Date: December 26, 2016 09:49PM
I found true spirituality in Buddhist psychology (not the religion).
I went from Mormonism fundamentalism to Christian fundamentalism, back to Catholicism, then onto the various forms of Protestant mainstream churches. I studied with Jehovah Witnesses and basically found the same "chosen people" mentality in all of it. I also became an employee of a church to make sure I hadn't missed the baby for the bathwater.
Losing important relationships over religion hurt me deeply. Then one day I realized the problem wasn't the religions, it was me. I deliberately pried open my mind and began reading alt-religious literature: new age, fringe, superstitious, everything and ended up with a book on intuition. That book told me to trust my own impulses and instincts, just follow what attracts me and expect there is something there for me.
That lead me to a book I would have never picked for myself, "Silence" by Eckhart Tolle. Such a slim volume, it had a first sentence which grabbed my attention, cynic that I had become. It said, "you may not need to buy this book. You may need only hold it to be reminded of what you already know."
Of course I bought it and as the old saying goes, "One day my mind just opened up." I learned that I was all wrong about silence. It is a form of communication just like negative space is a form of art. It communicates something very effectively.
Were there other things I could learn that would help me? I ended up reading Joseph Campbell, then World Religions and BANG! There were all the bible stories. The flood in Gilgamesh, the savior and the virgin births in the Hindu scriptures. I realized the Bible was a western reforming of the old myths from human history. How could the very same story about the apostle Peter escaping from jail via help from angels who put guards to sleep....how could the very same thing have happened to Krishna's parents???
Words cannot tell you how shocked I was. Stunned.
Per Eckhart Tolle's advice, I went out onto the water where I had a clear view of the sky. I had an experience of unity with all living things, a soaring of my spirit into loving union with every plant, animal, fish and insect. I felt united with something I can only call love.
I had read about this spiritual awakening but in all my years of fasting and chest beating, sacrificing, praying, reading the scriptures...I had never had anything close to this.
It motivated me to look at my self-cherishing and to learn that there was a cure for my unhappiness. It was, to oversimplify, simply become a better person. All my problems were my own creation because all problems are perceptions of the mind.
That was almost ten years ago now. I made no announcements about my experience or the change from Christianity. It took three years for my grown children to notice that I had changed. But I had. By meditating on compassion, I realized that I was grasping, unappreciative and selfish.
Was this Mormonism's fault? Probably not, but it sure didn't help by feeding my narcissistic tendencies. I practiced the manipulative parenting that Mormonism teaches and literally ruined half my children.
Now, thanks in part to the great example of healed people on RFM, I am happier and consider my life to be much more spiritual than when I was religious.
I like what the Dalai Lama said - "My religion is kindness."
I have learned that the simple return to kindness leads to an inner revolution that brings joy to any life.