So now that we know each other a little bit (or at least you know me a little bit) I will share some of my thoughts on spirituality.

I believe we are immortal souls living these human lives in this reality, that we have many potential soulmates and one of our purposes is to find one along with having experiences, learning lessons, creating and reaping sowed karma both good and bad.

I believe many of us have lived lifetimes throughout time and when its our time in this lifetime in this reality we go home to another dimension we can call heaven that exists outside of time.

There we can connect with loved ones that pass away during our lifetimes and stay for infinity, oscillating back and forth from this wonderful place from life to life as it pleases us.

I believe in karma, any sowed in this life both good and bad will be reaped either in this lifetime or the next or dealt with in some other way.

I believe our actions have consequences in a manner of cause and effect, that we are called to live our lives to the best of our ability and that the good we do in the world will come back to us.

I believe in redemption. If you have wronged someone in some way and you know it, make the situation right with them, it will allow your relationship to flourish and ease your guilt and dissipate resentment. Feeling true remorse is essential for the relationship to heal.

There is hope for you in this life. Find your soulmates. live your experiences. learn your lessons. Fill the ocean of karma with goodness.

Brandon

10 thoughts on “Spirituality and hope

  1. I think this a very good post. The debate on heaven and hell is not important. Rather, the way you’ve approached life is. That what we do has consequences. it prompts each one to do good. A thought provoking post

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you very much, I appreciate your compliment. I agree, thank you for your comment!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I had a similar negative childhood experience with that most understood Christian concept of ‘heaven and hell’. I was maybe 9 or 10, church and Sunday School, even a Lutheran grade school. My uncle, who I was not particularly close with, died and I was at his funeral with all the family and friends. As I went up to see him in the coffin I started thinking how I had always heard these bad things about my uncle from others close to me in the family. And here he was laid out before me, probably bound for hell, at least according to my infantile 9-year old understanding of anything. This disturbed me for a long time. But I continued with church, going through the motions for several years until high school graduation, when I moved out to the West Coast.

    For many years I had nothing to do with church. I didn’t mind other people believing, but it was not for me. I had places to go, people to meet….And I hated it when people would try and convert me. When asked if I had taken Jesus into my heart, I said, no, I have taken music into my heart. (I became a musician).

    But after music school and studying ethnomusicology, I became interested in eastern religions, middle eastern, Sufis, Yoga, meditation, and particularly the role music plays in these other traditions, which I found lacking in Western society. So after years of that, maybe 10 years ago or so, I came into contact with a bright young pastor at the Covington Community Church of the Brethren. I was going through some really horrendous life changes at the time, deaths in the family, kids going away to school, way too much prescription medicine, I needed help, and I knew it. Pastor Jeremy was a Godsend. He was only there for a couple years before he transferred to a Church of the Brethren in Arizona, and we all miss him. But what I learned there really helped me sort things out. I even stayed on at that church for 5 more years as Worship Leader organizing and helping with the music.

    Brethren, like Mennonites, are anabaptists. They do not believe in baptizing the young. If a young child is baptized, say by another denomination, that is fine, no harm done, but the child had nothing to say about it, so it doesn’t really mean much to them. Anabaptists only will baptize a person when the person has decided they are old enough to understand what the sacrament is all about. Then it has meaning. I think this practice, along with all it implies would take care of 9/10ths of all these negative childhood experiences we have with religion. Anabaptists also practice foot-washing once or twice a year, and basically they practice a very simply return to the teachings of Jesus, particularly the Gospel of Matthew and the Sermon on the Mount.

    During that first year with the Brethren I started going to Men’s Retreat down in Oregon once a year. We read some books by Marcus Borg. Now here was a writer that really made me feel good about being a Christian again! He too had left the church for a long time. But he went on to teach comparative religions and travel to the Middle East and do Bible archaeology. So he hadn’t lost his faith in God, only his faith in organized religion. He worked with several other well-known theologians and scholars on The Jesus Seminar that ran for several years. His main premise is that in order to take the Bible “seriously” we need to not always take it “literally”. Eventually Borg did come back to the church, the Episocopal Church this time, and he wrote and taught and helped many people until he died a few years ago. I highly recommend his books…”The Heart of Christianity”…”Meeting Jesus Again For the First Time”….”Reading The Bible Again For The First Time”……Jesus and Buddha…..and he wrote a novel just before he died called “Putting Away Childish Things”. A wonderful man, a brilliant scholar.

    From Marcus Borg I learned about hermeneutics – the literary art and science of interpretation and meaning in sacred texts. There is a philosophical school of hermeneutics popularized by Martin Heideggar’s phenomological studies that I am currently learning about. So there is a ‘hermeneutics’ for law, for art, for computer science, for anything really where we are involved in deriving meaning out of text. Words can often be misleading. Understanding often fails. But in Biblical hermeneutics, the emphasis is on understanding the cultural, sociological and philosophical context of the writer of the text and their audience. Hermeneutics helps us overcome the vast distances of time and space that separate us from a deeper understanding of ancient texts written in another time and place far removed from our own. This enabled me see two things: 1) To see the amazing parallels that run through all religious traditions, that basically they all teach the same thing, just through a different cultural lens. and 2) How taking a sacred text literally can truly destroy our ability to fully understand what its about. Reflecting on the great and growing amount of religious plurality in today’s world, Marcus Borg said “Anyone who only knows one religion these days is in real danger of losing the whole point of religion.” Religions should not be pitted against one another. Religion and atheism should not be pitted against each other.

    I know this is long, but I cannot complete the thought without completing the story. At the same time as I was doing hymns every week with the Brethren, I was learning about the Baha’i Faith with a community of Baha’is where I live. The Baha’is believe all religions come from and are about the same One God. They see validity in all the religious traditions of the world. But since its founding in 1864 (or so) the Faith has sought practical ways to bring the people of the world and the religions of the world together. The Faith is based on principles including equality of men and women, equality of all peoples of the earth, non-violence and world peace, elimination of extreme wealth and extreme poverty, the independent investigation of truth, and the harmony of religion and science. They have thousands of pages of the original texts written down by Baha’u’llah when the Revelation came to him that he was the Divine Manifestation for this age, bringing the teachings of the past masters to the people of today. You’d think that since they have all his original texts intact, written by the one and only founder of the Faith, they would have a much easier time of getting folks to agree on what the scriptures say. But no, there is plenty of room for interpretation. These discussions will no doubt continue for another 1000 years until the next Manifestation appears.

    Point is, the Baha’i Faith, along with my studies of comparative religion have actually allowed me to understand Christianity much better than I ever could as a child. Putting away the things of a child means putting away the old meanings we thought we believed in when we were too young to even know what we were talking about. [Which most often involved the literal approach] Religion has turned many a good person away from God, just as many a well-meaning music teacher has turned many young people away from a life with music. This is sad, to be sure. But even today as formal affiliations with organized religion are dropping into the pit of historical oblivion, there is an equally fervent rising interest in “global spirituality” – meditation, chanting, yoga, interests in eastern philosophies, spiritual art, literature, poetry and music, even psychotherapy.

    That Baha’i principle of the harmony of science and religion has been the one most often on my heart these days. Many would see nothing but conflict between the scientific world and religion, except for maybe weird stuff like Intelligent Design and Creationism, which isn’t good science or sound theology. And it is true that since the scientific revolution and the Age of Reason, material progress has far outraced our spiritual progress. The Baha’is would like to address that by making spiritual education as important as regular intellectual education. We believe that science and religion both emerged originally from the same divine impulse in humans to know the world and their place in it. Cartesian duality and materialism has split Mind from Nature, spirit from matter, the sacred from the profane. But I am interested in the healing that is taking place today all over the world that seeks to bring religion and science back into harmony. This will not be achieved in a single step or a million steps. It will be an ongoing process of learning. Everything we learn from science sheds new light on the nature of the universe and ourselves. We have developed the ability to create weapons of mass destruction but science alone cannot give us the wisdom to know how to manage such power. That has to come from spiritual growth.

    So don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. Whatever horrible thing happened to us as children is what it is. Science can help us with tools for dealing with the physical nature of these injuries, but only spirituality can help us grow as spiritual beings from these tests and challenges. Psychotherapy has much in common with mystical Hebrew kabbalah. It just changes the terms into a secular context. In kabbalah the idea is that the world is broken and we are in a process of fixing it by finding the missing letter and restoring it to its rightful place in the sacred alphabet. ‘Holy’ and ‘heal’ come from the same root. They both mean “to make whole”, to complete oneself. Healing is not the same as curing. We can have healing even at death. Healing is the restoration of balance with whatever condition we happen to be dealing with. We can’t always make something go away, but we can be made whole again with it and with ourselves, so that it no longer drags us down, but becomes the source of great inspiration. This is how we learn from tests and challenges. Some people will be more comfortable with psychotherapy than with mysticism. But it’s all good, whatever helps a person become more compassionate, more forgiving, more understanding, more patient, more loving, more themselves.

    Let God out of the box of anyone’s preconceptions. God is beyond being. Just as Moses was unable to see God at the burning bush, God is too great a “thing” to comprehend with just your mind. In Apophatic Theology, we describe God not by what God is, but by what God is not. Here is a little poem I wrote about that:

    APOPHATIC MUSINGS

    How is it possible to know a thing without knowing a thing about it?

    What is life?
    We can cite all the biology in the world and still come up short.
    Yet we experience it every day.

    What is love?
    Hard to describe,
    but we have all known love
    whether we were aware of it or not at the time.

    What is God?
    We can cite all the theology there ever was
    and still come up empty.
    Yet we can know God
    through relationship,
    and through ineffable spiritual experience.

    What is truth?
    Someone may say,
    “I know that ‘such and such’ is true,”
    But that seldom convinces.

    We only know truth
    through the phenomenology of existence,
    our experience of that existence
    and through the expression of that experience.

    As it is with God, it is with love and life itself as well.

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    1. My first sentence should have the word “misunderstood”, not “understood”, referring to the concept of hell.

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  3. anne leueen says:

    I also believe we are spiritual beings.I think that we may reach the next existence, heaven or whatever we would call it and we can choose to come back and help others.Or we may choose to remain in the next life and still help others who are still here on earth. Thank you for your post it is very thought provoking in a good way.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your comment, for sharing your beliefs and making a connection with me. It’s my pleasure, my purpose is to help better the lives of others 🙂

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  4. rawgod says:

    Just a question or three:
    Were you brought up christian?
    When did you leave the church?
    Why?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was brought up christian, yes. I asked Jesus into my heart when I was probably 3. It was really scary believing my mom was going to go to hell and we’d lose her for eternity if we couldn’t get her to become a believer which my dad kinda put on me and my brother. Anytime she was running late or not home when we expected her we feared she would die and be damned for eternity and we’d never see her again, a pretty terrifying notion for a young child. Somehow I was able to block that out and not accept it so it didn’t affect me as much as it did my brother. I sincerely believed up until I got into college, it was kind of a gradual thing as I developed my capacity for critical thinking and learning to question everything. I don’t know if there ever was a time I “left the church” like as an act of finality or something I still go sometimes with my dad, I haven’t been in a while though, I actually become a member, mainly as a symbolical act to bond with my dad who is very special to me, I mainly go to spend time with him and it means a lot to him for me to go with him. I’ve left the church in that I’ve rejected the tenants of hell doctrine which is the fundamental foundation Christianity is designed upon, that we must be saved in order to be saved from our deserved fate. This concept festered inside me since childhood and eventually I could no longer constrict my thinking to accept. I had an after death experience when my brain injury occurred and a choice whether to come back to this life or stay there. At first one of the reasons I wanted to come back for was because I needed to save my mom but I was given knowledge that she would be ok, and everyone would be ok.

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      1. rawgod says:

        Thank you for your answers. I am very sorry your father put such a weight on you and your brother at such a young age. It is sad that children are not given the chance to grow up before they are faced with such choices and obligatons.
        I too was brought up to be christian, and even excelled at it for quite a while. But I was physically and mentally abused for years by my father, and my sisters were sexually abused.
        When I left the church was not an important thing for me, I just drifted away, finding more and more questons, and answers that made no sense to me. I had two drug-induced NDEs, but I went in search of those. I too was offered the choice to return or move on. Both times I returned. I brought back a wealth of feelings with me that took me many decades to decipher and understand, and by the time I did I no longer believed in superbeings, but I do now believe in spirit, and in life. These things I tell you in reciprocation, I am not trying to steal anything from you.
        I have asked you some philisophical questions, which you need not answer if you do not want to. They are loaded questions, designed to discover where you are along your path through life. It is an exciting time and place for you.
        Take care. Be safe.

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      2. You’re welcome, thank you for your empathy, I fully agree about children. I’m so sorry you and your sisters had to endure such abuse, that is awful. Our traumas help chisel us into the people we are but do not define us.
        Thank you for sharing your experiences, it is very meaningful to me to hear your journey and perspective. it took me much time to decipher my own as well, many of my memories did not return until much later. I’m always happy to answer philosophical questions and enjoy getting deep with people. I hope we are able to shift back to normalcy soon, its certainly a very stressful and uncertain time, I’m looking forward to getting back to the excitement, its hard right now, with how many people are suffering and dying its a time to be somber and show solidarity. Take care and be safe yourself and everyone else reading this also.

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