Thursday, December 14, 2017

With Ropes

I have approached approaches in one of two ways. Growing up, I was deeply involved in the Church.  I believed deeply that there was only one way, and it was the way I was learning. I didn't understand it fully, but I had guides (who also didn't understand it fully) and was very committed to going deeper with them. The truth was clear. It was me who needed to do the work. To iron out the inconsistencies. I could attack holes because it was my understanding that was at fault. The holes were holy.

This led to the first - a combative approach. I wanted to give myself fully. There was a period where people were 'Drunk in the spirit'. They had fully given themselves over and this had had physical manifestations. 

'Do not get drunk with wine, which will only ruin you; instead, be filled with the spirit'
Ephesians 5 : 18

The holy spirit had entered some of my fellow church-goers. Some would shake, some would tick, some would just glow with joy. Often it would be part of a service where we had been singing or listening to a sermon. We would then be asked to come to the front to give ourselves over to God if we had been moved by the spirit. To be born again. I desperately wanted this to happen to me.

I did go up on occasion. I always had a niggle I was faking, but the desire was genuine, the intent was good, and the love was there. I could shhh the niggle. I felt the '11th Commandment' (to love one another, as I have loved you) resonated deeply and I wanted to connect to that. But still. The holes. So behind the church tent, I would launch into my doubts with whichever poor guide had to be subjected to a very heady approach to a very hearty experience.

What about my friends who are really good people, but don't believe?
What about these truly awful things that have happened to people who don't deserve it?

My eventual moving away from the Church came from my head, and (more painfully) my heart. I dived into books and conversations trying to iron out those inconsistencies, and find that one truth. I couldn't. From the heart, life dealt me and those I loved too many blows to not get viscerally angry with the version of God I had grown up desperately trying to connect with. I couldn't connect to the 11th commandment with all the other pain that had built up. Like a relationship where you love someone, but have to create boundaries and walk away. I have never fallen out of love with anyone. I have had to walk away.

This led to the second - an exploratory approach. I stopped trying to iron out the holes in any philosophy I came across - IF the consequences were positive. If the story was constructive in helping me deal resiliently with life.

I was able to get involved in a fairly conservative form of Yoga - with Swami's wearing orange and Sanskrit chanting, by seeing the holy rather than the holey.

I think I will always be too attached to consistency to ever let go completely (without deeply trusting someone to come with me, and bring me back). I think of this as the difference between those who love rock climbing, and those who love rock climbing without ropes. I will never do extreme rock climbing without ropes. I value life too much to take that risk. I value the people I love too much. I will also not remain on the ground, if I am confident that I will be caught if I fall. 

Ropes snap, so there can never be certainty. Life is confusing, ambiguous, and uncertain. I can be very conscious about the risks I take. The consequences. The advantages. The costs. Then act. 'First with the head, then with the heart'.

First with the head
then with the heart

I love exploring. It comes from a position of constructive curiosity rather than destruction. To find the truth in something, not the truth of something.

But I will do it with ropes.



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