floatingleaf: (light)
[personal profile] floatingleaf
Just a random quote tonight, snagged from Tumblr:

The light at the end of the tunnel is not an illusion. The tunnel is.

This pretty much sums up my current worldview. It's a bit of a sensitive topic, really, since I have such a complicated relationship with religion, in general... basically, I grew up in a world where you could not consider yourself "spiritual" unless you were Catholic, and since I obviously wasn't Catholic, I believed my only option was to be an atheist. And so I thought I was... for many years. Then I cautiously amended that to "agnostic". On some level, I felt that wasn't quite correct... but I just couldn't bring myself to identify with an ideology that seemed to come as a package with right-wing politics and homophobia. Besides, "religious" people were the ones who had always rejected me for being different. They were the schoolkids who whispered theatrically to each other behind my back: "She doesn't believe in Jesus Christ... she's going to hell". They were the local priest who once reprimanded me sternly for saying "good morning" instead of "praise the Lord". They were the classmates who dropped anonymous notes into my backpack, urging me to start attending the optional "religion" class, so that God might "forgive" me for, well, not attending it. So, in my childish mind, "God" and "Jesus" became the stern figures who most definitely disapproved of me, and who I wanted no part of. I still have a problem with Jesus, btw; I tend to suspect anyone who talks about him of being judgmental and homophobic, unless proven otherwise. It's an ingrained allergic reaction, if you will. I even have a hard time using the word "God", for the very same reason. My primary association with that word is a bearded patriarchal figure spewing angry tirades about fire and brimstone. I still feel squeamish when that word is used in the context of universal, non-denominational spirituality. I guess, by way of projection, I am apprehensive that if I use that word, others might suspect ME of being judgmental or homophobic. And yet, for so many years, I wasn't aware that non-denominational spirituality was even a thing; and so popular euphemisms like "The Universe" or "The Divine" feel a bit outlandish and contrived for me, too. I don't know what the solution is. I just know that I crave that light at the end of the tunnel, and feel it is very much there, and I am only beginning to really allow myself to see it. Because I grew up associating "spirituality" with "fanaticism", and I still have trouble untangling that. I even recall reading some book about people's near death experiences (where the concept of the light in the tunnel really came from, I suppose) and feeling afraid - because if those stories were true, then it probably meant I really WAS going to hell. Needless to say, I don't believe that now. I believe hell is what we create inside our own minds. But still... that old association is so strong. It's like a part of me still thinks that if I allow myself to be as deeply spiritual as I feel I need to be, I'm going to somehow turn into a hate-spewing maniac.;P Or that if I try to join the ranks of deeply spiritual people, I am going to be told I don't belong there. Or that now I have to see "God", or "the Divine", in a very specific way. And I don't think any particular specific way appeals to me more than any other (I just know it's not a white-bearded guy in a robe...:P). So I am a bit of a closet spiritualist, if you will.;) Hiding behind the "agnostic" label on occasion, since it seems like the safest, most "diplomatic" approach.:D But what I really want is to disperse the tunnel and dissolve into the light. And for my cautious, "rational self" to take a hike, since it has mostly led me into trouble so far, and I don't trust it anymore. So there.

Feel free to tell me this is a typical sign of reaching a certain age. At certain pivotal points in their lives, people usually either lose their faith - if they had it in the first place - or gain it. I just wish someone had told me, early on, that Catholicism wasn't the only option (well, theoretically I knew, of course, that other religions existed; but nobody seemed to take them seriously, and I guess I just assumed that they were all equally judgmental in their own ways, so I wanted no part of them, either). That being spiritual had nothing to do with whether you went to church, or whether you masturbated.:P Oh well... better late than never. At least it's more mainstream now to just seek your own path. So I can feel less of a weirdo. Not that I necessarily have a problem with being a weirdo. But that's a whole another, and maybe we shouldn't talk about it.;P
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