Need help.....

Discussion in 'Spirituality/Worship' started by vivian53, Mar 17, 2009.

  1. vivian53

    vivian53 Member

    Hi everyone. I am new to this board (I write on the FM one), have been reading posts for about a month. I know I am not the only person who feels like I do and that alone is somewhat comforting.I am on a spiritual quest, basically meaning that I have not ever found my way on the path to becoming a spiritual person. I feel a void. I need guidance.

    I have not talked about my lack of knowledge of a "higher power" previously. I kept it hidden. We all know that hiding stuff like that doesn't last forever so.... I am in a relationship with an alcoholic. I am attending Alanon and following their 12 step program. Working this program entails praying to your "higher power" and therein lies my problem. I don't have one. Want one and want to believe in someone or something, always have, just can't.

    I know that the path to spirituality might not be found in the pages of a book, but I don't know where else to go. So, what I am asking here is that if anyone has some reading material (The Shack ?), or advice on where to start my journey, please let me know. Any help will be appreciated.

  2. Rafiki

    Rafiki New Member

    like the Unitarian Church?

    I love Unitarians and think that a Unitarian Church would be a very good place to begin a journey like the one you are embarking upon, Vivian.

    And, if you are interested in Peace and Social Justice the Unitarians are very active. They generate such a healthy active and welcoming community. It's also a great place to learn about many different traditions and have lively discussions.

    I am a Buddhist and follow the teachings of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. His Holiness always advises people to stay with their own tradition. So many people are interested in Buddhism these days but he dissuades them for many reasons including the reality that one is more able to stay with something familiar that does not require adopting a whole bunch of new concepts. That makes a lot of sense.

    That said, I did not stay with the tradition into which I was born because I always believed, instinctively, in what the Buddha taught and my journey was to be ready to find the teachings which I already believed.

    I don't know anything about your financial situation or your health but a great way to explore faith based systems is to take a course in comparative religion. The great thing about that is that no-one is trying to convince you of anything so you can learn about many faiths and fundamental differences in philosophies in a stress free environment. (Well, audit the course and it's stress free :eek:)

    I love what Jam said she tells her grands and believe it is our holy obligation to believe this:

    Be good to each other!

    Peace out,
  3. Rafiki

    Rafiki New Member


    How many Unitarian Universalists does it take to change a light bulb?

    Let us first consider what we mean by “light bulb” and how one might be “changed.” We must then decide whether changing the bulb might alienate those who use other forms of light.

    Love 'em!


    How many Unitarians does it take to change a lightbulb?

    Unitarians do not believe a light bulb should be forced to change. All people are invited to open and honest discussion about light bulbs. Perhaps you can write a poem or perform an interpretive dance about your feelings about light bulbs.

    Love 'em!

    [This Message was Edited on 03/17/2009]
  4. Rafiki

    Rafiki New Member

    Google! I knew the Unitarians had a good light bulb joke but I certainly couldn't remember what it was.

    My favourite wedding was conducted by a lovely Unitarian who told me the light bulb joke for the first time. Loved her and it was a great wedding!

    Peace out,
  5. springwater

    springwater Well-Known Member

    hello. May i ask what religion you were born into. What were you raised as? Lots of people in the world are looking for something to believe in. And they gravitate towards that which speaks to them the most. When they feel joyful when they worship. What appeals to one person may not to another.

    People of science find it so difficult to believe in the paranomal. Until something of a paranomal nature happens to them.

    Since you have begun your search, I do believe you will be led to what is good and right for you. Do you spend a lot of time with nature? Or some very quiet contemplative time? These seem to be able to open up the mind. Also if you visit a dog shelter, or any place where people give freely of themselves helping out hurting souls, I believe they are guided by a compassionate spiritual being in addition to having tapped into that well spring of innate goodness which is within each human being, and thus your own heart may open up and become more receptive of the feeling that there is spiritual guidance for us all.

    Good luck on your journey

    God Bless
  6. Doznclan3

    Doznclan3 New Member

    My faith is Christian. I will pray that you will find what you need to, to get through this step in the program.
    Love, Cynthia
  7. vivian53

    vivian53 Member

    Hi tigress. I appreciate all your kind words and thoughtful advice. Yes please pray for me, I do know the power of prayer.

  8. vivian53

    vivian53 Member

    I was hoping you'd respond. Your life philosophy seems similar to mine.

    I have not believed in heaven or hell ,ever, and especially not the devil. I think "its" development came from folks who knew that humans function on a low level of morality, the avoidance of punishment. Studies show that this is still the same today too. If you want people to do what you want, let them know all the terrible events that will ensue if they don't. Fire and brimstone.

    I have often during my life (and only to myself) called God Good instead. It keeps me from being a hypocrite too.

    I will read Great Lessons and Affirmations. It will help with my AA work too. Your daughter did some great work there, give her a hug from me please. And while your at it, hug yourself too, sounds to me like you have done some great work raising your daughter.

  9. TwoCatDoctors

    TwoCatDoctors New Member

    I'll tell you about my belief. I am a Christian who believes in God but with a different belief.

    The demons and bad spirits that some so fear are actually a part of people that so fear them --they are a warning to them. The good don't have demons and bad spirits and don't go looking for the bad in people and the world. The good seek the light, the love and the contentment their faith brings them--instead of looking for dark forces, and their faith reaches out a hand of love to other faiths in acceptance and love.

    And the Bible is never a tool to try to beat people down or extoll one's worthiness. It is in love, contentment and good deeds that one shows their worthiness.

    I believe the world has grown so large with so many people that God can hear our prayers and guide us, but cannot prevent the many terrible things that happen. So we experience Hell on earth during our life time. It is the various natural disasters, the wars, the plane crashes, the murders, the rapes, the child molestions and so many traumas that occur and that we go through during our life times. God is such a kind and wonderful God, who gave his son for us, that he would not allow Hell after death to exist for anyone as that is one realm in which he can exert control. He brings all that die into his loving warm embrace and forgives them of wrongs they have done, even the worst of us. And those who have done the worst during their time on earth are loving accepted and then given a second chance and sent back to make amends.

    After we pass, God may send us back to Earth to serve him even if we have been good. There may be the need for a special person to make a difference, or a special person in someone's life and God may determine that.
  10. TwoCatDoctors

    TwoCatDoctors New Member

    When you said: "I like the Native American way... of having a ceremony for everything... and in the Native American way, All spirits are invited to the ceremony, the good, the bad, and the ugly."

    Well, my brain automatically thought "uh oh, that means Clint Eastwood will be hanging around there too" and I had to chuckle to myself. I think I better eat breakfast and feed my brain!!!!
  11. vivian53

    vivian53 Member

    I am impressed with your abilities to put your thoughts into words and the amount of effort that you put into your responses to me. Even though I have talked for a living, I have now lost ( through illness and meds) my ability to transfer my thoughts into words well, so I will just plod on and hope I am getting through.

    Yes, yes, Unitarian. I have researched this church and believe I would fit in, IF I could take that leap of faith.

    When I was little I prayed that God would come into my life because I didn't like believing differently from my friends.

    As I grew older I prayed for faith so I could help my children believe in Jesus and God. I know through studies that people in general are more healthy and happy if they have religious beliefs. I took them to the First Baptist Church for years. It helped them believe, it solidified my feelings that this faith was definately not for me.

    I have recently been praying for the ability to believe so I can follow the steps in Al-Anon. Now at 55 I realize, with regret and probably shame, I am not now nor have I ever been a Christian.

    I meditate daily, I find it centering and it helps me relax. I took a class in Transendental Meditation in college, got a mantra, and have been doing it ever since. This is as close to religion as I have gotten.

    I guess what I want to ask is : What is wrong with me? Why is this ability to believe in God so easy for most others? Why can't I believe? What is my higher power?

    I felt a little better when I read about Mother Teresa's struggles with her faith. But she did have it and was, in time, able to regain it.

    I read a book a long time ago called "Why I Am Not A Christian" by Bertrand Russell. He expressed very well my same sentiments about organized religion.

    Yes I will read the book about miracles by the rabbi (I don't have the post to reference right now so I forgot the name).

    I can not put into words how much I appreciate each and everyone of you that have posted in response to me. It has brought tears to my eyes. If I haven't responded to your post directly it's not because I didn't value or appreciate it, I did. I'm just scattered. So thank you, thank you.

    Lets keep talking everyone. This discussion is exactly what I wanted and needed.

  12. vivian53

    vivian53 Member

    Hi Cynthia. I need your help too.

  13. vivian53

    vivian53 Member

    Hello to you. My parents are not religious people. I was brought up in the Presbyterian faith. I do believe though, that we only went to church because of my fathers position (US Army Col.) and that was what was expected of us.

    I was born to be a social worker. I have known what I wanted to do since I was little bitty. I have spent my life in service to others, dedicated my career to the down trodden; whether that be through mental illness or incarceration. I worked for the Salvation Army for several years. What a church. Their motto " Heart to God, Hand to Man." I am disabled now so now longer work full time, I volunteer. I do this with an organization called CASA. I work with children that have been removed from their homes by the Sate of Texas due to abuse or neglect. I can't work with animals that are abused though, don't have the strength.

    Thanks for your thoughtful response and kind wishes.

    [This Message was Edited on 03/18/2009]
    [This Message was Edited on 03/18/2009]
  14. vivian53

    vivian53 Member

    Ok I want to get in on the light bulb jokes...

    How many therapists does it take to change a light bulb? Just one......but the light bulb has to really want to change.

    I'll stop now :)

  15. vivian53

    vivian53 Member

    Hi. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and beliefs.

    I too have read the bible. It is a wonderful book and there are so many things to be learned from it.

    I believe the bible is the inspired words of men about God.

    If I could believe I would like to have the same set as you do. I admire that.

  16. vivian53

    vivian53 Member

    I am afraid you might be right. I sound closed minded and I wish I didn't feel the way I do. I embarrass myself with my lack of faith.

  17. Rafiki

    Rafiki New Member

    You express yourself beautifully. We get so caught up in how painful it is to pluck the words from our brains that we cannot see how well chosen they really are. I sometimes cannot understand my own posts if I am foolish enough to go back and read them. I am often completely mystified by an awkward sentence I wrote not five minutes before and have no idea what I intended to say.

    I don't think you and I are very different, Vivian. I, too, felt an enormous desire to believe something. I wanted to give shape to my faith in Goodness. (I was a Child Care Worker in my first career.) This faith never faltered but was without Belief or structure or community. Unfortunatley, perhaps, I could not take the leap of faith necessary to have faith in my faith. Does that make sense?

    I am a great skeptic but also open minded. That is a tricky combination to manage. I believe all things are possible but most are unlikely. (I'm chuckling.)

    In my twenties I converted to Judaism based on a very flawed understanding of its basic tenets. When I married a Jewish man who had Orthodox Jewish children I realized that my beliefs, in so far as I had any, were very unlike theirs and that I wasn't Jewish after all.

    It never occurred to me that I already believed what I believed and that that was just fine until I began to study Buddhism. Study and practice were new concepts to me because I had never found anything the skeptic in me could truly trust. The Buddha charged people not to simply trust without engaging one's intelligence, intellect and experience. Of course, since that time, many schools of Buddhism have adorned the Buddha's teachings with additional beliefs that many people find comforting - heavens, hells, angels, demons. I have no need of those things.

    I, like Jam, think you are just fine as you are except that you are unhappy. I'm sorry that your belief in goodness is not enough for you but I do know how you feel.

    I keep thinking: It's ok Vivian, God believes in you! I believe that is true even if, as a Buddhist, I choose to live happily with my unknowingness about the nature of God.

    I hope some of this makes sense. It's not a good thinking day! Nevertheless, I think your belief in Goodness is beautiful.

    Peace to you,

    Edited to remove a sentence I wrote twice - argh.

    [This Message was Edited on 03/18/2009]
  18. TwoCatDoctors

    TwoCatDoctors New Member

    I wanted to tell you that it is okay to be unsure of what you believe regarding faith beliefs and you don't have to decide right this minute, next week or even next year. You can review so many things, hang on this board and read all the posts and gradually you may get a feeling for what fits you and feels right for you. Take your time and relax. Hugs.
  19. vivian53

    vivian53 Member

    Rafiki and everyone. I have had an "Ah Ha" moment reading these last posts. I do believe in Goodness and am coming to believe that it may be enough for me at this time and place on my journey. I want to learn more.

    Yes I need to relax and realize that all I need to know will come to me in time. I will stay open.

    I can, as Rafiki so eloquently put it, " choose to live happily with my unknowingness about the true nature of God." That statement is exactly what I needed to hear.

    The fact that I can say out loud that I am not a Christian and not be shunned, has in a significant way, set me free. You folks here, all of you, helped me to find some peace in your acceptance of me. I live outside a small town in south Texas. To call us "hicks" would make us seem too cosmopolitan. : ) My beliefs would not be welcomed here.

    A child care worker Rafiki? Kindred spirits. I worked for six years as a CCW with teenage girls at a residential treatment center. Over worked and under paid, oh the "war" stories we could tell huh?

    I'll bet this board had a great discussion on the book "Eat, Pray, Love". A favorite of mine. I will look it up on old posts.

    I have a lot of reading to do and have started a new list. I love to learn about Native American beliefs Rainbow11, and all I know is what I have read in Tony Hillerman novels....not much.

    I have so much to learn and I WILL learn. I am happily excited about this.

  20. Sacajawea2

    Sacajawea2 Member

    I thought Rafiki's words were beautiful and so honest...yes, you shouldn't be afraid to express anything on here...most respect other's views and it all somehow works out!
    I hope you find peace in what your soul is searching for!