I’ve never felt more alive than when I was in graduate school studying religion and it’s sisters religious philosophy, theology, and history. I would sit up in the middle of the night, sometimes, with a thought I needed to jot down about something I’d read of Frederik Nietzshe’s. Or about one of the gnostic gospels – a realization or question.
Life marched on, I left religious studies behind because I had children I needed to support. I worked in an office and nursed, diapered, cooked.
Years later, now, my children are growing up, becoming more independent. We are looking at colleges for my oldest, and his little sister is not far behind. She starts high school in September. She still needs plenty of support and parenting but gone are the days of constant supervision. She has her friends, now. So I find myself increasingly free to fill my time outside of work.
I don’t believe in coincidences. This year I stumbled over two people who studied religion at Harvard in graduate school, as I did. Both of them have taken their passion forward – one as a career, another as a writer (part-time outside of her regular work, I think?). They are both amazing, powerful, compelling people with so much to teach the world, so much to share. And they aren’t afraid to do, that, either. To open their beliefs and selves up to a world of people seeking meaning and comfort.
None of the three of us are Christian. Dustin Diperna is a follower of Tibetan Meditation. A spiritual guru of Integral Spirituality, and of meditative practice. Meggan Watterson is a fierce voice for the divine feminine, telling the stories of women who’ve lived lives of devotion and left legends, texts, and preached love, healing, and a connection to the divine. Her books and monthly sermons are a ministry of love; she also teaches meditation, but of a different sort than Dustin’s.
So I’m starting to feel an old spark, which has been for many years more of a pilot light, reigniting into the bonfire it once was in my heart. Humanity can never leave God behind. You know why? Because God(dess) is what animates us; we become our most actualized, happy, even joyful selves when we live and experience love, which comes from our souls. Love is our soul’s nature. And that’s expressed in our stories and practices of the divine.
George Lucas called it The Force. Marvel calls it superpowers. Christianity has Christ, the miracle working embodiment of love, Islam has Muhammad, the prophet of the divine, and Buddhism has the Buddha, transcended of this world with his deep understanding of the nature of reality. Hinduism has a host of gods and goddesses that embody power, compassion, and wisdom, including Kali and the local goddesses that protect and support ordinary people throughout India. Spirit is everywhere. It’s the urge to help other people, to show compassion, to care for ourselves, to live a life that transcends the lowest rungs of Maslowe’s hierarchy.
Yeah. Be alive to what matters to your heart. Be alive to what brings you joy. Plug in to your passions, your body, to love for yourself and for this great big world full of crazy people. Because for this part of the journey – this is where it’s at. For all of us.