Caught Between Cultures and Living a Life of Spirituality
Pray Without CeasingWell it's Sunday morning and for many good Christians its important to get up and go to Sunday church. This weekly reminder of how to be a good Christian is important for all the pileup of a week's worth of sins and potential damnation. The pastor's words mysteriously seem to hit home and a deep spirit of love and fellowship is felt on a soul level. This weekly ritual is important to remind folks what truly is important in life. Afterwards, perhaps after a brunch with family its nice to come home and kick back and read or watch football.
Then the week begins and day-to-day problems rear their ugly heads oftentimes first thing Monday morning. Grumpy with the "Monday Morning Blues" its a difficult thing to keep up the good feelings when Monday's start out so difficult. When "Wednesday Hump Day" finally arrives people are so thankful that half the work week is finally over. Whew! And the stresses of the week just seem to continue to pile up because there are two more whole days left. And then TGIF arrives and Friday night never looked so good. Perhaps the bulk of the week's worth of sins are played out on that very night for some.
Coincidentally, Friday night is also the start of the Jewish Shabbat which is Judaism's day of rest and sacredness, the seventh day of the week (our month/week calendars end on Saturday, not Sunday and Sunday is the primary beginning of the work week) on which religious Jews remember the Biblical creation of the heavens and the earth in six days and on the seventh day they rest, Saturday (the Christian's "Sunday").
Things are quite different then when Friday night partying revelers begin to amp up their weekend and Jews begin the complete opposite; an interesting dichotomy.
Often I feel being brought up in the Christian church and then discovering my Jewish heritage that I am caught in-between two worlds. And there are times I cannot find a place of peace for myself in the church or synagogue. In fact I have a nine different countries and cultures in my DNA so I am quite a unique blended Euro-American.
Recently I was attending a Christian church and I mentioned in Bible class something about Buddhist teachings. I was met with "they're all sinners and that religion is a sin." spoken by the pastor himself and one of the women in the class. That struck a nerve because my partner is Buddhist. I felt their views were incorrect from the beauty and balance I always felt when connecting with the teachings myself.
Needless to say, that's why I'm sitting here on a Sunday morning typing this to you. I'm not wanting to return to that church's narrow views. Sigh. So I'm back to the same space I've been many-a-time; caught between cultures.
There was a time when I did feel at peace and at home with myself and world. This was a time when I embraced the Native American side of myself. There is where I felt the deepest 'home'. When standing in the middle of a medicine wheel out on the land or praying beside a sacred fire; or fire-keeping a sacred lodge of stones brought from the Taos, NM mountains.
I've found that I am a blend of cultures and from where I sit, my sense of how things feel the best for me is to be spiritual throughout each day, moment and breath. This means staying present, being in the moment, the now. Being mindful. Being.
Praying as a form of meditation and remaining in the moment of each breath. I cannot judge the Christians, Jews or Buddhists, or Native cultures - I AM all of these things. But what works for me is nature where I see the calming reminder of Mother Nature all around me and feel my deepest sense of home. Throughout my work week I seek to balance within the moment of talking with a client, gazing at my puppies in gratitude, praying and meditating with peace and love in my heart; thinking about my partner and his smile; and so many more ways to be present and live in the moment. It's about being mindful of the world around me and how it is my mirror; how I am reflected in it, and how much love is reflected back to me.
These are oftentimes my "mini church moments" throughout my day. So therefore my church is all around me; and also within me. I love the structured feeling going to Sunday church feels and listening to the mindful words and truth are what I am drawn to. So I do miss it. However, my peace comes from within and to that I cling.
Hoping your day and the week ahead are filled with peace and joy!