Articles/Essays From Pagans
May 12th. 2013 ...
Pagan Studies I: How Should We Define Modern Paganism?
Nothing Special... Part Two
The Third Path
May 5th. 2013 ...
The Value of Multicultural Awareness
Put Your Back Into It (Our Lady of the Sacred Honey Badger)
Moon Musings, Planetary Preponderances and Red Lipped Bat Fish
April 28th. 2013 ...
Lessons from the Lessers: Iris
April 21st. 2013 ...
Taken By The Goddess: The Crescent Moon Tattoo
The Gods/Being Godbothered
To Be A Witch
The Archetypes are Gods: Re-godding the Archetypes
April 14th. 2013 ...
On The Inclusion of Children
'Wand Fun' With Grandson
Lessons from a Baby
Lessons of Freedom: On Divinity and Healing
April 7th. 2013 ...
Out of the Broom Closet... Sorta
A Journey Through the Witches Tarot
History and Science Behind Numerology
March 31st. 2013 ...
What is the Magickal Self?
Ethics and Numerology
March 24th. 2013 ...
Keystones of the Sacred Land
March 17th. 2013 ...
Why Some Pagans and Witches Still Hide
Witch Heritage 101: What Happens When Witch Haters Joke about anti-Witch Films
I'm Not a Broom. So What's with the Closet?
March 10th. 2013 ...
Top Ten Stupid Things I Did as a New Pagan: Part 3
Hunting for the Real Witch in Film
The Collective Shadow
Lies - The Opposite of Truth
March 3rd. 2013 ...
Grounding and Releasing Negative Energy
A Patchwork of Magick
February 24th. 2013 ...
Top Ten Stupid Mistakes I Made as a New Pagan (Part Two)
February 17th. 2013 ...
Top Ten Stupid Mistakes I made as a New Pagan... Part One
Gardening with Crystal Energies
A Call from the Ancestors
Moon Musings, Planetary Preponderances and Black Water Snakes
February 10th. 2013 ...
We Are the Weirdos, Mister: A Completely Uncool Story of Origin
February 3rd. 2013 ...
"I'll Grind Your Bones to Make my Bread": Pagans and Animal Husbandry
The Role of Contemporary Culture in Magic
A Pagan Response to Endangered Earth
The Great Mother's Gift, Heinlein, and the Nature of Squirrels
13 Keys: The Glory of Hod
January 27th. 2013 ...
Why We Do Need Wicca
The Cosmos In the Coffee Shop
On Travel Spirituality and Magick
January 20th. 2013 ...
Beloved Backs and How to Save Them
Building or Burning Bridges?
Plants, Magic and Intuition
Plagiarism - How It Harms Our Community
January 13th. 2013 ...
Ramblings of a Pagan Guy: Stupid Clichés
The Magick and Power of Words
Aging Is Not Easy
The Riddle of Who We Are?
January 6th. 2013 ...
Wicca v Witchcraft
A Witch in the Closet
How Many People Can You Fit Under An Umbrella?
Gut Hunches, Mouse Dreams, and Pinkie Sense
December 30th. 2012 ...
Ritual "Cheat Sheet" Bracelet
Magick is All Around Us
Confessions of a Living Satyr
A Tiny Bit of Belly Dance History
December 23rd. 2012 ...
The Warrior Goddess and You.
World Change: A Message from Greece
What's the Meaning of Life, Anyway?
My Brother's Keeper
December 16th. 2012 ...
Keeping Christ in Xmas
Love is the Law
Listen to Your Heart's Wisdom
Reading the Book of Nature
A Plea Against Religious Discrimination
December 9th. 2012 ...
The Elephant in the Room: Physical Fitness In Pagan Spirituality
Magic Is Not for Free (Sometimes)
Pay No Attention to the Man Behind the Curtain
NOTE: For a complete list of articles related to this chapter... Visit the Main Index FOR this section.
A System of Belief
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Article ID: 15032
Age Group: Adult
Days Up: 175
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Posted: November 25th. 2012
Times Viewed: 1,310
I believe in nothing. This is not an atheistic statement, nor is it a declaration of despair. It’s a bit more than a statement of fact however. It’s a life system. After I lost my faith, I knew in my heart that I’d never believe in anything again. And though my heart was also filled with despair at the time, that despair slowly drained away over the years and I was left with only the statement, the thought.
For a while a few years after it happened I thought I was free of it, but it had only turned into a bitterness that swam deep beneath the surface. Any talk of spirituality was met with skeptical scorn, if it was different from what I’d been taught, and if it was similar I only felt a nostalgic longing to return to what could not be. It is only now that I can truly say I have cut ties with my grief and bitterness, and am left with a life system that can be a vehicle for spiritual progress. And I know that sounds contradictory.
How can a life system that states I believe in nothing aid me spiritually? If anything, shouldn’t it hinder me? Isn’t one required to believe in things beyond one’s limited comprehension to advance on a spiritual path? And that is the crux of the matter. Does one have to believe in something not yet seen, to progress towards it? The answer is no, and this comes from a logical point of view.
If you’re traveling down a road that leads to a wondrous golden city, yet you are unaware of that fact, and perhaps do not even know the city exists, will you not still arrive at it eventually? Aha! But.... you say, if there are other roads to take, crossing the one you’re on and if you don’t believe the wonderful city is there, why on earth would you not take another road, one of which its destination is known? To that I have this to say:
This is a metaphor, of course, for enlightenment, for expanded consciousness, for spiritual awakening. Can anyone argue that epiphanies, milestones on the way to enlightenment, are counterproductive? That a slowly expanding consciousness is a bad thing? That a spiritual experience is not a moving and wonderful experience? And so the road itself is a wondrous thing to walk upon. There is reason enough to walk it without the promise of glory at the end.
But, you say, are the experiences not road signs telling you that the city does in fact exist? No, I say. Well, yes and no. Yes, because they tell you you’re on your way to something, you are progressing towards something important. No, because the people you’ve met along the way all have wildly differing tales about what the city actually is, what its function is, how exactly to get there, and how impressed you should be when you get there. Of course most of those people you meet have never been there in the first place. Perhaps it is a city, filled with wonders for the eye to behold, or just perhaps it is a small forest glade filled with the singing of birds. But the point is this: it doesn’t matter what’s at the end, as long as the path you’re on fulfills you. Therefore belief in what’s at the end is not necessary, and in fact that same belief may be detrimental or even fatal to your motivation for walking the path.
If your expectations are to see great palaces and towers sprawled in the distance once you get close, and all you see are trees, why then would you continue on? I’m speaking of course of the danger that false expectation generates, that springs from belief not based on personal experience. That is not to say I don’t see the purpose or good in belief. If someone has had nothing but bad experiences on their path and don’t have the will, or just the information they need to change paths, then belief may be all that keeps them walking. But at the same time that very thing may very well keep them from taking the right turn at a very crucial crossroads. So it becomes an obstacle, and they may walk forever down a road that indeed goes nowhere.
So it is that I have distilled everything in my life into what I know, from what I’ve been told and haven’t experienced for myself yet, or what I don’t yet know for certain. And this makes me more open-minded that those with beliefs that are more flexible than some religions. Even if your beliefs are a hodgepodge of every known religion in existence and you’re more open minded than more rigid dogmas allow, they’re still beliefs. And if you’re not willing to examine your beliefs and change them based on the most important evidence a person can get themselves, anecdotal evidence, then you are as rigid in your life system as any other. And if you are able to change your beliefs on a regular basis, are they beliefs at all? And if they are, why have beliefs in the first place? To feel connected to something bigger than yourself?
Join a group with similar experiences to yours and engage in theme-based projects with them, or explore those experiences with someone you can share them with. Or better yet, close your eyes and know that every cell in your body is made up of the same basic building blocks that make up everything else in existence and so in a way are connected. Changing your entire worldview every time you’re presented with indisputable evidence is time consuming, and in my experience not very pleasant.
Take life for what it is, what your senses and observations can tell you. Experiment and theorize about what lies ahead, certainly, but look for signs that what you imagine is correct and matches up with what you’re experiencing and what you observe others experiencing. Because I imagine everyone’s shining city is a bit different that everyone else’s, and the paths to it as varied and eclectic as there are people in this world.
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