After more than eight years, I’m still processing the time I spent in intense Christian circles. And today, as I was writing my Morning Pages, I came to a bit of understanding that I think will help me a lot. When I was in YWAM, the group I was part of for so long, I was taught a lot about hearing the voice of God. I learned to hear or sense the things that came to me deep in my knower, and I grew to trust those things. But because everything we did was supposedly based on the Bible, the things God could possibly say only fell within certain parameters. Hearing the voice of God and following could be a bit like the game of Hotter-Colder. It was about finding The Truth. Something important was hidden out there, some piece of The Truth, and by listening closely, I could hear God say I was getting closer. But The Truth itself was always out there, waiting to be discovered. There was always Someone out there who knew what I ~should~ be discovering.
How does it feel different for me now? My insight this morning was an analogy. It’s like the difference between doing a chemistry experiment in freshman lab class, and doing original research for a PhD dissertation. In freshman chemistry, the professor knows the result you are supposed to be getting. You are replicating the work of others. You are learning the techniques of conducting a science experiment.
But by the time you are a grad student, working on a dissertation, the whole point is that you are supposed to be investigating something new, that no one knows the outcome of yet. You are doing original research, holding lightly any preconceived ideas of the outcome.
And in my analogy, I was in freshman class for a lot of years, learning many spiritual techniques. But now I’m a graduate student doing research on something that no one else has researched before, and that something new I’ve been investigating is ME! I’ve spent these last eight years in Colorado doing research on ME, discovering MY truth. And it feels fantastic. I’ve learned that I can trust ME. During those Christian years, I often ignored or suppressed my reactions when I didn’t agree with some teaching, especially if the teacher was highly respected or appeared deeply spiritual. But now I’ve learned to listen to the truth, MY truth, that wells up from MY belly. I’m no longer practicing spiritual techniques that somebody told me would lead to a certain result. The practice was great training, but now I’m doing research on a subject that no one else knows – and that subject is ME. And I’m creating a spiritual practice that is mine alone. I don’t have all the pieces of it yet, but I’m so grateful for the shape it’s taking.
Magical universe, magical life…