies.
The Big G cannot be explained in words, sacraments, or even scriptures. Like water, you must taste it, swim in it, bath in it in order to truly grasp its meaning.
Coming to know the Big G requires perhaps quite a bit of letting go. But I will say, it’s absolutely worth it. I get what all the fuss is about.
I don’t necessarily prescribe to any one religion; I just pick and choose the pieces I like from each.
My life has never been more rich and fulfilling. And I owe it all to finding the Big G in me.
I leave you with this: Have you had that experience yet? Walked in the woods and felt supremely connected? Swam in the ocean and felt as natural as a fish? Sat in meditation and trusted you were right where you belonged?
No? Well then, let’s do it. Your Greatness awaits. It’s life-changing.