Silence

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Last week, I went on a family vacation to see my fiancé’s in-laws. We were stuck in a roach motel that smelled like a dead rat, the four of us- my fiancé, our son, our dog, and myself.

I didn’t have a moment alone the entire time we were there save for having a shower, which in my opinion is not the same thing as being alone. Furthermore, I didn’t have the chance to meditate in any meaningful way, though I did chant several times using the japa mala my fiancé bought at one time because of his interest in Hinduism.

To say that my fiance’s lack of religion and spirituality bothers me isn’t accurate; I’m not so much concerned with his adopting certain beliefs as I am his having no spiritual progress and no sense of deeper levels of reality. I would at least feel better if he would return to Hinduism and make some effort at practicing, but perhaps that isn’t how his life is meant to unfold, and I’m okay with that. He can live his life however he wishes.

Upon returning, I began to meditate again, and I came upon a very interesting conclusion- I need silence. Many times, actually, all the time, meditation results in endless loops of thoughts and songs (or pieces of songs) going on and on and on. I’ve often had a frustration about why I should give up such beautiful music or anything that makes me feel so good.

But the truth is, after not having anything approximating peace for close to a week, I realized that I do need silence and stillness. My family consists of a loud fiancé and a loud child. Fiancé is loud by virtue of his playing music loudly and making loud noises when he does things, and child is loud by virtue of his just being a loud kid.

I need my meditation to lead to stillness of the mind, to lead to silence, to lead to quiet, so I can just sit and be still and know that God is God, or know that Ultimate Reality is Ultimate Reality, or whatever the hell you want to say- and I need to rest there, in that Silence, for as long as I can.

Finally, I see Silence as superior to noise and movement; I see Stillness as something I want above other things. 

I’ve heard the phrase “Silence is God’s first language.” Well, good; God and I can then do some talking.

Stevo

First Post of the Year

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Admittedly, I don’t have a lot of faith.

Faith is one of those strange, odd things with which my inner skeptic/agnostic/gnostic wrestles.

The reality, of course, is that faith so often translates simply into “believing blindly in something you cannot perceive immediately,” which can honestly lead to a lot of bad shit happening to people.

I spent many years as an atheist (or more like agnostic) who thought that even the best religious expressions were ultimately mere human constructs of relating to one’s own mind. Maybe deeper levels of the mind, something one might posit with some degree of psychological backing, but only one’s own mind none the less.

I do use the term “faith” sometimes. But the truth is, I don’t believe. I don’t really believe.

I wish I were the sort of person who could believe. I wish I were the sort of person who could find comfort in my religion, but I can’t.

Recently, we discovered that my auntie has cancer. I remember talking to Brother Pier-Giorgio about the matter and stating forthrightly that atheists who think that religious people are just poor simpletons who use their religion as a crutch were entirely full of shit.

In the few hours after learning of my auntie’s condition, I WISHED I could’ve used my religion as a source of comfort and a crutch. But no. None of it was there for me.

Given, when I meditated, I did feel God’s presence strongly in my heart, if you can use the term “God” in this situation.

I’ve stopped  attending Mass, and I feel terrible on the one hand about it, but on the other hand, what am I to do? Most Christians aren’t really mystics and don’t really “get it.”

And at the end of the day, I feel more comfortable going with my fiancé to the Unitarian Universalist Church anyway- I know beyond any shadow of any doubt that we, as a same-sex couple, are welcome there. No, there’s not any beautiful liturgy or tradition steeped in mystery, but the Holy Spirit is called during the service, and the service is educational.

Since returning to Christianity, I’ve had years of struggle of trying to find a decent sacramental church I can attend, preferably a Gnostic one. I went with the Episcopal Church because the people there *are* more accepting than in other churches but are still a little mainstream for my sentiments.

I’m NOT complaining about their particular beliefs or understandings of God. I’m simply saying that I’m still somewhat of an outcast in those situations.

So, I ask you all: what do I do? I’ve prayed, and God doesn’t seem to respond.  Maybe liturgy isn’t all that important for me.

And let’s get down to the REAL point here- what *I* want is transformation, Nirvana, and maybe the real issue is that I’m too busy trying to cloak it all in Christian terminology and garb and am deceiving myself on how it might otherwise be something that happens more directly.

Again, I can hear some of my friends protesting at this point, but isn’t it the truth? Isn’t is possible that we deceive ourselves in order to allow our ego to sustain itself?

Recently, I read some accounts of the Desert Fathers. Frankly, listening to their lives and what they said and did, I found myself not only thoroughly unimpressed but disgusted in some parts. Given, it’s not like I’ve read EVERY account, so there’s that aspect. But truly, sometimes the Fathers *I* read who were most assuredly part of the Catholic Church sound *exactly* like the depictions we so often get of the world-hating Gnostics. I mean, seriously, these people just hate life and anything good about life and treat it all simply as simply tricks of the Devil.

Frankly, I think that’s just stupid.

Maybe I’m in the wrong religion. Maybe I’m trying to have my cake and eat it, too, by wanting to enjoy and embrace life while also embracing God. Or maybe I’m looking at all these things wrong and creating issues where there are none.

Stevo