Through the years I’ve had the opportunity to go to many different services and ceremonies of different religions or faiths with various friends and acquaintances. In many cases, these opportunities have been educational and informative, interesting, and pleasant.
And then there are the ones where, despite my desire to observe and experience from a distance before choosing to interact on a deeper level, the group culture or tradition itself forces visitors into the midst of the experience. It’s like religion’s hard sell, and everyone in the church is trying to convince you to purchase a timeshare in the afterlife. No one leaves until the newcomer at least signs up to bring a dessert to the potluck.
I don’t know about everyone else, but it is precisely the times where I feel most put upon, most dragged out of my comfort zone, that I am least likely to want to be part of whatever I’m being forcibly pulled into. And I’ve wondered what kind of person experiences that kind of thing and responds positively to it. I’ve come to the conclusion that my reluctance to be drawn in is a clear sign that I’m not the kind of person they want, anyway. I question motives. I observe and dissect. I don’t take things at face value, and I’m certainly not a fan of blind faith.
I think any path which cannot draw you in by simply letting you observe and assess isn’t worth your time or spiritual energy. If you have to be suckered into the hard sell, what of value could they possibly be offering?