Sunday, March 27, 2011

Summing Up Religious Experience

I am finishing the book "Varieties of Religious Experience" by William James. If you have not heard of it, maybe that's cause it was written more than a century ago. I have enjoyed it as it is a great analysis of individual spiritual experience vs institutional religion from a scientific methodology. The book is woven through with ideas from "A Course in Miracles," which was not written until 70 years later. The book clearly shows the foundation of Bill Wilson's spiritual theories (Alcoholics Anonymous). The book quotes almost no scripture and does not at all approach the subject of Jesus and his divinity.

Religion or spirituality is about me and who God is to me. Even the societal pressures to conform to the predominate religion has an affect on me personal relationship to God. The conclusion for me: I have sought God for decades. I believe some higher power has been active in my life. I have no proof of the existence of said God. My life is more meaningful if framed in the divine relationship and divine presence.

For some religious people, church is following a commandment of the deity. "Do this in remembrance of me." If they don't do it, they are guilty.

For some born-again Christians, God is an emotional satisfaction built on an effective emotional experience.

For atheists, no-God is true because there is no evidence of God; and most if not all God-experiences can be traced to physical properties.

I can't say my spiritual study is emotionally satisfying. I can't say I follow commandments from God because of fear of guilt and damnation. I'm one of the ones broken free of the Bible's false grip of authenticity. I can't say I have any proof of God's or Spirit's existence.

All I have is a mental tenacity that wants to connect to Spirit and receive help from Spirit. In this condition, any sense of presence fails me. However, I truly find comfort in reciting my spiritual creed. My God is a solid rock upon which I stand. I've never gone down too far nor up too far.

My life is not my own. That is one of the most soothing statements ever.

I create my running out of freedom, not ill health or some doctor's advice. So my purpose in it is divorced from the reason why most people take up exercise. For me however, the pursuit of infinite endurance has been a lifelong interest. My running is a constant in my life, a steady state. The energy of endurance and the energy of prayer are one and the same, intertwined as if making love.

I return to what I said above: my spirituality is about me. If I get the promotion at work, its because I let some higher power work out the details and give me intuitive thoughts if I need to know something. I am yet a tangle of negative attitudes and thoughts. This tangle is my unhappiness with life. Supposed spiritual practice has loosened the grip of negativity and allowed for success in peaceful living. I still wander aimless on the earth. I have no final goal unless you call some spiritual mountain top my goal. What I need is spiritual help and I do believe I get it. I admit my belief is a delusion; perhaps even a dishonest and corrupt soul sickness. Part of the reason I seek solitude is to sort through this soul sickness.

And so starts my Sunday workout: 4 to 5 hours of endurance.

No comments: