Wednesday, June 30, 2010

All Who Wander Are Not Lost

When I think about spirituality these days, I think of myself as a man who has left home and is wandering in the desert. However, as Tolkien once said, "All who wander are not lost". Even better is a quote from Daniel Boone who said, "I have never been lost. I will, however, admit to being confused once for about two weeks". I can very much relate to these quotes. I am wandering but I do not feel lost. I do not feel disconnected or confused. What I do feel is that the traditional spirituality in which I was raised, and which has surrounded me most of my life, isn't working for me at this time in my life. These days my spirituality is life itself and I have come to believe that life itself is the doorway to the sacred. My religion is kindness, compassion, and gratefulness. I was raised as a Roman Catholic so I suppose that is my spiritual home. Whether or not I return home remains to be seen. I am not a true Buddhist but these days I feel very much at home with Buddhist ways. I love my solitary backyard with its Buddha statue and wind chimes that sound like temple bells. Of course, I also still love the solitude and silence of the monastery with it's Christian monastic tradition and tolling abbey bells. I think what it all boils down to for me is a love of all things contemplative. I am no longer sure about the value of dogma and theology but I do very much value the idea and practice of mindfulness as a way to be enlightened. Being mindful, living in peace, showing kindness, and seeing all of life as a gift, is not a bad way to live one's life. It is certainly a positive way to live. So much religion fills one with guilt and low self worth. I've spent much of my life trying to overcome feelings of guilt. Going forward I will strive to walk in a more positive light. In the end the only thing that will matter is whether or not you lived a loving life.

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