"Everyone who seeks truth from wisdom will fashion wings in order to fly away and escape from the passion that inflames human spirits. The seeker will fashion wings in order to escape from every spirit that can be seen." - The Book of Thomas from The Secret Teachings of Jesus
Without any regret, I left my religion behind a year ago. It was after lots of searching for the truth and more reading than I have ever done in my life that I decided organized religion was not for me anymore. It hadn't been for a long time, but I did not allow myself to feel comfortable about that choice until I took the time to find out what I needed for me to walk away without feeling anything but peace. It took a lot of time to get here and it was not without lots of sadness for things I felt I had lost along the way--traditions, beliefs, faith in people who were in positions of authority over me for a lot of my life. You wouldn't think that losing a life of lies would be painful, but it was.
After being raised a Catholic from birth and attending Catholic schools all my life, I had never read the Bible. I don't ever remember seeing a Bible in the home I grew up in either, I only remember seeing Bibles in the hotel rooms we would stay in when we went on trips. So I took the time to read it from cover to cover--I did not breeze through it--I studied it. I knew all of the stories from school, but reading them for myself gave me new insight. I came away from reading the Bible having more questions than answers, though, and my experience isn't something that I feel I'm able to articulate properly which is why I haven't written more about it. I felt further away from God, I think, further away from the truth after reading the Bible.
I read everything. I know I said that before but it bears repeating because it means I opened my mind to things I hadn't before. I gave up having to be right about things I was clearly wrong about and it opened up the world to me. When you take a good look at everything, you are able to sift through it all to find what's true. That's what I learned that I will never forget--that you need an excess of information from all sides to get at the truth. I also learned that the truth should be able to withstand all sorts of questions. If someone wants to tell me that I am wrong for questioning things, if they want to shut me up or silence my inquiries, then I immediately know that they are not interested in the truth and I move along.
I read a book a while ago called The Divine Matrix by Gregg Braden. In it, the author talks about how we are all connected to one another--how there are no empty spaces between any of us. There are lines of energy connecting us to other people and other things--we can't see them, but they are there. He talked about how even non-living things experience change when we are in their presence.
The invisible connections that leave behind changes which aren't noticeable to the naked eye help drive home how powerful we are. So much of the time, we are taught to look outside ourselves for answers or for help. The part of the Bible that rang truest for me was Jesus saying that the Kingdom of God is inside us--how we didn't have to look any further than ourselves to find what we're looking for. I believe this is a truth that no one in power really wants to teach us because that would mean we wouldn't need them anymore to tell us what to do, how to live our lives, or what to believe. The funds would dry up if people didn't need organized religion anymore and we can't have that. When big money is at the center of things, I connect the dots and find corruption.
In the end, I come to this: The divine is inside us, outside us, and all around us. The connections we have to everything and everyone brings comfort that we are never alone. We are infinitely more powerful than any of us realize.