Can I be honest? Like completely honest?
Growing up, I HATED church.
I was born into the Catholic religion. I went to private Catholic schools all my life and attending church was mandatory. The problem was, I never felt comfortable. The solemn and gloomy energy was overwhelming to me. I would actually feel scared to be in a Catholic church...heck I even had nightmares about it. The energy just didn't feel right. Maybe it was because I was a fearful child? But once I finished high school, I breathed a sigh of relief that I would never have to step foot in a church again.
Or So I Thought...
All types of destructive behaviors had a stronghold of me in the beginning of my college years. I was a rebel without a cause. I ended up marrying an extremely abusive person who gave me that final push into darkness. I was able to escape and was divorced 7 months later, but the damage was already done. My life was spiraling out of control, and FAST. At that point I barely believed in God. One of my friends repeatedly invited me to go to a Christian church with her and I shot her down faster than the speed of light each time. Finally, I said yes [don't recall if I was drunk when I agreed]. So there I was entering this new church, hungover from the night before, when I heard the band rocking out. I don't remember the song at all; I just remember the music emanating this feeling of joy that penetrated my entire being. I began to cry and people started putting their hands on me...and for once in a very long time, I felt ACCEPTED. This Christian church quickly became my new home. The vibe was so friendly and relaxed; I felt comfortable, I felt LOVED. I no longer felt as if I was broken or damaged goods. I had a renewed sense of hope and I thought this was where I belonged.
When my son's father and I got together, our common beliefs in Christianity definitely helped the relationship, but it was also the cause of some fights. I mean seriously, I am not going to hell just because I have tattoos or get tarot card readings from a Santera I know...SHEESH. We attended church often but there was STILL something deep inside me that didn't feel quite right, like something just didn't make sense...this feeling grew faint as we stopped going to church. Upon ending our relationship, I returned to church full force. Again, it gave me that sense of love, belonging and acceptance...but the 'off' feeling came back with a vengeance.
IF YOU ARE UNWILLING TO QUESTION YOUR BELIEFS, YOU WILL NEVER KNOW IF YOU ARE FOLLOWING TRUTH OR LIES.
I decided to embark on a truth-seeking journey which lasted months. I NEEDED ANSWERS...to what, I don't know, but I had a gut feeling I would find them. I read tons of research from credible sources on religion, spirituality, faith, science and all others types of topics. The more I informed myself, the more things started to make sense to me. Why the heck was I following outdated, man-made 'rules' from a book only written to control the masses? Why was I made to believe by the church that the only way God would love me unconditionally was if I met all of his conditions...HUH? Lies after lies debunked...Simply put, I came to my own conclusion that religion is a corrupt institution made by man to control man. The cloud of confusion started to lift and the 'off' feeling dissipated. A spiritual teacher was put in my path and as she guided me through soul work, I discovered Kundalini Yoga. EVERYTHING CHANGED. Like the light switch finally turned on.
Spirituality Is Subjective
Working with my spiritual teacher and practicing Kundalini Yoga brought me PERSONAL EXPERIENCES in which I was able to FEEL my soul...I was able to FEEL God and KNOW that I am an extension of God...I was able to feel the vastness of LOVE and PEACE! The actual feeling of it is quite indescribable and it may seem crazy, but it is my truth. [By the way, no I don't use drugs lol] I learned that spirituality is subjective...you just have to experience it for yourself. The beauty of knowing that God is this powerful primal force of loving, Divine Energy which is permanently there for us wherever we go, in whatever we do, is so comforting. If I EVER need to feel loved, accepted, or worthy, I can just turn to my Highest Self, my soul...for God resides there. I don't need to look for these things externally; they already live within me. Discovering this totally freed me and for once, I finally knew what it felt like to be in alignment with your highest truth.
My Religion Is Love
Beliefs are just thoughts that you think over and over and accept them to be true. They can change at any given moment if you want them to. HOORAY FOR THAT! I took all the beautiful teachings of compassion, love, forgiveness, and wisdom from various religions and combined it with my experiences to create a new belief system for myself. I wholeheartedly believe in God...I KNOW God exists. I also believe in angels and spirit guides [I have physically seen and dreamt about them]. So do I plan on going back to church? Who knows? Do I think other people should stop going to church? No. Every soul is on a different path in life; I respect everyone's journey. If the church gives you comfort in a time of need, do what feels right to you. Feed your soul in whatever way it chooses to be fed. There is no right or wrong in your walk of life, only lessons.
I can however tell you this about myself: I no longer need to use a fictional demon as a scapegoat if I don't take personal responsibility for my own actions, because I am accountable for myself; I no longer need to fear evil or feel hopeless in life situations, because I know about the Laws of the Universe, duality, and contrast; I no longer need to go crazy trying to meet conditions so I can be 'saved', there is nothing to be saved from; I no longer need to feel that an ascended master [Jesus] who lived centuries ago is the middle man to God, because God already lives within me; and I don't need to belong to a religion to feel loved, because I AM LOVE.