Most of us know what it’s like when something doesn’t feel right or it just doesn’t fit. Yet, even though it doesn’t feel right for us, we often try to fit ourselves into society’s pre-determined boxes. I’ve spent my life working to change some of those societal boxes, but I’ve ultimately decided to escape the boxes that I’ve tried to fit myself into. I choose to live my life in a way that’s authentic to who I am meant to be, not who others think I should be.
Earlier this year, I left the Republican Party and became an independent voter because I don’t think that any political party represents me. Party platforms, doctrine and orthodoxy just aren’t for me. While I generally have a right of center perspective, I’m too much of a free-thinker to fit into any political box.
Recently, I’ve been thinking a lot about religion. (Holy shit, he’s about to go there!) Yes, religion.
For most of my life, I’ve considered myself to be a Christian. The message and teachings of Jesus Christ have always resonated with me. His message is essentially the same as most of the other of the world’s great religions – Love everyone. He asked us to treat everyone the same, and do it in the way you want to be treated by others.
It’s the doctrine, ritual and orthodoxy of Christianity that I have been rethinking lately. To me, it seems kind of like politics these days, one group is RIGHT and the others are WRONG and nobody else has a valid opinion about anything.
Over the course of human history, that religious right versus wrong mindset has been the cause, or at least a component of, many many wars and loss of millions of lives. Even if they haven’t caused violence and wars, nearly every brand of religious doctrine has been used to limit personal freedom – that’s right, our “God-given” freedom has been limited by religion. (Trust me, I know first hand about that.) That’s not what religion is for.
I’ve come to understand that nearly every religion on earth was founded to explain the same thing. It’s the divine energy that connects us all. It’s pure and it flows through all of us. Some religions call it God. Whatever they call it, I believe that it’s all the same thing, and they are all fundamentally RIGHT.
In their attempts at explaining it and how we can live our lives in accordance with it, every great religion has taught us something that we can learn from. I’ve been exploring different religious traditions and have been amazed at what I have learned from across the religious spectrum.
Now, I have decided to declare myself a spiritual independent, as well as a political one! I’m just too much of a free-thinker to follow in an all or nothing way. This has been a long journey and certainly wasn’t an easy decision. The religion box, more than any other societal box I’ve been in, took a lot of soul searching and thinking to escape.
Again, just like in politics, I’ve found out that I am not the only one. There is a whole independent movement out there! People in this movement call themselves a lot of different things – “spiritual but not religious,” “spiritual independent,” just plain “spiritual,” or nothing.
There are many many people all over the world, just like me, who are learning from many different spiritual traditions. We are learning how to be better people and live our lives in harmony with that divine energy that connects us all. More and more of us understand that there’s not a single religious tradition that is 100% right. In fact, we’ve seen over and over again that some deeply held religious beliefs have simply been proven to be wrong, but there’s no reason to discount everything because they are wrong about some things.
At the end of the day, whatever your religious tradition or spiritual beliefs, we should all recognize and respect the fact that we are all just trying to make sense of the unexplainable connection that we all have with each other.
For the record, I call it Love. The Beatles had it right all along. It’s all you need.
***NOTE*** All you have to do is Goggle to read a ton of information about people who are spiritual independents. This site –www.spiritualityandpractice.com – is one that I especially like because it has a lot of diverse links.