Saturday, March 16, 2013

“The seeker embarks on a journey to find what he wants and discovers, along the way, what he needs.” ― Wally Lamb, The Hour I First Believed

I was trying to remember when my unquenchable thirst for the meaning of life began.  I don’t think I much cared about why I was here, or what I was to be doing here as a very young child.  Life was lived moment by moment;  the way all small children approach the world,  with wonder, and entitlement.  Little ones are intuitive about their purpose here.  They know it’s their birthright to simply live in joy, because they are still connected to that place of unconditional love, from where they came.  They don’t need much to live in a state of wonder either; they seem to find it right where they are- with everything or nothing.  Their only purpose is pleasure and amazement at the gift of life and all its magic.    That is until society and religious doctrine infiltrate their heads and manipulate their thinking to fit whatever tribe they’ve been born into - - -   Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, Hindu, Muslim, Atheist.  The list goes on.  Then you add race, traditions, social status, family history, demographics, and economics into the mix.  

I truly don’t remember much about my earliest years. I was born to a teenage mom, virtually fatherless until the age of four. One would think this would color a child’s relationship with the world.  I don’t think it did, back then, until the chatter of the world got ahold of me.   I recall writing an older cousin, an assignment I had been given when I was doing some childhood healing work many years ago, and asking her “What was I like as a child?”  Her response sparked some memories of this joyful little girl;  "Happy and sweet, a tiny lover of life, she said......  most of all, curious, very curious".   I had to write my own obituary one time too as another healing assignment.  Another perfect example of my incessant thirst to know more about who I was and what I was born to be.  A  dedicated emotional intelligence scholar and self-proclaimed self-help Queen, this assignment was designed to help me envision what goodness and gifts I wanted to leave behind to the world.   It wound up being a lengthy, free flowing commentary; part fact laced with humor, and part fantasy laying out an intention.   One of the early sentences in my highly dramatized, creative prose said,  Rebecca entered this world, an old soul, both eyes wide open, inquisitively searching for the meaning of life from her first breath.  I’ve come to realize, that statement is not an embellishment; it’s a fact. A lovely way to enter the world for sure. But, there are some that view curiosity with a sort of disdain believing those of us with a thirst for more to be  malcontents.   They don't understand that sometimes it's in the wandering we find the most beauty and joy in life. 
Honestly, from the age of about 10, up until a few years ago, I did feel a little guilty about it.  This incessant need to know more, and more, and more about our Creator, The Source, The Universe, and things beyond my human body and five senses, overrode my blind acceptance of how I had been coached.  I felt disloyal to my “tribe” and its teachings.  My parents so carefully cultivated this framework of organized religion with the best of intentions.  They wanted me to have a path to learn right from wrong,  apply order and discipline, and expose me to the spiritual gifts exemplified by Jesus,  so I would learn the importance of infusing them into  my own  human life.  Examples of kindness, service and community were reflected in the religious circle I grew up in.    It was also important to them I have something solid to turn to when life got out of control.  I am thankful for that.  

Yet, it has been the times when life was the most out of control that the organized doctrine of my tribe failed me. With messages of the Old Testament variety of guilt, shame, and punishment, it was often hard to find any comfort there.  Judgement was the thing I feared the most, and I simply couldn’t reconcile to a God who had the same human, mean-spirited traits as me.   Those beliefs didn’t make sense at times, not only on an intellectual level, but in my heart.  Other times, I WAS able to focus in on a Jesus of compassion, and healing, and hope. When I couldn't.... I wandered.  I’ve discovered some of my most spiritual ah-ha moments behind the doors of a twelve step program, and I  began to discover a beauty in the meditation practice and seeking the silence exemplified in Buddha, the belief in miracles in Kabbalah, the power of transformation in the life of St. Francis of Assisi, and modern day miracles in the wise teachers of today.  All of it woven with the love of the God  I have, unshakably  come to understand.  

The times I have felt the most nurtured are when I have listened to the voice within and wandered  down a path,  into the dense forest deeper into the unknown, leaving the religious guilt and shame behind.  There is where I find I can get still enough and quiet the noise of old tapes:  giving myself permission to let my soul connect with an unlimited  source of different doctrine and practices. My God is bigger than a one dimensional force spelled out, instruction manual format.  My God is bigger than a three, four, or five dimensional force.  I have to be willing to be flexible and teachable in order to be a companion to Life.  The Chinese Philosopher, Lao Tzu says it so well, “A man is born gentle and weak; at his death he is hard and stiff.  All things, including the grass and trees, are soft and pliable in life; dry and brittle in death. Stiffness is thus a companion of death; flexibility a companion of life. An army that cannot yield will be defeated. A tree that cannot bend will crack in the wind. The hard and stiff will be broken; the soft and supple will prevail.”

Certainly a Christian by birth, but when I wander into the realms of Spirit, however they are named, I know I am not lost.  I am living the way my God wants me to; learning, growing, teaching.   The path is clearly marked.  If it is about Love, then I am traveling down the right road.  

.... their ain’t no journey what don’t change you some - David Mitchell, Cloud Atlas