Someone I knew a few years ago, and reconnected with on Facebook posted this recently, and when I saw it, I had one of my Aha! moments. Of all of the descriptions I’ve seen, this one gives the best explanation I’ve seen for what I’ve learned works for me.
The environment in which we met and worked together wasn’t one which found anyone engaged in discussions of what I would consider a deeply personal nature. Our focus, at the time, was on supporting our kids through fund raisers and band competitions.
Before I take a side trip down memory lane, I’m going to try to get to the point of tonight’s post.
More and more as I reconnect with people from my past who left a mark on me which causes me to pause and just feel the goodness of the mark they left, the more people I’m finding, some of them, quite unexpected, who have found the deeply personal, unique combination of choices which make up their own solo spiritual path.
Some, like me, spent a lot of years drifting along, feeling like a misfit in the midst of people who were deeply involved in a journey which included membership in a particular religious community. Others seem to have taken their differentness and found that solo path much sooner. As the years have gone by, either society as a whole has become more tolerant of those who neither want nor require affiliation with an organized religious group, or those people have just become numerous enough make the stigma less noticeable.
I have many friends who still follow the religion of their parents, and find both joy and comfort in belonging to that community. The difference is, where my experience in the past was that most of those people believed that theirs was the only one, true way, I’m finding that most are a lot more open minded and tolerant now.
I’m not saying that there are no longer those who do believe in the one, true way. Instead, I’m seeing a lot more tolerance, at least around the people I know and associate with regularly. I would like to believe that such tolerance is growing, as it would make for a much kinder world in the long run. I know, though, that it is a rather drastic change to the world as we know it, and not everyone tolerates such a change gracefully.
I would like to believe that education helps to increase peoples’ tolerance of differences, rationalizing that the more you know, the more you realize how many belief patterns there can be, and the more you understand that everyone has to find their own way. But I don’t think it is education alone which teaches people tolerance. Acquiring that education might expose a person to more diversity than if they were to grow up and never leave the small, insular neighborhood where they grew up. But just exposing people to diversity will not ensure that they learn tolerance.
This post took a rather different direction than I was intending, and may seem a little preachy and dry to some, but what I’m trying to communicate, albeit rather poorly, is that more and more, I am pleasantly surprised to find that people with whom I interact, both directly and via the social networks are, more often than not, embracing their personal Spirituality as its own, unique being, either with or without association with an organized religion. Those who continue to practice their religious beliefs as well, tend, more often than not, to be a lot more accepting of those of us who walk the solo path.
Even if this change was isolated to only the people with whom I interact, I would still consider it a beautiful and welcome evolution, but words I hear, things I see and examples which are being set, quite often, by our young people, assures me that where there truly is religious freedom, people are learning to follow their hearts, and accept the right of those around them to do the same.
Though the news is still filled with dramatic examples of man’s inhumanity to man, those attention grabbing events are, from where I sit, far outweighed by even more significant examples of of man’s humanity to man, to Earth, and to all with whom we humans share this planet.
I admit that I don’t watch the news any more, but not because I want to put my head in the sand. Quite the contrary. I don’t watch the news because I prefer to focus my energy on celebrating the goodness, the kindness and the love instead of wasting a single second being horrified by the acts of a small percentage of our population and giving them the energy to perpetuate their aberrant behavior.
To quote the late John Lennon: “you may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.” Perhaps we might still see the world as he imagined it come to pass in our lifetime. I see no reason to lose hope.
My gratitudes tonight are;
1. I am grateful for the progress I’m making while following my new routine.
2. I am grateful for the ideas which are shared with me every day. So many bring joy to my heart.
3. I am grateful for the good news about Patches’ blood tests. She’s remarkably healthy for a 17 year old cat!
4. I am grateful that my ear is starting to unclog for a few seconds at a time without having to fiddle with it to clear the fluid.
5. I am grateful for the flow of ideas which I enjoy, despite my now solo career.
Love and light