Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Conversations with Ourselves-The Question

I love conversation. I love the interaction, mingling, sharing, and even merging of thoughts produced by conversing with one another. It is a way in which we can grow together. Of course there are many pitfalls to conversations in which I will not get into today (name-calling, being argumentative,  miscommunication, assumptions, etc.). I want to focus on the power of conversation and especially on self reflection.

(H/T to McGrath from Exploring Our Matrix for sharing this photo).

Self reflection is something which I enjoy so much it's almost second nature to me. Asking questions is what guides me through my daily
self reflection moments. I am a thinker, and I always will be. I can get lost for hours down the rabbit hole following question after question. I can't help myself from asking questions, to think and wrestle with those questions and see what (or, more importantly, who) emerges. Answers are too easy, and easy answers can be messy and come with strings attached. But when you wrestle with a question, you come from the experienced a changed person. Not necessarily good or bad ( that's too black and white) but a changed person, a new creation. There are no easy answers to life, although some of us may feel better with easy answers, being human is an experience which must be experienced. And with each experience we are transformed, with each thought and wrestling we become something new, and in our actions we create a space for new things to flourish. THAT creative space is what I used to call God and what I still hold sacred.

So the question I ask others, but mostly myself, is "who are you, really?" For me THIS is the question which catapulted me into a sea of questions. Are we merely a collection of experiences, memories, genetic code, characteristics? Are we afraid to ask, or afraid to discover? What if we discover something about yourself which causes us shame and embarrassment, what then? What if what we are is completely alien from what we've been told since childhood? How do we wrestle that? How do we live? How do we be human? How do we love? The questions can go on and on, and we can either wrestle and learn to live WITH them, or we can take the easy prepackaged answer.

So who are you, really?

Part 1) Conversations with Ourselves: The Question
Part 2) Conversations with Ourselves: The Internal Struggle
Part 3) Conversations with Ourselves: The External Struggle
Part 4) Conversations with Ourselves:  Reflections on Who We Were
Part 5) Conversations with Ourselves: Making Peace with Chaos
Part 6) Conversations with Ourselves: Making Sense of It All

Saturday, October 6, 2012

The Spirituality of Facebook?

"The universe, it is vast and dark and makes us wonder if we are alone. So maybe the reason we make all of these things is to remind ourselves that we are not."

Oh Facebook! I love thee as much as I love Youtube. This new promo both tickles and inspires me. In celebration of their 1 billionth active user Facebook has released this new commercial comparing Facebook to, well, chairs. You can read more on the video here and Zuckerberg's statement here. In his statement he says,
"For the first time in our history, we've made a brand video to express what our place is on this earth. We believe that the need to open up and connect is what makes us human. It's what brings us together. It's what brings meaning to our lives. Facebook isn't the first thing people have made to help us connect. We belong to a rich tradition of people making things that bring us together."
 While Facebook can sometimes (scratch that, most of the time) be a narcissistic stage where one can shout to the world what you ate for lunch, at the core it is a place which does indeed bring people together. That yearning for interconnectedness is what drives my spirituality, and Facebook does a decent job of creating a digital connectedness (even though we are bombarded by game requests and random advertisements). It has been argued that social networking sites (and we could throw in the whole of the Internets for the sake of argument) causes more harm than good by keeping people glued to their computer monitors instead of interacting with real people in the real world. That would depend on your level of self-control but I admit it can be addicting. On the other hand social networking sites have the potential of bringing the lonely and isolated together. I mean where else can an Atheist or Agnostic surrounded by fundamentalists neighbors go to find a sense of community? I believe the online digital community is vital for those leaving established religion behind and seeking their own spiritual voice. I'm not saying Facebook is THE place to congregate digitally, but with 1 billion active users it's a good place to discover and connect with like-minded people. Remember, you are not alone.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Internal Battle

David Hayward illustrates what many of us believers in exile have experienced.When David shared this on Facebook he said  he wasn't going to say anything to "just see what happens". That rascal. On his website he says that he is a graffiti artist on the walls of religion. I'd go one step further and say he's a holy rascal.  

[Intellect vs. Belief by David Hayward]

Has this happened to you? I struggled with this internal war for years before letting go of religion. My beliefs have changed. I feel it has led me to be more compassionate and loving towards my fellow man. This works for me because I've realized that our spirituality is uniquely our own. You don't need an outside force (religion) telling you HOW to be human. It can be useful but not exclusively necessary. Churches are hemorrhaging members and they are doing everything they can to bring lost sheep back into the fold. Most use fear tactics which backfires mainly because people they (churches) fail to understand one of the main reasons people leave is because they don't feel comfortable in that community. They leave because they don't feel welcomed, they feel alone within the community, and even feel that there is more fear than love being spouted from the pulpit. It just doesn't work for them. But just because it doesn't work for them means your faith is meaningless. Quite the opposite: by discovering your spirituality is your own allows you to grow in your faith, to grow in love.  THIS works for me. What works for you?