Become a Follower of the Big Dude!

Meet the divine Dude in this blog. This Dude has had and seen his share of sacred shit. He's not afraid of it or of its language. I can't relate to a god that's been crucified, but I can relate to one whom my government has imprisoned and humiliated. I can relate to one who's been raped by his own holy men. I can relate to one who grew up playing baseball or soccer and who dated the Prom Queen. I can relate to the god who knows the working of corporate conglomerates, pimps, and teen-age girls who are pregnant. I can relate to the god who loves alcoholics and drug addicts just a tad more than wall street hotshots. This Dude thinks all of us are mortal particles in an ocean of sacred shit. This Dude recycles.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Attachment Goes Not Gently Away

Great religions and spiritual traditions speak of detachment--letting go of the things of the world for spiritual purposes.  Did you ever try it?  It's so hard!  I first noticed my penchant to cling to the things of the world. Like Dylan Thomas, I am one to "go not gently into that good night."  I cling to my best friend, to my son, to my opinions, to my unique family and history.  Recently, I realized I even cling to my faults and my problems.

Such a problem is my lifetime battle with insomnia.  That started when I was a tiny person.  I would get up and go to the bathroom during the night and then be afraid to go back to bed.  I would sit on the toilet all night waiting for some sound from my parents' room indicating they were awake. At the same time, I was afraid to flush for fear I would wake my Dad and he would be angry with me.  I was awake and terrified until daylight.  I still am sometimes. 

Insomnia shapes my life.  I don't like to travel because it affects my sleep patterns.  I won't stay at other people's houses.  I won't stay anywhere unless I have a bathroom connected to my bedroom.  Naturally, I also won't sleep in the same room or bed with anyone lest I have to use the bathroom or lest I can't sleep all night.  What will they think of me?  Will they love me less because I am not the strong woman they know in the daytime? I have turned down jobs, opportunities to fly to foreign lands on private jets, and even marriage proposals because of my insomnia.

I was reading something about detachment this morning (after a rough night) and the author suggested that detachment doesn't just relate to people but also to problems that you obsess over.  I immediately realized that I obsess over sleep or the lack thereof. What would happen if I turned sleep gently over to the Big D, my higher power.  I envision myself wrapping it gently in gossamer threads, a lumpy package with defiant tendrils trying to escape and come back to me.  I stand before my higher power and, as if pledging my troth, close my eyes and hand over the shapeless mass.  I feel it fall from my hands but I don't know if it was taken lovingly or whether I am imagining my relief.

I don't suppose it will be so simple as giving it over to the higher forces, but recovery and all spiritual guides suggest we "let go."  If you think about it, clinging to anything of the earth is a pointless activity.  Either there is gravity holding us or there isn't.  All the clinging and clutching in the world doesn't make us more securely attached; it just means we can't move about the beautiful earth as easily. I'm letting go, lettting go already.  More to come,  Roxie

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Spiritual not Religious!

Well, spirituality today trumps religion, so says a recent poll. Is it laziness or lack of willingness to commit? Is it free thinking? Why are so many of us claiming to be spiritual while not having a religious affiliation? Is it because so many religions have screwed up so badly? Think religious wars, abuse of women and children by religious leaders. Think of hoarded wealth and freely distributed righteousness. So, there's a lot of reasons why folks may be choosing not to be spiritual. There's another side to the story though. Alternative spiritualities and practices are on the rise. Many of us have turned to Zen Buddhism, for example.

What really fascinates me, however, is the rise of the 12-Step movement. Widely thought of as a kind of cure for various addictions, 12-Step groups are also highly spiritual and intentionally not religious. The idea of a "higher power" of each person's understanding permeates all 12-Step work. When you think of the millions of people who participate in one such recovery group or another, we are looking at possibly the largest source of those who might well claim to be spiritual and not religious in the polls.

I am one such person. Being a bit of a Buddhist, an occasional Unitarian, a member of the alternative Unity Church (bringing all spiritual practice together, baby), I've recently become a member of the recovery community. I bow my head in shock and awe at the spiritual power of these groups. My membership in recovery is actually why I haven't posted for so long. I was reluctant to include what is a new and powerful growth process in this alternative spirituality blog. I didn't want to dump the Big Dude. I was afraid I would lose my readers if I truly shared what I'm finding to be a powerful, transformative spirituality. My intellectual self rejects the idea and I worry that yours will too.

Deep breath. When I first went into recovery, it was to help a friend. I was skeptical, doubtful, and sarcastic in my attitude. I didn't want to be there. As time went on, I began to catch glimpses of a different reality. I saw that I was not who I'd always thought I was. I was both far worse and far better. I can't really explain what happened but I will try to speak the spiritual truth I'm observing and experiencing in the recovery rooms.

For starters, take the idea that each person has his/her own higher power, unshared with and untapped by other humans. Kind of like the "guardian angel" concept of some other religions. In a way, it is a kinder, friendlier Big Dude--my own Big D. I can selfishly ask for help or comfort without worrying about the abuse and starvation of other humans who might need the services of a God with broader responsibilities! More to follow. Roxie