Losing my Religion: Finding peace in all the right places

“View the world not as a battlefield, but as fertile ground to practice being awake” — The Buddha Walks into a Bar: A Guide to Life for a New Generation

We all have a different life journey. Some will walk the same path, but with different size shoes, or maybe with a big or smaller stride. We may all be on the journey of trying to conceive, but each of us has our own story behind the battle, and deals with it accordingly, usually with some type of theological practice.

When I was 14, my mother,43, died of Leukemia. My 12 year old sister became a staunch atheist, and very hateful to herself and Christians.  My brother, was was 16 at the time, turned to faith. He became Mormon, because that is sort of the religion we followed growing up. Mormon and Catholicism to be exact. Confused? So was I. So he became Mormon, and me….I just tried staying afloat. Since I was now the “lady” of the house, I tried my damndest to keep the family together. I made lunches for my siblings for school, I took care of all the house chores while my dad was working, and dealing with loosing the love of his life after 17 years of marriage.

So anyway, while my brother was going to church, he would come home and get SO mad at me and my sister because we weren’t going. At the time, I was going every now and then to this non-denominational church down the road, mainly because I loved the social interaction with people my age, and it got me out of the house. My brother would  yell at me that that church will not get me into heaven, and “where are your apostles? your bishops?! If you want to see mom, you need to be Mormon!” and I would just cry. My dad finally stepped in and told him he wasn’t allowed to preach in the house. I did end up going to his church for a little while, and I enjoyed it, again just for the social interaction. I didn’t feel a thing anytime I went. We would pray, and I felt more empty leaving the church because I never felt the “warmth” they were telling me to feel. So I went back to my church. My pastor asked me where I had been, and I told him I was checking out the LDS church down the road, and he sat me down and told me “Those people are Christians. It’s a cult. You need to stay away from here”…. WHAT?! Those people were SO nice, they were moral, they read the Bible…. I was confused and angry that both these churches were against each other.

So then, years down the road, I went off to college. I truly wanted to “feel” connected to something. I was envious of the church goers I saw, because they believed and felt so sure…and I never did. I always doubted. I joined  a Christian organization in college called Campus Crusade for Christ, I sang in the worship band, and met my future fiance. I liked it. It gave me ‘friends’ in college and made me be conscious of my decisions, and in college, you need that! But it still didn’t FEEL right. The hypocrisy of that organization made my stomach ill. Premarital sex was obviously not good. If the pastor found out we were doing it, we’d be kicked out of the worship band. So my fiance and I were going to “wait” until we got married. Others were finding it to hard to wait, so they went off and got married over the weekend…..How on earth is that keeping the sanctity of marriage?!

A year later, my fiance went off to basic training. His family was against me marrying him because I had a Mormon family background, and they too, believed it was a satanic cult. So it was difficult. He was VERY religious. When we were to be married, I was going to be pregnant and at home, and our children will be christian-based home schooled, by me. After basic, he went on to tech-school, where he slept with THREE different girls. SLEPT! So I read him the riot act. I told him “I am far to young to be desperate enough to stay with you. I am not so ugly that I wont ever find someone else who will find me pretty. I am better than you, and stronger than you think. I don’t need you. So this is good-bye”, and I sent him on his way. The organization SHUNNED ME! SHUNNED! They told me I had made a promise to marry him, and I shouldn’t break it. “yes, what he did was wrong, but marriage isn’t easy”…… Did someone give you people Peyote?!
I lost many “friends” because of it. I had one male friend, who was truly a friend. He was also my ex’s roommate. He didn’t care for him. I trapped myself in my room for a week. I didn’t eat, just slept. Finally my friend called me, told me to put on some clothes, and we were going to go for a walk to get some fresh air and vent. It was exactly what I needed to get out of the funk. It was so good to hear from someone that I will be fine, and find someone who will be better for me. Well, my friends girlfriend found out we went for a walk (broad daylight, at the University), and called me out DURING SERVICE. She told me that it was wrong for me to console in someone that was not my significant other and “whatever issues you are dealing with, you take them to God, and no one else”

If these were a reflection of Christians, I wanted nothing to do with the faith. They were close minded, angry and full of hate.

So I left it, and was boarder line Agnostic. I didn’t believe, and I didn’t want to believe, but I felt some sort of guilt that, I was doing something wrong. So I began a quest. I researched every religion out there, so when I made my decision, whether it be Christianity, Catholicism or Mormon, I would be making an educated one.

I passed by a coffee shop called “His Grounds”. Kind of catchy eh? A woman on the street asked me to come in to get free coffee. There was live music and some prayer groups going on. I thought. “This is my sign!” So I walked in and it was nice. We got to talking, and she was telling me the power of prayer. She told me her husband had terminal cancer, and they prayed so hard, and he was healed. I told her “I prayed too…my whole church did, and my mom died” and she told me “Then your mother wanted to die”. Holy fuck. Did she just say that?! Yep , that was my sign indeed, I definitely want nothing to do with these crazy people!

Then I met my husband today. he wasn’t religious. We tried to be, but he was on the same understanding with me. “These people are crazy” and “If I’m a good person, I shouldn’t burn for eternity”. Since we were poor in college, we drank a lot of cheap whiskey and put puzzles together, having in depth conversations on life, love and science

We moved to Chicago, and I went to the Adler Planetarium,….. and I felt it. I FELT IT! That warm feeling of acceptance. The one the church people told me about. I felt it….at a planetarium….. I looked to my husband with tears in my eyes and said “This is it. This is my church”. And he agreed.

So, now that I established that my “Church” was equipped with a Telescope and had moon rocks in it (WTF , right?)….I did still feel the guilt. So I wanted to find a way to get over the guilt. *Enter the 14th Dalai Lama*

“”If science proves some belief of Buddhism wrong, then Buddhism will have to change.
In my view, science and Buddhism share a search for the truth and for understanding reality.
By learning from science about aspects of reality where its understanding may be more advanced,
I believe that Buddhism enriches its own worldview.” – the 14th Dalai Lama
 
“Buddhism does not accept a theory of God, or a creator. According to Buddhism, one’s own actions are the creator, ultimately. Some people say that, from a certain angle, Buddhism is not a religion but rather a science of mind. Religion has much involvement with faith. Sometimes it seems that there is quite a distance between a way of thinking based on faith and one entirely based on experiment, remaining skeptical. Unless you find something through investigation, you do not want to accept it as fact. From one viewpoint, Buddhism is a religion, from another viewpoint Buddhism is a science of mind and not a religion. Buddhism can be a bridge between these two sides. Therefore, with this conviction I try to have closer ties with scientists, mainly in the fields of cosmology, psychology, neurobiology and physics. In these fields there are insights to share, and to a certain extent we can work together.” – The 14th Dalai Lama
 

It made sense. It fit perfectly in what I already believe in my heart. I started reading his books, “An Open Heart“, and it made sense! I would read pages to my husband and he would just passively smile at me and says “Sounds like he gets us”.

Isn’t that what faith and religion should be about? I shouldn’t feel guilted into something, just because someone thinks I will go to Hell if I don’t. I love it. It has helped me so much with this trying to conceive journey. It helps me to be less bitter (I know some of my posts prove otherwise), to not hate, and realize that THIS is my life.

Right now I am reading “The Buddha Walks into a Bar: A guide to life for a new generation” . It is INCREDIBLE! Last night I was reading how to be kinder to yourself, and that jealously will not help a situation. I would recommend it to anyone feeling the bitterness and anger of TTC. The book is for anyone, Christians, Catholics, Mormons, Hindu’s, Jewish, Atheists, or those still on the search.

The Buddha Walks Into a Bar...: A Guide to Life for a New Generation

It’s a long post. And if you read this far, let me know by commenting below lol, and Thank You.

Till then,
Mrs. M

3 thoughts on “Losing my Religion: Finding peace in all the right places

  1. All the guilt and judgement are just 2 of the MANY things I find so wrong and icky about religion. I’m glad you found your “church.” I, too, am most at home in places like that (mostly museums). I look forward to checking out that book.

    • Wow, you read the whole thing! Thanks so much =) The book is really great! It’s funny and insightful, without telling you if you don’t do something you’ll burn forever. I too, love museums! They are all free in Chicago this months, so I really want to get into town and get lost =)

  2. I too must check out that book. Great post! I’ve struggled so much with my own thoughts on religion. I prayed and I prayed and I prayed and got so angry with God for not answering my prayers. I need something to deal with the anger and bitterness I feel.

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