"The grade that you receive will be your last, we swear!" - Dr. Horrible's Sing-A-Long Blog
So... I realize it has been over 3 years since I've written about my spiritual progression. I thought it worth noting that in some ways, things have.. become better defined.
Ultimately I think I still identify with a more humanist perspective than a particularly informed or uninformed religious perspective. I can only count myself Agnostic in the sense that nobody really knows what the deal is down here, and it is entirely possible we may never know. And until I get shoved in front of the physical train of $Deity and let it run me over, I can't imagine this sort of perspective would change.
What I have done is become more aware of the things that give me some of the spiritual grounding and inspiration that some others find through religion.
One example is music. I have been joking for some time now, but I say that live concerts are my church. Music captures me, transports me, and shows me things through its strains that I didn't see before. It brings me comfort and hope. And through it, sharing it with someone whom feels similarly is one of the most fulfilling experiences I know. I have recently gotten more opportunity to do so lately, and never is my heart lighter. Never do I feel more at peace and at home in my skin. The connections built through music are strong and powerful, and inasmuch as it is shared, never are the bonds greater.
Nature too is another chapel. And while some might take a purist idea of what nature should be, I tend to allow myself the flexibility to say that nature means being outdoors interacting with the life that is outside of me. This could be at a park. In the woods. In a little grassy spot down the road. Even standing before my own container garden on my deck. It is an opportunity to be reminded of my place in the world and that even as I travel my own path, so does everything else. I'm taught that even as other paths cross mine, they all deserve their space. They all are important and valid. And as a part of my participation, I learn to be cautious of those paths and to be thoughtful with my interactions.
Things continue to evolve. I find that I continue to eschew my religious roots. Less about the religion as a whole, and more about the bad taste I was left with regarding those who claimed to represent what Catholicism was and meant.
I know that organized religion in any form can be rewarding. There is an element of tribalness to it where you bond over learning and feeling and trying to find your own path side by side with common goals and structure. At least that is the enlightened end I take from it. Using it instead as a way to isolate others and use one's own dogma to either belittle others or in some way make and live by assertions that one is better than or superior to others because of differing choices is something that makes me unhappy with it. It happens a lot. And realistically, it has happened a lot over the life of humanity. I think a lot of the major events in human history have been either motivated by or at least colored by religion. The need to step on our pedestal and claim ourselves more righteous is a very common and communicable disease.
I think regardless of the path we choose, the preference I have is that we follow it with some sense of conviction. It's very easy to float through life and let others make the decisions for us. But we each are individuals and responsible for our own choices. We are more fruitful and productive when we take advantage of that. If you choose to identify as Christian or Jewish or Muslim or Pagan or Thelemite or any other system or school of thought, live the life. Take time to learn for yourself what it means to live that life and do it. Make it a part of who you are. And if it means taking some time to realign and reassess, then do it. It may mean making scary choices. I may mean change. It may mean finding out that all you've been brought up to believe is not what you thought it was. It may mean you already have your "home" and you are strong when you step up to it. Do it. Find that moves you. Find what centers you. Find what brings you hope. Do it.
I think those that do find that the message we get from the universe is the same, no matter what language is used to bring it to you. A message that calls to us to treat ourselves well, to treat others well, and to do what we can to make life better and easier for ourselves and those around us.