I had an odd experience in one of the groups I’m involved in on Facebook. I lost my cool and finally had to speak my mind. I’m sure that is not becoming in a spiritual teacher, but I am only human…well, half human.
I’ve been discussing lately with family and friends the experience of being shamed growing up through organized religion. I was amazed at the common experiences among several different religions.
I grew up Jewish and married into a Christian family. In the Jewish religion, according to my Grandmother, there are enormous amount of rules in order to be a good person including how you cook and what utensils you use. I doubt very highly God cares if you follow any of them. We weren’t supposed to this or that and you had to have a Bat Mitzvah, go to Hebrew school, etc. etc. I didn’t do any of those. They just didn’t resonate.
Once I was married, I realized in the Christian religion there were even more rules to acceptance. And it didn’t matter what I did or believed anyway because I was already not going to be accepted because of the, well, Jewish thing. I already didn’t believe in many things my family of origin did, such as, when you die you just die and you live on in memories. After all, as a child, I had too many spirits visiting me at night. Who were they then? And the non-acceptance of Jesus as loving guidance or teacher was a tough one also when at 14 I had a profound vision of him standing in front of me when I needed love and support the most.
So, according to organized religion, I was in an in between state of non-acceptance. Not belonging to one or the other, according to the rules.
How does this all apply to the Facebook group?
I recognize the same rules and shaming underneath those rules among the “new age” group of thinkers. There’s a running belief you create your reality 100% so if you have horrible things happening in your life or negative people, it’s because you are thinking wrong and doing it badly. (I hate the SECRET). I liken this to what a little child believes that the whole world revolves around him and he can control it with his mind. Yes, we attract what we focus on and what we are learning. It is called Earth School after all. But the negative parent or friend being a jerk? Or the idiot who just cut you off in traffic? That’s reality because there’s lots of people in the world we encounter in our lives. We don’t live in a bubble. The awful illness? What if you inherited or was born with a bad heart? Are you a bad thinker then? What if you are still in the learning state where you aren’t aware of what you are attracting or need to learn? Then you need compassion as you learn the tough lessons, and, as we progress and grow, sometimes the curriculum does get harder maybe because we crave more wisdom and more healing.
I guess the bottom line is there is perfectionism behind any religion with rules, and perfectionism is about shaming ourselves for not being perfect or doing it right. That’s not possible or is it desirable. Besides, who decides what is right? A mean-spirited, judgmental God who punishes us with floods and famine when we are bad? Ooooh, that’s not my idea of God. When I visited Indian Gardens recently, I was in awe of the natural beauty. And you know what? It’s a forest that is beautiful in its wildness. There’s overgrown vines and fallen trees, things that shouldn’t be floating in the water, and paths that aren’t clear. That’s us. We are still beautiful even when we don’t follow the rules or are “different,” or even, SHUDDER, make a mistake. And we are still loved even with our wildness.