Originally posted 6 months ago elsewhere
Every year or two I like to make an assessment of what my beliefs are. This encompasses a lot of things but the only one I really write about are “religious.” It’s a place that I’ve evolved in greatly. I grew up in an Assembly of God Church and was a devout Christian. I’ve studied with so so many Christian denominations, Buddhists, Hindu, and so so so many other religions its not even funny. For a while I called myself a Theist with Christian leanings, then a Deist, then an Atheist. Then I settled in where I am now and have been for a while.
The simple answer I give to people about what I believe in is I am a Secular Spiritualist and Humanist.
When people ask what I mean by Humanist I like to share this definition “Humanism is a philosophical and ethical stance that emphasizes the value and agency of human beings, individually and collectively, and generally prefers critical thinking and evidence (rationalism, empiricism) over established doctrine or faith (fideism). Generally, however, humanism refers to a perspective that affirms some notion of a “human nature””
So of course I have to explain Secular Spirituality as well. I’ll swipe from wikepedia because it’s almost spot on for me. “Secular spirituality refers to the adherence to a spiritual ideology without the advocation of a religious framework. Secular spirituality may embrace many of the same types of practices as religious spirituality. Secular spirituality emphasises the inner peace of the individual rather than on a relationship with the divine. Proponents make a case for a form of secular spirituality in which the motivation is to live happily and/or to help others. Secular spirituality emphasizes humanistic qualities such as love, compassion, patience, forgiveness, responsibility, harmony and a concern for others.:22 Aspects of life and human experience which go beyond a purely materialist view of the world, without necessarily accepting belief in a supernatural reality or divine being. Spiritual practices such as mindfulness and meditation can be experienced as beneficial or even necessary for human fulfilment without any supernatural interpretation or explanation. Spirituality in this context may be a matter of nurturing thoughts, emotions, words and actions that are in harmony with a belief that everything in the universe is mutually dependent.”
But these two elements really are only half of what my beliefs are. The other half is much more amorphous and some of it is more primordial. I do not believe in morality. I do believe in the supernatural elements but believe that it is aspects of science and the natural world that simple have not been explained yet. I believe in the power of pain and how it pushes growth and evolution. I believe that destruction has to happen for growth to continue and this includes personal destruction. I do not believe in a higher power but have a “Deity” for lack of better term.
To tell people I do not believe in morality always causes people to want to argue with me. “If you didn’t believe in morality you would be in jail.” No. I follow a set of rules that have been placed upon me without my consent by generations long dead so that I may mostly live the life I want to live. Moral structure is developed by those in charge. My example is this. If you grew up in a society where you were required to rape a child on your 18th birthday then it would be morally acceptable. It is as simple as that. Many Native American tribes the right of passage for males were to go on the warpath and to kill an enemy. This was morally acceptable. So morality is nothing more than a human construct that guides a culture. So the concept of “higher morality” I do not believe in.
As for believing supernatural elements but believing that they will one day be explainable. One example is white sage smudge sticks. White Sage has always been a plant to purge evil and cleanse places. Science has shown this to be true in the cleansing aspect. Burning a white sage smudge stick causes ionization of the air where the smoke passes. That ionization purges and cleanses, think back to how ion air purifiers work. Also I study quantum mechanics/physics for fun. Once you see what has been discovered on a quantum level you can understand some supernatural. I’ve also seen things that I, and everyone else, cannot explain. I’ve experienced things that should not “rationally” have been experienced. Thus I keep a very open mind. Now I do think a lot of “supernatural” in the aspect of the damn New Agers is a bunch of bastardization and hogwash (if you are a New Age person I’m sorry if you are offended). But I believe in the power of the Human Mind to influence things. I believe in energy. Energy of the human body and mind and how it can affect crystalline structures, people, and life/death. Hence why I have a strong desire to study with shaman’s and medicine men/women. I want to study from old roots. Roots that I believe to be more true. I want to learn and grow with that study.
A core aspect of my belief is pain. Pain as a form of growth. Pain as a driving force. It has been shown that children that experience less physical pain have slower brain development. Emotional and physical pain is easier to remember in the human mind. The reason for all of this is it to survive. I may take it a step further but that’s probably because my life has been a constant whirlwind of pain from the day of my birth. It’s the one obvious power I’ve known. I’ve learned to harness it and use it to push myself forward and have learned to draw out the pain from others and use it to shape them into better people. But pain has a double edge sword. It can strike you down as quickly as build you up. It has to be balanced and controlled or you’ll find yourself kneeling on the ground bleeding out from a thousand cuts.
Destruction is the same thing for me. I’ve had my life destroyed over and over again. Each time I’ve grown stronger from it. But I see this on a larger scale. Look at humanity. We grow and grow and grow and fall and destroy ourselves. Out of that destruction comes chaos, solidification, and rebirth. You can see it in history over and over and over again. You can see it in nature as well. Forest fires burn away disease, the too old, the built up rubbish that has yet to go away, and frees up the area for rebirth. Hence why forest rangers will often do controlled burns of areas. There are prairie plants that cannot go to seed unless they catch on fire. Destruction is necessary for rebirth and fighting that destruction often slows and hinders rebirth.
I do not believe in a creator or god of any kind, but I can say that I have a “deity” of sorts. There is a saying I’ve said since I was a child. I don’t know where it has come from but I’ll share it in a moment. I participated in a Oneness awakening. It was an amazing experience. One part of the Oneness awakening was discovering your deity. I don’t believe in a god so this was difficult for me at first and my mind fought it hard. When I relaxed into the exercise and stopped fighting it everything snapped into crystal clarity. My deity is Life and Death. It is an element of power that is one in the same. You cannot have life without death. I’ve challenged and faced down Death more times than I can remember. I’ve embraced Life in ways that most people never will. I learn from the Life and Death of plants, the Life and Death of humans, Life and Death of animals, the Life and Death of civilizations and cultures, and the Life and Death of my self as I have grown and changed. Because the life of everything has a story to tell to us but so does the death and how that death ripples throughout everything. They are my teachers, my guides, and my ever present companions. For whatever reason they always have been because as a child I use to say “I am a pupil of Life and Death.”
I can honestly say that my beliefs are not firm set, They are always growing and evolving as I learn and grow.