I haven't been a practicing Catholic since I was 10 years old, but Good Friday still lingers, like a shadow chasing the sun.
I remember how the images struck me as barbaric, even as a child … a crown of thorns, blood dripping down a beatific face, carrying of the cross and the heavy burden of sin. It is SO dark and oozing with guilt. The wrongness of my ways. Original sin. Even as a beautiful baby I came in tainted.
This is not a holy day that speaks to me. I've never been a devout Catholic so I'm certain the nuances and deep significance escape me. But this heaviness doesn't speak to me. Not that I don't own my darkness. I choose not to dwell on it. I embrace it as a part of my wholeness but it does not define my existence on the planet.
Today's morning musing is about re-evaluating what you've been taught about the sacred and seeing that's it available in every moment.
It's Good Friday today, not that I celebrate. I'm not one of those high holy day Catholics. You know the ones that go to church three times a year: (1) singing at midnight mass on Christmas Eve, (2) getting smudged on Ash Wednesday, and (3) parading their new Spring outfits on Easter Sunday.
I was born and raised Catholic. Well raised Catholic is a bit of a misnomer. My Mom sent me to catechism and church every Sunday, to prepare me for communion and confirmation. She never attended and neither did my father. It was one of those things you had to have, like Girl Scout badges.
I went to Catholic School for a few years, so I got some interesting exposure to the authoritarian God. The one looking down upon my sinful ways and eager to remind me of my darkness. As a child I knew this message was off. I was ten years old when I decided it was a load of hooey.
Listen I have nothing against people who honor and enjoy their religion. It just hasn't been my path, though bless my precious heart I did try. When I was a teenager, and then later on as an adult, I tried several different religions (mostly Christian based). None of them jived.
In my heart I just don't feel that we're supposed to be sheeple, following ancient traditions blindly just because its been done that way for thousands of years. Direct communication, a co-mingling with the Divine, an alignment in thought, word and deed with the Source of ALL. That rings for me.
In my understanding, Christ is the awakened heart. He may have been a specific person in religious history but his legacy is all about living with love, forgiveness and healing of separation from your divine source. The dated and empty rituals – often created to bind people politically – don't sing to me. Let's make no mistake: Organized religions are entrenched systems whose very existence relies on the dogma they teach. It's all temporal and not of cosmic origin.
I did, however, see a lot of threads of what I suspected was true in all religions. Today I am more guided by the energy of the law, rather than the letter of the law.
Spiritual, But Not Religious
As I was writing this morning a quote from Karl Marx' Communist Manifesto popped up, “Religion is the opiate of the people.” Hopefully, this doesn't offend you. If religion is your thing, awesome. It's not mine. I prefer a direct experience of the divine.
Today I'm one of the growing throng of spiritual but not religious. I probably do more connecting with my higher source than most of the people I know. After all, it's a daily practice for me and part of the work I do in the world.
Here's the thing… the sacred is here in every moment. I don't have to wait for a holy day to commune with the cosmos. I can do it when I order my coffee in the morning, as I smile at people on the street, as I post a provocative quote to my Facebook wall. The sacred is everywhere, including you and me.
Why not claim that? You are sacred. I am sacred. We are ALL divine.