I’ve not relied on many spiritual guides through my life. Largely this is because I’ve never quite been convinced that there is anyone out there who will guide me to where I am trying to go. Let’s face it, spiritual leaders exist to guide people along a prescribed path to a prescribed destination, and the instructions are not open to interpretation.
On the plus side, this means I’ve never had the unfortunate experience of being misled by a spiritual guide.
But this also means that I’ve always had to go my own way, like slogging through the untamed jungle of religion with only a machete and a compass.
That’s not a bad thing, though. The feeling of being lost (or maybe not lost, only searching) is what has driven my entire spiritual life for the past 20 years. For me, I’ve come to realize that the search is the root of spirituality. It’s not a matter of certainty. Certainty is terrifyingly boring. Who wants to live the rest of their existence absolutely certain that they understand everything they ever need to know? Where is the wonder, then? What is there to be excited about, if it isn’t new discoveries, new understandings, the revelation of mysteries?
And that is why I think I’ve never wanted nor accepted the guidance of anyone else in my spiritual life. The quest is my religion, and if I have a map or a guide to show me the mysteries of existence then it isn’t a quest, it’s a tour. I don’t want a step by step guide to enlightenment. I want to spend my whole life digging for new truths, new epiphanies, new layers of understanding. I want to see old things in new ways and include new components in old traditions.
I’ve long said that my goal in life is to get to old age and, rather than being able to say I committed myself to one job and worked it until the end, I wanted to be able to look back on a long list of experiences, skills, and accomplishments. Though it’s taken me a very long time to realize it, I now understand that my spiritual ambitions are similar. I have no interest in ultimate truth wrapped in stagnant dogma. I want to understand the breadth and depth of human thought on spiritual things and to spend my life thinking about what it all means.
The divine is knowledge. Knowledge is infinite. Learning is the ultimate religion.Tags: personal essay, religion, spirituality
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