What form of Spirituality, if any, do you practice?

Discussion in 'Reincarnation, Religion and Spirituality' started by SeaAndSky, Oct 15, 2020.

  1. SeaAndSky

    SeaAndSky Senior Registered

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    I'm really curious on this one, and realized that we had a thread where people could say what country they were from, etc., but no thread where they could "out" themselves in terms of their own spiritual practices and beliefs. So, I thought I would start this one.

    I'll start out with my own "spiritual biography" about where I've been and where I am so you'll know where I am coming from on this. I'm actually cheating on this, as I just stole this summary off of another thread and revised it for posting here:

    I came of age at an earlier time (1960s) in a small Southern city in a small Anglican church. My access to resources and knowledge of the esoteric was very limited indeed, though I believe I always had a drawing to such things. Hence, it wasn’t until I was able to begin visiting our downtown library at 12 (c. 1965), that I discovered Theosophy. It immediately resonated with me. It supplied an idea of meditation, psychic development/evolution, and the psychic structure of the universe and the planes of existence that I had felt as a void (without knowing what was missing) in my Christian background. However, it wasn’t long before I found Theosophy lacking in . . . . something, as well as seeming a bit off base. I found more of what I was looking for in Yoga, and worked on Hatha Yoga using books that began to become available in the late 60s, while longing for some path to serious meditational/contemplative practices. I became familiar with Kriya Yoga through reading “Autobiography of a Yogi” (which I really liked) several times, but there was no internet and no access in my area to this form of Yoga, though TM became popular and accessible in the early 70s. So, I began on that path and continued with my interest in all things “Eastern” including the martial arts and Zen.

    Still, I found something lacking, and also felt in some secret recess like I had abandoned by first true love and a great hope. I returned to Christ and have explored Christian Mysticism and spirituality for more than 30 years at this point, but here “the center could not hold”—not because Christ was insufficient, but because I ultimately decided that the theological structure built on the basis of his teachings was deficient and/or “off center” in a variety of ways. So, I’m back in the exploration business, but definitely not abandoning my Lord in the process. I am a Christian in the sense that I am his follower and He is my Lord, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that I am always in agreement with current Christian doctrine and theology, which I consider to be man-made constructs and hence subject to error.

    So, I'm back in church and exploring all kinds of things in my spare time, but unfortunately don't have time to get into anything in any depth (at least until I can ever retire). In the meantime, my interests tend to be on Western occult topics and groups rather than Eastern studies. But no time, plus I'm in serious stealth mode in terms of my family environment (which is very religiously conservative)!

    Now your turn! Are you a Vedantist who dabbles in astrology? A Wiccan who likes to read romantic poetry and plays the bongos? Maybe a Buddhist who still goes to Catholic Mass? A Christian like me who is trying to figure out how to fit it all together? There are all kinds of folks on this board, but you won't find out unless you talk to them, so here is a place to say what makes you "go" in the spiritual sense and learn from others about how they do the same thing.

    Cordially,
    S&S
     
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  2. tanker

    tanker Senior Registered

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    S&S, that's quite strange to read, as your early explorations followed the same path as mine. We probably read a few of the same books that were around at that time, although I have little memory of all that now. But I only ever read them in parallel with my Christianity, so there was never a conflict as such. I'm still happy with keeping an open mind on more esoteric things. As I've said before, I'm comfortable with mystery, and don't feel the urge to solve it.
     
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  3. GalaxyDreamer90

    GalaxyDreamer90 Senior Member

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    I was brought up catholic and still to this day seem to hold on to some of the catholic beliefs though I tend to mix it with my beliefs in wicca and interest in psychic powers. Though I was brought up catholic I was never church going though I have nothing against christianity or any religion for that matter. Actually I can't stand religious discrimination. As a young kid the Christian belief that when it's your time to die God takes your soul use to scare me. That and the belief that you can't see your love ones again in the afterlife until you die yourself also scared me since I lost my grandma at a young age. Because of this when I learned about reincarnation when learning about other beliefs in middle school gave me a sense of comfort that I may see my grandma again though as another person. Also it's nice to think that after I die I may get to live again as another person in another time and place. A little later while in high school I discovered wicca while reading a library book about witches. I found it interesting that they believe in psychic powers and stuff like that since I have always had an interest in that kind of stuff but the Christian beliefs find psychic powers evil. Personally I see psychic powers as neither good or bad in themself but depends on how the person uses them and I always wanted to use what psychic abilities I have for good. Well that's my experience with religion.
     
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  4. Totoro

    Totoro Super Moderator Staff Member Super Moderator

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    I was brought up catholic and went through various Christian churches over my life time. There are things I like about it and other religions and I may have just stuck with it from time to time out of comfort.

    These days, I'm firmly agnostic and I casually call myself a Sikh. I guess I may have found my way back to it, two lifetimes later, but at its core, it's an agnostic religion and I've always practiced it's central tenants anyway as part of my own personal belief system.
     
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  5. cloud potato

    cloud potato Senior Registered

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    I had gifts at a young age that I turned off out of fear. Over time they slowly came back. I'm not sure how early in my life I prayed, but I would pray at a very young age. It wasn't until later that I started listening to my prayers and had a desire to change it from a monotonous checklist to active participation. In 2008 I had three dreams that really woke me back up. Almost 12 years later I received some answers to those dreams, one answer being defined as an initiation from what other cultures call the peacock angel. I don't ascribe my spirituality to any one religion. I have learned and believe that every soul has its own religion. My journey is described as discovery and gratitude on a deeper level and again an active participation. Discovery and desire for awareness and understanding. It was from a dream that I learned, "I Am Sufi." I am not Sufi in a traditional sense, I do not feel a belonging or a sense of owing to their tradition. I am a mystic who was lead to the teachings of Hazrat Inayat Khan- his mission was in bringing active mysticism to the West. Sufism as he describes it is not a religion but if it is- he ask that we describe it as a religion of the heart. Because I am discovering answers through unseen communication I believe in a Living Spirit.
    Todays wisdom by Hazrat Inayat Khan eloquently explains the journey and practice that I believe in....
    https://wahiduddin.net/saki/saki_date.php

    It would seem the Living Spirit moves through every religion or creed, and every soul has a unique relationship with this intelligence. Even if they themselves don't care to understand it, to me it is inseparable.
     
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  6. SeaAndSky

    SeaAndSky Senior Registered

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    Hi Tanker,

    It is always good to talk to another old-timer about these things. The world is so different now than it was 50 years ago. I think there are a lot of people now who cannot really remember, or even imagine a world without computers or internet. Almost anyone in history can say that the world has changed after 50 years, but I think that since around 1850 it is not just the previously normative changes, but mega-change that we face in such spans.

    Anyhow, we probably are a lot alike except that I am continually striving to find a way to put everything together into a comprehensive philosophy, theology, etc. It keeps me ever restless and searching, probably when I should be more like you and just "let it be" as the old Beatle's song goes.

    Cordially,
    S&S

    PS--That is a wonderful lyric--"Mother Mary comes to me and whispers words of wisdom, let it be, let it be . . ."
     
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  7. SeaAndSky

    SeaAndSky Senior Registered

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    Hi Galaxy,

    My "extra-curricular" spiritual interests outside of Christianity are also generally in the Western esoteric tradition, which includes magic and mysticism. So, I am more of a traditionalist when it comes to magic (or Magick if preferred). Consequently, Wicca seems a bit new-fangled to me. Likewise, I am concerned that the level of initiatory teaching, training and testing associated with the more ancient forms is lacking in some of the new groups being founded, which can lead to people getting over their heads and also getting entangled with beings and entities adverse to their best interests. (This is not an accusation against Wicca, but it is worth noting that the rate of exorcisms being requested/performed has been skyrocketing over the last 20-30 years, so their can be some dangers to be aware of). Nonetheless, Wicca seems to interest and satisfy a lot of folks at this point in time, but please be careful.

    Cordially,
    S&S

    PS--If I had the chance to be involved with anything of this type at my age, I would probably opt for the groups founded by and associated with Dion Fortune, who was an extremely prominent figure in the field of magic in the first half of the last century, and continues to have an enduring influence. Quite a bit of info is available online. Even there I would move with extreme caution. Magic and psychic phenomena generally can be a lot like flying a plane--cool, mind expanding, sometimes exhilarating, but potentially dangerous, especially if you aren't highly trained and/or cautious.
     
  8. SeaAndSky

    SeaAndSky Senior Registered

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    Hi Totoro,

    I have an overall positive impression of Sikhism, but I'm kind of surprised that you are not also attracted to some of the Chinese currents of spirituality as well given your background, especially Taoism. I always liked Taoism, at least to the extent I have been exposed to it--which was mostly during my Zen and martial arts period. My exposure has not been great compared to some, but it was enough for me to be really impressed with the depth there.

    Cordially,
    S&S
     
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  9. Totoro

    Totoro Super Moderator Staff Member Super Moderator

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    Hey S&S.. I am actually pretty Taoist actually.. I don't know why I didn't mention it. Sikhism to me guides my daily life, what I am in control of and also acknowledges the finite limit to my understanding of the universe. The main thing to me though, is that it emphasizes reincarnation and that we are a part of a spiritual existence and we were not created or exist to simply validate another entities ego; we are the product of creation, creation exists for us to experience it, ultimately.

    The tao on the other hand, gives me insight into what I don't have control over or understand. This is quite analogous to the Christian idea that while I may control the boat, the rudder or till, it is God or the universe who provides the wind in its sails. I often consult the i ching almost daily as I feel it's a good outlet for my talent for bibliomancy.
     
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  10. SeaAndSky

    SeaAndSky Senior Registered

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    Hi Totoro,

    I thought you must be, especially given the Chinese background and martial arts interests! That is one of the reasons I was somewhat surprised you didn't specifically mention Taoism.

    Also, I'm curious about what you mean by biliomancy in this context and how it relates to the I Ching.

    Cordially,
    S&S
     
  11. SeaAndSky

    SeaAndSky Senior Registered

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    Hi Cloud,

    I sense a lot of depth in terms of the things you've said, but I have no experience with Sufism, which makes me feel even more out of my depth in responding (and also leads to a very short response). However, you have encouraged me to explore the links you have provided and learn more. Thanks!

    Cordially,
    S&S
     
  12. There and back again

    There and back again Senior Member

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    Personally for me it is just about finding real truth that isn't wrapped up behind some system or another as ultimately such systems always end up distorting the truth even it had not been intentional at first it always degrades as time goes on with the modern church one of the most obvious examples. All in all I want to move on elsewhere in creation and experience spirituality as it exists elsewhere where there is greater depth and purity.

    On the side one can look into regressions and channelings where information is brought up as some of it can be very telling of what is really on the other side vs what people are left to try and figure out in this world.
     
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  13. Klaud

    Klaud Senior Member

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    I grew up Methodist and I currently work for one of said churches. Real talk though, I can't call myself religious at this point. I genuinely do appreciate the sense of family and community religion can bring, which is part of why I chose to work in the church I grew up in. Those people essentially raised me in a pretty literal sense.

    I have no problem with God, but I don't always agree with how religion portrays God. That's a rant for another time though and it may not be appropriate to post it here.

    My whole life I've had questions that no religion could ever answer. I've always had one foot in the spirit world and it never scared me or anything, but it always left the door open for me to keep asking questions. Over time, what I thought I knew stopped making sense once I got glimpses of a much bigger picture. I figured if I wanted real answers, I'd have to find them on my own.

    My current belief system is a mix of things. A little bit of astrology, Buddhism, a little bit of Wicca (not so much magick, but the power of nature), etc. I used a number of Buddhist techniques to open that spiritual door a little bit more before I closed it again.

    I'm a half baked psychic trying to figure life out, I guess.
     
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2020
  14. There and back again

    There and back again Senior Member

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    One way to look it all as being stepping stones each contributing something to a larger picture however the problems begin where we get locked in and it all goes down hill from there. With some regret looking back when it comes to the modern church realizing I've like so many in the world have been hoodwinked hook line and sinker with a lessor version of the truth though the fault was never with God nor the first church it is what we get today is what is faulty. Simply put the wrong sort got their way by removing what didn't suit them be it for political reasons or personal while a lot of other things were simply lost to time. I do wish for there to be something more than what is on the table these days so to speak but deep down such needs are likely to not be meet as such just doesn't exist anymore at least not here anyway.
     
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  15. Speedwell

    Speedwell Moderator Staff Member Super Moderator

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    In practice, some meditation, some prayer, some attention to dreams, and to synchronicity. Influences include buddhism, zen, tao, jung, miscellaneous psychiatrists, out-of-body explorers, near-death experiencers, past lives.

    What I learned from practising OBEs was a grounding in meditation which is able to bring me peace and calm, very much self-taught. Momentum from past lives carried me forwards, bypassing things I'd already done. Despite so many influences, self-taught describes where I'm at. My aim is to travel light, not to pick things up but to put them down.
     
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  16. Polaris8

    Polaris8 Senior Registered

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    S&S,

    As a child of the 60's I was raised Baptist. I remember going to Sunday school and questioning everything the church was teaching. Even at 9 yrs old I just could not believe that a all knowing god would punish a soul it had created for all eternity for not believing. Plus the fact that unless your of a Christian fate all others souls that believed in other spiritual paths across the globe would be condemned to hell as well. If god was all knowing why create a soul it knew it will chose a different path. It just didn't make sense to me. So at 13 yrs old I left the church. For some time after that I became agnostic. I didn't believe in anything yet something inside of me kept telling me there was something more to existence then just this. The universe at large was just too complex with such order that something behind it must be at work.

    Then in my early adult hood around the age of 22 I had a massive heart attack and almost died. During that episode I had a NDE that would forever change my life. I won't go into detail here but I found my soul (consciousness if you will ) above the earth looking at the sunrise on the other side of the planet. After that experience I knew now without a doubt that life exist beyond death and that there is meaning and purpose to it all. Shortly after the NDE I started having on again off again OBE's. So during this time I explored other spiritual paths. Mostly of a eastern bent to them. For a short while I became Buddhist even though I know its more of a philosophy then a religions.

    Then in the late 70's a friend of mine introduce me to a spiritual path called Eckankar and wanted me to go to their worldwide seminar they where having in LA. I said why not. So I attended the seminar. Before the seminar began everyone was instructed to start off with a HU chant. The sound of HU is a primal sound, like AUM (or om). It’s considered to be a universal sound of god that existed in all things in nature and in all human languages. It deeply and profoundly connects soul back to the divine energy that was and is in everything that’s has ever be created across all time and dimensions. So as everyone started chanting HU I realized this was the sound I heard while having my NDE and experiencing the inner light those many years ago. I started crying and realize that perhaps I had finally found a spiritual path that fit me. So I learned more about the path for two years before becoming an Eckist. And I have follow the path of Eck ever since. I realize it not a path for everyone. However every soul must choose their own path that best suites their state of spiritual consciousness. In the end their is no right or wrong way to know god because god speaks to every soul from the universal language of the human heart.

    Thanks for the post S&S. And for sharing your personal journey as soul a long your journey back home.

    Love and peace.

    P.
     
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2020
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  17. SeaAndSky

    SeaAndSky Senior Registered

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    Hi TABA,

    I can empathize with you in terms of what you are saying, but it can be a very lonely path. There is something innately personal in the spiritual quest, and it does seem that we have to walk on our own two feet, no matter what the path. Still, it is good to have some companions on the road IMO. Even something like this board is a bit of a help!

    Cordially,
    S&S

    PS--I'm with you in terms of regressions and NDE accounts. However, I have an instinctual reaction vs. channeled information. Just me I guess.
     
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  18. SeaAndSky

    SeaAndSky Senior Registered

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    Hi Speedwell,

    Your response/path is somewhat like TABAs IMO--eclectic, individualistic and open. I think a lot of us have to follow something like that, for a variety of reasons. However, I found your comment about putting things down rather than picking them up very interesting. I'd appreciate more on that if you have time, especially how you make the decisions on what to keep and what to leave behind.

    Cordially,
    S&S
     
  19. SeaAndSky

    SeaAndSky Senior Registered

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    Hi Polaris,

    Interesting church history. I was around 13 years old as well when I "left the church" at some level. "Leaving" definitely wasn't ceasing to attend, that would have caused too much of an uproar in the family. Plus, I doubt it would even have been allowed. And, I'm not sure that I was all that alienated at first. I kept going when the family went, but it became a more of a formality. It simply had not retained its relevance to my explorations, which were already ongoing. In addition, my parents were also dropping off during that period, so it just became increasingly irrelevant to the family life. However, I retained a deep reverence for Jesus at some level, while having increasing questions about the shape of what I perceived as his message, which at that relatively naive age, I considered was being accurately conveyed to me.

    By 22 I was heavily into Transcendental Meditation, yoga, and martial arts--and reading everything I could get my hands on in terms of alternate (which in those days was Eastern) spirituality. But also increasingly conflicted about what I had left behind. I had also had some short OBE type experiences, but definitely nothing to compare with your NDE. (How did you manage to have a heart attack at such a young age? Was there a congenital problem of some type?) I had also read some Paul Twitchell materials, but once again, there was nothing anywhere near me related to that particular pathway. So, we tracked fairly closely up to the point of your heart attack and subsequent immersion in Eckankar. At those points, you and I diverge pretty radically. In some respects I am a bit envious of you having a solid and steady path that you have believed in and followed all of these years. TABA and Speedwell seem to be fairly content with a high level of eclectic individuality in terms of a spiritual path. However, I find it a bit lonely being thrown back into it at this late age, though I am definitely a good deal less eclectic at this point than I once was. Also, I've come to appreciate the merits of a spiritual community and the sharing and helping spirit that it engenders. I have it to some degree in my church life, but it is only "in part" rather than "in full" since there are many aspects of my spirituality and beliefs that I cannot share in that context. Nonetheless, I hope some day to again have it "in full."

    Cordially,
    S&S
     
  20. There and back again

    There and back again Senior Member

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    The lonely path does hurt time to time let alone the frustration but that is the hand I've been dealt which is a big part as to why I wish to move onto other experiences beyond just this world though in the end some strength can be derived from it where one is used to it while just about everyone else deeply fears it. Anyway the further one goes down such paths the fewer and fewer people there are in general until one is truly in the wilderness.
     

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