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Journeys and Introspection of the Interdependent Spirit Child

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30th January 2006

Monday, 30 January 2006 11:45 PM: Coming alive
Seeing the world come alive means opening my eyes, not seeing the world change.

6th October 2005

Thursday, 6 October 2005 1:14 AM: Questions about religion and spirituality
I am posting a short series of questions to a wide variety of religious communities (and communities that list religion as an interest) on LiveJournal. The purpose is to try to get as broad a set of answers as possible, and to find distinctions and commonality among the responses. I have tried to select the broadest community for each faith, but I am only posting to communities with open membership, frankly because I don't want to cross-post something this broad into a protected community, out of respect.

Notes...Collapse )

All of that said, here are the questions. Responses can be as long or as short as you wish.

1. How do you define "religion"?
2. How do you define "spirituality"?
3. If you adhere to a faith or religious/spiritual doctrine, does it require belief in the "supernatural"? If so, how do you define "supernatural"?
4. If you adhere to a faith or religious/spiritual doctrine, do you believe its founding or supporting texts (such as the Bible, Quran, and so on) are literal truth?
5. If you adhere to a faith or religious/spiritual doctrine, do you practice in a place of worship, or follow a guide/teacher/leader of some sort?
6. What role should religion or spirituality have in social/political decision-making, and why?

Thank you all in advance!

Posted to: buddhists, celticpagans, christianleft, freetobelieve, interfaith, interspiritual, islamicfeminist, jewcrew, ljbahai, om_bodhi, quakers, radicals, religion, religiousdebate, sanatana_dharma, secularspirit, shintoism, sociologists, sunsmoonsstars, theism, theravadins, chalice_circle, wiccan

2nd October 2005

Sunday, 2 October 2005 1:17 AM: Convergence
I almost regret creating a separate journal for spiritual matters. I regret that now I will first have to draw a line between politics and spirituality before I decide where I should post. I regret that now I will have to characterize politics as without spirituality, or spirituality as without politics.

When I set out as an activist, I knew from the start that spirituality would be bound up in my politics, and that it should be. I knew, even if I am still learning this lesson, that this culture is destructive, and I knew that spirituality would be an integral part of changing that. I also began to realize that the reverse is also true--our guiding philosophies and our religious institutions are inherently psychologically damaging, and fundamental political change would be an integral part of changeing that.

Maybe I've been influenced by the anti-religious sentiment in my political circles (and maybe this is an indication that I need to focus more on my spiritual path). But maybe somewhere in my mind I thought that some of the more innate details, exploring practice, philosophy and so on, ought to be distinguished from overlap, just as I originally created a strictly political journal to explore its own particulars separate from details of my personal life.

It's hard to admit I'm torn. And this is a weakness, I think. How, knowing that these focuses are bound tightly together, can I justify creating clear lines between the two? But I realize that I'd set up certain boundaries for reasons that still make sense to me, and I realize that the occaisions when I'll feel compelled to discuss matters of the spirit, it is beneficial to have somewhere to put them.

* * *

It seems that every year, one particular season will catch me by the neck, forcing me to stare my disconnection in the face in the most appropriate way: the realization that I am suddenly walking alongside the world unfolding around me, rather than chasing or being chased.

I wasn't really surprised to realize I'd spent the last eight months or so sheltering myself from exposure to some anguish I can't identify. This year brought me some trauma in still-unfamiliar territory, and I've been re-evaluating ever since.

But the joy of synchronicity is the perfect contrast to the misery of being always at the wrong place or time. Again I'm compelled to explore places I'd feared in the past, metaphorically and literally. I'm focusing on political work I once considered basically impossible, and preparation for a literal journey that will connect new spiritual frontiers (a ten day Vipassana meditation workshop), work on an organic farm, exploration of new corners of the world (including, but not limited to, the US southwest, Mexico, the US southeast, New England and Canada), deeper connections to family (especially in New Mexico), and new ways to travel (I have a variety of ideas brewing here).

Instead of feeling trapped, suddenly the world is opening up for me. If only I understood why here and now. But for now, I am grateful that I have the opportunity to walk beneath trees as they swell in color, and to smell the change, my eyes nearly filling with tears because I can feel again.

13th July 2005

Wednesday, 13 July 2005 6:29 PM: Ritual practices

I have been listening to recordings from the Anarchy Radio archive and was delighted to hear a discussion of spirituality, and I thought that my reactions to this recording might be an appropriate first post to this journal, especially given that I expect most traffic here will be from teapolitik at first.

One of the topics that came up on the Anarchy Radio show was about the practice of rituals. As a person who struggled for years to reject dogmatic Christianity and recalls the difficulties of that process, I have been very skeptical of any kind of practice whose meaning might be hidden or buried under layers of obscurity. But what does that mean?

Ritual is a part of everyday life for most civilized people. To borrow from the rhetoric of Green Anarchy, much of our daily interactions are mediated by one form of obscurity or another. Even the more obscure of these tend to have a value for interaction between people and other elements of their environment. Why shouldn't this be true of interaction between one's mind and one's soul?

I fear ritual because I fear loss of self-control. But fear and self-control are both ways to cling to the ego. Which isn't to say that repeating an empty mantra is the path to spiritual liberation, but it is to say that such a ritual practice might be analogized to the ritual of brushing one's hair. In the context of a spiritual path in which I am not watched over or directed by sovereigns such as the church, these fears I've expressed relate a great deal less to the fear of psychological domination by other humans, and a great deal more to the fear of becoming "lost".

My reluctance to sit for meditation, my reluctance to chant or to let the experienced guide with their practice, is well-reasoned. But perhaps it is its own dogma and perhaps I have to find the path between guarding myself from undue influence and guarding my ego from irrelevance.

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