Reflecting on Spirituality


Nature is my spiritual placeOur spiritual beliefs are a key part of accomplishing goals.  For many, many years I considered myself an atheist.  I only went to church when I was forced to, mainly for a family friend’s event.  Instead, survival from the family dysfunction was my spirituality.

When you live in a household without the stability, love, and nurturing psychologists claim a child needs (read The Absentee Mother for more), you revert to survival which includes being the invisible kid, having no preferences for your birthday, and going with the flow.  Since I couldn’t be me as a kid, I lived in a fantasy world in my mind.

Then I found anthropology.  Through this discipline I learned that humans have created numerous belief systems over the thousands of years of our existence. Believing in one god or multiple gods separated cultures spiritually.

Religion has been used as a means to profit. During Manifest Destiny, Christianity and other European religions were used to classify the Native Americans as savages and that the “land” needed to be civilized.  It was all in the name of profit, expansion, and nationalism.

If you believe in god, that’s great!  You believe! If you believe in many gods, that’s great too!  Having a spiritual platform is key to happiness.  Even atheists have a spiritual platform; they may not even know it.

For me, I reflect back on my life and recognize my own makeshift spiritual ways.  While honesty, hard-work, and perseverance align with my need for survival as a child, I realized something deeper after I graduated from college.  My need for nature to be an important part of my life hit me like a Greyhound bus one morning.

Nature is our life blood.  Without trees, oxygen, sunlight, vegetables, and animals, we simply do not exist.  In fact, many ancient religions incorporated nature into their beliefs and practices.  Agriculture required an understanding of the earth’s cycles.

What has come of this reflection is something which leans toward Stoicism.  A philosophy from 3rd Century BC, it is a belief that logic is the way, not our emotional reactions.  The world is unpredictable, but we do not need to be unpredictable as well. In fact, we can find happiness in failure.   We only control what we can control.

As I said before, I always believe hard-work, truth, and perseverance are key to a good life. Due to my childhood, my emotions tend to get in the way at times.  Therefore failure was never a good option and when it did happen, I lost myself almost entirely.  Of course, you get through it by understanding, learning, and adjusting.  Sounds a bit stoic?

For me, nature is my church.  A good hiking path, a grand canyon view, a creek-side rock are all places I can let my soul go and listen to myself.

Stay tuned… more on this later.

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