Matters of faith: Be your own guide
When I was a child my mum would make us pray, meditate and sing songs about God. She thought she had to do it, because it was the right thing to do. Eventually this all stopped and, while we still prayed, Mum didn’t force us to believe the same things she did. There was a choice, and I chose – and still continue – to believe in God.
Now, I’m not orthodox religious. I don’t believe that you have to go to a church or a temple to connect with God, but I’ve tried twice in my life to fit in with a particular religion.
The first time was in the Girl Guides when I was about twelve. They were okay, and girlguiding has a new promise now, but I didn’t like having the Bible read out to me and learning to sew and cook.
The second time was when I joined a youth group as a teenager. In this youth group we’d dance to church songs played by a band and after we’d learn lessons about God. I really enjoyed being with the people there. They were incredibly nice and so happy, I swear they could have floated up to the roof. But I didn’t like their God. Their God said bad people go to hell and good people go to heaven. Their God thought everyone needed to be saved. Some of the things these lovely people believed in felt so wrong to me. So I left the youth group behind.
I still don’t have any particular religion and the way I express my spirituality is quiet. I don’t really talk about it. It’s a more internal, thoughtful thing – a small light in the dark. I mull over my beliefs and analyse them so I can decide, within myself, what I believe to be right and wrong.
Analyse your own spirituality. Determine your own faith.
Here are two ways you could analyse your spirituality. Just remember that these are guidelines and that, at the end of the day, you have to decide for yourself what you believe to be right and wrong.
My first suggestion is that you look within yourself. Look at your beliefs and analyse what you believe in and why. Do these things fill your soul or are these just routine things that you do? Has anything you believed in felt wrong? If this is the case, why? Is it because you don’t truly believe or understand it? Put your beliefs under the microscope and have a good think about it all. you may find it helpful to write this all down in a notebook or talk to a close family member or friend.
My other suggestion is that you do some research on other religions. Attend churches, temples, talk to people and do some online research. It may be worthwhile to look at things like Atheism and why people don’t have a belief in some sort of God. Look at things that really challenge what you believe in and you may find that something clicks with you.
It’s not easy to challenge your beliefs or have them challenged. When this happens, I go with the first option and think it over until I feel right, spiritually, again.
I think the most important thing to remember is that all religions stem from one vein: love and faith. And, at the end of the day, you need to find something that resinates with you. This could mean a religion, a belief in some sort of God or something else entirely that fuels your spirit.
Everyone should have the right to choose what they believe in. I do not think this means a person is “picking and choosing”. No, they are truly deciding what they believe in. To me, this is knowing yourself and your spirituality. It’s not mindlessly following something because you’ve been told to. It’s choosing your own way and following your heart.