How Did I Get Here—Wherever that is?

(My Spiritual Journey)

 

Quite a while back I watched the movie, The Answer Man, about a man who had written many authoritative books about GodMillions of his books had been sold and translated into many languages. He became a recluse because so many people were trying to seek him out, and he didn't know zip.  The description (and why I watched it)  said that though he was hailed as a guru, when the plain truth was: he didn't have a clue. 

I enjoyed it.

Over the years I've learned to ignore those who say they have the spiritual answers to the questions you seek, because nobody really knows. Most of us are predisposed to believe something.  (See footnote) We only know what we believe and that doesn't make it real. Generally what believe is what we first learned—most often because of either the culture or the family we were born into.  

However, there are people have devoted their lives to learning and they can be of help.  The important thing is to be on a journey that leads you to a Divine Creator or a "First Source." A religion that lets you know that you aren't alone; that you were created for an unknown purpose.  What I seem to have learned or assimilated is that both the journey and the destination are the reasons for life; the paths, however, are many.

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My spiritual life began without my being aware of it; I was baptized a Presbyterian as a tiny baby.  Later, in the second or third grade I asked my mom if I could become a Catholic—not because of any great spiritual understanding—but because my sister, who was six years older than me, had converted.  I suspect now I just didn't want to be outdone by her.  After all, if it was good enough for Patty, it was good enough for me.  

Even though I was really young, I was considered a convert, so week after week, Saturday morning's would find me trudging off to the base chaplain, Father Kelly, and study my catechism.  (My dad was in the navy stationed at Alameda, CA.)  One of the questions I still recall is:

Q.  Who is God?

A.  God is a supreme being.  (That answer didn't mean squat; I was too young to understand "supreme."  I'm still too young to understand the totality of it.  That would have been about 1948.)

From those days until my late twenties I was a staunch Catholic.

In the sixties the Catholic Church made many sweeping reforms that altered my feelings about the church.  Things previously considered "sins" no longer were—such as eating meat on Fridays.  My reasoning?  The pope (supposedly) represented Christ.  Christ represented God.  If the church changed its mind, then God must have changed his.  Since the church taught that God was "all knowing," that didn't make sense, for in my mind an all knowing God should have known it wasn't a sin from the beginning.

To my my way of thinking any God (or supreme being) who changed his mind wasn't much of a god.  Or...the pope didn't represent him after all.  Because I believed in God more than than the pope, without any ado, I silently left the church.  As a result of dropping out of church, but still believing in more than what we merely see, I became—without even realizing it, a seeker of truth.

Being spiritually oriented and leaving the religion of my youth was the hardest thing I had ever done; it was like turning my back on God, who I really believed in.  As I look back on it, however, it was also the best thing I ever did and that God was, without me knowing it, leading me all the way, all the time.

In my searching I've passed through Hinduism, Buddhism and esoteric cultic practices, including witchcraft.  As a Rosicrucian practitioner, I learned to meditate.  Today I no longer follow any of these 'isms.'  I understand that they are all paths leading somewhere, but not necessarily to truth or ultimate reality—whatever that may be. (See footnote 1.)

Meditation was the best thing I could have learned, because through meditation I discovered there is more to life than I ever thought possible.  (The only problem with meditation is that those who teach it always seem to have an agenda—theirs.  So, meditation often brings a religion with it.  Other than that it's a wonderful practice.)

Though I’ve been making spiritual discoveries through meditation for more than fifty years, the information on these pages began in the early 90s. Before that I kept my “learning” personal and private.   

   

What made me begin sharing my experiences started with a prayer for God when I asked Him to heal my arm which had become crippled by arthritis—and hearing a voice in my mind say, “No!”

“Why not?” I shot back in stunned disbelief.

“I never do for you what you can do for yourself.  Heal yourself and then write about it,” the "thought-voice" said.

So that’s what I did.  The writing forced me to focus on what I’d gleaned over the years and pull it together.  It also brought to light some of my contradictory beliefs—contradictions that many of us have.  (See a contradictory example below.)

The healing of my arm was just a beginning that kept leading to greater and greater discoveries about the manner in which the universe acts, reacts, interacts and responds to thought—your thoughts, my thoughts, and the thoughts of others.  (The Universe is a physical representative of the mind of God.)  (See footnote two)

The things I’ve learned about spiritual wholeness that lead to physical health, spiritual wealth and happiness as a natural byproduct, are shared here in the pages for anyone who is interested. Everything that has been put here has been learned the hard way, meaning by hands-on experience—and it works if you are diligent enough.  (Logic always dictates that, if it works, it's real; if it doesn't, it's a dream, a lie, or wishful thinking.)

My hope is that you glean useful information from these pages, adapt it to your own life and cram it into whatever faith you follow.  If you disagree, fine.  Discard what you disagree with.  I can only share what I believe to be right.  All beliefs, including mine, are just that—beliefs.  Believing something doesn’t make it right or true.  After all, wars are always fought because two sides believe something different, and both believe that God is on their side. 

If you have questions, e-mail me by clicking here.  I’ll answer the best that I can.  (And you can rest assured you won’t be put on an email list.  I'm not selling anything, so I don't want one.)

Regardless, may your life be happy, healthy and filled with joy.  

Where did all this take me?  Well, since writing all this I have become a Presbyterian (USA) pastor serving in Reedsport, OR.  I've been a pastor for the past 15 years.  If you wonder why Presbyterian, well here's the answer: it is one of the most intelligent of churches where people actually think, rather than nod their collective heads up and down and say "Amen!" at the appropriate time.  It is also one of the most accepting faiths, meaning all people are welcomed as the children of the universe—God's children—regardless of race or sexual orientation.  Presbyterians (USA) take the Bible as inspired, but realize that the fingerprints of man are all over it.

 

A Kindred Spirit

 

Contradiction:  To me one of the greatest contradictions in religious logic is to believe in a loving and perfect God and yet—with the same logical mind—also believe that a loving god inflicts pain and suffering, destroys cities and nations on a whim, demands sacrifices and then even goes so far as to sacrifice His own son through a horrible death.  Even as imperfect as we are, we wouldn't do those things.  If we wouldn't, why would we believe that a perfect and loving God would?

Footnote 1:  This is just the beginning; we have all eternity to learn.

Footnote 2: According to some studies, our minds are hardwired to believe.