I’m again considering my spirituality, or lack thereof, in examining Buddhism more deeply. I guess it gives me focus. I know I should be able to focus on my own, but it’s nice to be surrounded by others of a like mind when I go and sit meditation. There is a calmness and quiet to the Buddhist center that I find comforting, I guess would be the word. I am finally beginning to understand what it is church going religious people feel–I think. Yet, there is also a growing sense of being a Humanist, which doesn’t have any church or temple. Maybe I crave the sense of community.
But I continue to fight against Buddhism because of the ‘organized’ angle. At the same time, I’m drawn to it. Can I still be true to my core beliefs that there is no god; though Buddha was/is not a god, there is a tendency to revere him in a god-like way that I find particularly distasteful. I don’t want to become a ‘born again’ Buddhist either; spreading the word, trying to convert others. But I understand the urge to do so. I think I understand the joy church-going people get from going to church and being with like-minded people. I get the sense of community.
Yet, Atheism has defined who I am for nearly 40 years, though for the past two I tend to have gravitated to being more of a Humanist. Belief in Buddhism has a very Humanist take on their way of life. More so (I have found) than other religions. If I fully embrace Buddhism, I feel I am ‘giving up’ and reverting to religion just because I’m now over 50. I’ve tried to live the Buddhist lifestyle for ten years or so, and I struggle against the pull to embrace it more fully. Humanism isn’t a religion so much as a basic belief in the good of all people and treating all people good. Much like Buddhism, without the multiple lives aspect; which I totally reject. So how could I really consider myself a Buddhist?
I want to discuss this with someone, but don’t have a someone in my life outside of my therapist, and she’s not Buddhist (or religious) and I don’t think she knows any more than I do about Humanism, except it is Non-theist. She will support me which ever way I decide to go. I guess I need a spiritual adviser, and that’s part of why I subscribe to so many Buddhist-type blogs. Need to look for some Humanist blogs to balance myself out maybe.
I know the discomfort of a given situation is only uncomfortable because we are fighting against what we know to be right on either side of the fence. Once a decision is made, the relief is huge. I just feel like I am admitting I was wrong believing as I did since age 14, about the reason for religion and people’s continued need for it. I have strong feelings of dislike about the sizeable, expensive churches and elaborate temples. I find it sort of contradictory of the idea of giving to others. I like my little Buddhist center in the corner of a large strip mall. Plain and simple.
I still contend that the Romans used religion as a way to control the people, and that Catholicism used religion in horrible, evil ways over the eons. I contend that the Inquisition was a horrific, black stain on religion and Catholicism specifically, meant only to increase the control of the common people and squeeze money out of them. I’ve never heard an argument that the Catholics were correct or justified in their pursuit of ‘heretics’ – though I imagine there are some.
I hate being so confused and uncertain at this point in my life, but I suppose it’s normal to examine and readjust our moral position. I suppose that’s not a bad thing. I guess I don’t want to feel I was wrong before, when it’s perfectly ok to admit that and move on. I don’t feel I am entirely wrong in my feelings toward organized religion, though I think I might have generalized various beliefs too much.
All part of the journey, I suppose.