If you have met or talked with me, you know one of the first things I tell you about myself as a wedding officiant is I consider myself spiritually-oriented. I have nothing against religion because I know how religion is practiced is totally dependent on the heart and mindset of the individual.
Most of you consider yourself spiritual as well. Religion and church for whatever reason has turned you off. Perhaps that’s the way of progress, of evolution.
What Does Spiritually-Oriented Mean?
Being spiritually-oriented means looking at life from a broader perspective. It means that there is an inner relationship to what is happening outside of us, not the other way around.We look beyond the physical to the spiritual core of what is going on within and around us.
Spirituality can be but is not necessary to adhere to any particular dogma or belief system. But knowing yourself as a spiritual being does include feeling connected to something bigger than one’s self.
Most of us who are spiritually-oriented are looking for meaning in life. We know we are better off getting in the flow.
Religion is about form, dogma or doctrine, prescribed behaviors and adherence to the dictates of an authority figure. Religion is structured and for some people, takes the guesswork out of searching for answers. A priest or minister or teacher says, “This is the answer. Take it and don’t change it.” No painting with grey or wrestling with options.
If I were to explore all the reasons so many of us admit to being spiritually-oriented, but feel a bit of tension come into the conversation if “religion” is brought up, I would be writing a book. (Maybe I will do that later.)
Having said this, I have also learned that NOTHING and NOONE is all bad or irrelevant. And so I say there is value to not throwing the baby out with the bathwater. In other words, don’t throw religion out nor throw spirituality out because of bad experiences or listening to what someone else says without checking it out yourself. (Let me put in a plug for pit bulls – it’s bad owners, not a bad breed. Don’t throw these loving, loyal dogs out because some owner trained their dog to be mean). I repeat, don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.
What you may not know about me
What you may or may not know about me is I am a seminary-ordained (rather than going on the internet and in 10 minutes being ordained without any training or real support. All for the bargain deal of no training for $29) minister. I went to Licensed Teacher’s school for two years, and ministerial school for another 2 years. I volunteered in children’s ministry, led meditations and taught classes in other churches for four years while also working in the telephone prayer ministry for six years.
Kicking and Screaming
At school, I studied metaphysics, counseling, public speaking, mysticism, Christianity and a variety of other religions. I went to school kicking and screaming because I didn’t like organized religion, and I am NOT a joiner. Churches depend on joiners. The word “church” conjures up the feeling of religion. I valued being independent and having freedom above almost all else. I still do. When I was a pulpit/church minister, there was always an inner conflict for me between freedom and form. But the benefits outweighed my negative perceptions. I hadn’t quite thrown the spiritual baby out with the religious bathwater.
Before I entered and during ministerial school, I worked for our prayer ministry, Silent Unity. Being a part of the extraordinary changes in people’s lives as a result of affirmative prayer was totally awesome. I learned prayer is a word for entering into the flow of the goodness of Divine Love and Life, or may I say the word, God? There. It’s out. God god god god God.
A Panicked Couple
I remember praying for an elderly couple who had just withdrawn $25,000 in life savings from their bank account. Their plan was to transfer it to another bank a trusted son had recommended.
On the route to the new bank, their car broke down. Guess what happened? Their cash-filled briefcase was stolen as it sat waiting to get into the auto repair shop. Were they panicked? Absolutely.
But somehow they had enough presence of mind to call Silent Unity. They knew they had to get out of the problem and into a powerful mindset that transcended the problem.
I answered the phone. We prayed. “In Divine Mind, nothing is lost, stolen or misplaced. The suitcase that seems missing is now promptly restored, or its equivalent in value is now made manifest.” I heard the big sigh that signifies the person on the other end of the phone is relaxing and letting go. We hung up and I went on to another call.
To be continued… (check out Part 2)
An amazing program for the spiritually-oriented is coming out soon…
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