I will not ask you to join my religion. I no longer participate in Dogma or any Church of any kind. However, I believe in a Higher Power. I believe in a Universe that wants us all to take our birthright, which is happiness.
I grew up religious. The matter of the fact is that I served a religious mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Most people around the world recognize this religion as “Mormons.” I served my mission in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. I went to teach people about God, but I ended up learning for my myself more than I ever taught to someone else. I participated in this religion for 33 years. My life was built around my faith in it’s teachings. I am no longer part of this religion because I was excommunicated. But the excommunication has become liberating for me. I have been able to search elsewhere for truth.
Being raised in a specific religion can be confusing when that religion starts to seem imperfect. I was told all my life that the “Church is perfect, but the people are imperfect.” I don’t accept that justification anymore. Religion and dogma are divisive for me. Religion is what has caused all the most horrific wars and pain on earth. Religion divides by placing people in a judgement mindset. The hard truth is that no religion knows all. I have grown to mistrust those that claim to know everything. I now believe that one of the biggest parts of our human existence is seeking truth in all that we do.
The one thing that I do believe that all people need to figure out is if there is a Higher Power. Call it God, Allah, the Universe, etc. I don’t care. That Higher Power has been working in my life over the last few years and I can’t deny the signs. I want to encourage people to find meaning and purpose and to seek their Higher Power. I have found my Higher Power in podcasts, in books, and in my interactions with other people. The Universe has something to teach us all if we are willing to listen. Having the courage to seek can seem hopeless. Most of us have been let down so many times. Our hurt prevents us from seeking because we don’t believe that we will receive an answer.
Answers for me have come in my mind, just as though they were on the same factory mill as all of my other thoughts. The difference was whether or not I was paying attention. I can identify them and peal them away from the others. The sure signs of them being spiritual thoughts was if my body would get tingles. Usually my legs or my arms would get tingles, or would feel like my legs or arms were falling asleep, but it would be a pleasant ache, not a painful one. I am trying to turn into these thoughts more now. That is what has lead me here to this blog. I am trying to listen and adhere to the messages that I am receiving.
Usually I would recognize these thoughts after I had just invested time in listening to an uplifting podcast, or after reading an uplifting book, or even from watching a beautiful movie. Now I said uplifting, I did not say religious. For example, one of my favorite podcasts is “How I Built This with Guy Raz”. He interviews business owners. They tell their stories of how they started their businesses. One of my favorite stories is that of a Utah business. I grew up in Utah so learning about successful people and businesses that have gotten their start in Utah is fun and exciting for me. David Neeleman is a creative business man. He first started packaging trips to Hawaii for Utah residents. He would book resorts in Hawaii and then he would repackage them and sell them to a target market in Utah. He would place ads in the Utah newspapers. Well this business became so successful that he had to find a way to help people to get from Utah to Hawaii. So he started leasing a plane to fly from Utah to Hawaii. He started flying once a week to Hawaii. Well the plane he was leasing was an older plane and nobody else was using it, so he created packages for families to travel to California. Now the plane would fly to Hawaii one day of the week, and the plane would make trips to California a few of the other days in the week. This business became so successful that he started his own airline. You might have heard about it. Jetblue. Listen to the podcast here: https://podtail.com/en/podcast/how-i-built-this/jetblue-airways-david-neeleman/
Gabby Bernstein has become a huge mentor to me. Now I have never met her. I say mentor because I study her work. She creates content weekly. You can find her at http://www.gabbybernstein.com. Two of her books have been releasing for me. “The Universe Has Your Back” was her first book that I read. I was on a plane ride to Atlanta for work. I had chills the entire time I was reading the book. Gabby destigmatizes spirituality. She teaches people how to meditate, and how to seek spiritual guides. I find it strange that so many people love Star Wars but not more people are grabbing on to forms of meditation. Gabby has all sorts of free resources on Youtube to teach you how to meditate. I encourage you to explore her work. Here is one of her Youtube episodes: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7yiCMxp8Kw4
My first realization that I could define my own Higher Power, one of my own understanding, was in my 12 Step recovery program. I attended Sexaholics Anonymous for over a year. The 2nd and 3rd steps are a quick and direct introduction to find your Higher Power. Step 2 is : Believe that a higher power can restore you to a state of psychological normalcy and wellness. and Step 3: Turn over your will and life to a higher power as you understand it.
(The higher power does not need to represent anything more than an individual’s personal conception of God, regardless of their religion.) – https://www.recovery.org/support-groups/sexaholics-anonymous/
Gabby further educated me that God and the Universe could be defined according to my own understanding. Growing up I was taught that God was clearly defined through scripture and by people in authority. Well that authority failed me many times over, so I was forced to start to build my own framing and understanding of God. I tend not to use the word God, because I don’t want people to refer to the God that was taught to them through cultural conditioning. I tend to use the term “The Universe” more frequently because it doesn’t have as many negative connotations. My God is not greater than your God. We are just here to learn from one another. More importantly, The Universe is there to teach if you are willing to listen.