It seems my meditations are creating space for me to find simple words that ignite my thought process, often around things that I take for granted. Today that word is belief. I know what I believe. I embrace what I believe. But I have often wondered where my beliefs come from. Why do I believe what I believe?
I recall, as I was growing up in a Lutheran household that my mother impressed upon me the importance of her Christian beliefs, assuming they would be my beliefs as well. But I also remember questioning some of those beliefs.
I went to church and Sunday school, but I remember I would always volunteer to work in the baby nursery so I wouldn’t have to sit through the hour-long service. When I was sixteen, my mother told me that I could make my own decisions without consulting her for permission. She said that she had raised me to be a good person and she had either left an impression on me or she hadn’t. I don’t think in her wildest dreams she would have ever expected me to tell her that one of my first decisions would be to stop going to church.
I didn’t know it at the time, but this was the first time I remember doing something because I knew it was right for me. I told her that I believed in God. I distinctly remember putting my hand over my heart and telling her that I knew God lives in my heart, but I just didn’t feel I belonged in an organized religion. She was shocked. I’m sure she cried a lot when I wasn’t around because I was stubborn and she knew it. Always prone to letting me explore through experience, she acquiesced to my decision.
As I reflect on that decision, I recall that I didn’t have some strong and burning desire to pursue any other belief. In fact, I didn’t even know about other beliefs. Perhaps, at the time, it was more about exerting my independence and being rebellious.
In my twenties, I stumbled upon a book about religions of the world. I skimmed it and realized that all religions focus on a higher power. Each one has a variation on the same theme which gives it credibility as “the one” for people who need to identify with a specific doctrine. That made me feel better about my decision because I have never lost touch with my knowing that there is a higher power that seems to be available to all of us.
Somewhere between my thirties and my forties, I realized that I am spiritual but not religious. When I examine what that encompasses, I arrive at some very simple components of my personal belief system. I belief there is a power greater than me that guides me and loves me unconditionally. I believe that I am here on this planet to love and be loved. I believe that every belief that is not grounded in love is grounded in fear.
I also believe that I have a unique purpose for being here. That purpose, like the purpose each and every one of us must find and adhere to, involves doing something that serves my fellow human beings (for more on finding purpose in your life visit sourceimperative.com).
I believe that all separation from those beliefs comes from my ego needing to be in control of something that cannot be controlled. This lifelong dance with my ego has helped me to find my way to surrender but it has taken the better part of my life to realize that in my surrender to the divine guidance of that all-knowing higher power, I always find my answers.
My intuition has been the driving force for my acceptance of and my adherence to my personal belief system. It bubbles up within me, takes hold and when I acknowledge it, I find an inner peace in simply knowing it is the glue that binds me to my beliefs. It has proven to be accurate so many times that I can no longer question it.
Note: After many failed attempts at meditation, I decided to take the advice of music mogul, Russell Simmons, who wrote Success Through Stillness. He suggests setting a timer for twenty minutes and sitting still regardless of distracting thoughts. I wrote after each session to create this thirty-day blog series.