I’ve often tried to explain or write down in detail the steps in my life which have brought me to my current set of beliefs. The difficulty lies not only in defining exactly what my beliefs are at the current moment (at least in terms which are meaningful to anyone but myself), but also in figuring out the points of transition along the way to this point.
In very broad terms, it’s been several decades of questioning. First, those questions were not so much of a spiritual nature. I began by questioning whether what I experienced first hand in the world agreed with the picture of the world my parents had painted for me growing up, and found little similarity. Issues were not as simple. People could not be sorted into neat categories as I’d been taught. I saw shades of gray where I expected black and white. I learned that things I’d been taught to fear were not nearly as threatening as I’d been told.
And from there, everything unraveled.
But the path from the beliefs of my childhood to the beliefs I now hold can’t be described as a neat path from point A to point B. One revelation or epiphany doesn’t lead neatly into the next. I only know that the journey started with a question, the investigation of a skeptical thought, and that now I’m somewhere in the middle of that journey. My beliefs are more about the process, the practice, the theory of what spirituality means and entails rather than about truth and knowledge.
That’s why I decided to write a book. I am fairly sure that the process of researching and writing will move me farther along the path than any of my previous unguided wanderings. If I keep asking questions, I’ll keep finding more questions, and eventually I might start turning up hard answers. Or maybe not. I’m not sure if I believe hard answers exist.
But, as they say, traveling is about the journey, not the destination. Perhaps we would all get more out of our spiritual lives if we treated them as the journeys they are and worry about the destination later.Tags: personal essay, religion, spirituality
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