My spiritual journey has been a wild one. It also started at a very early age. I was on a quest to learn the truth of why things are the way they are and how to make sense of human experiences for as long as I can remember.
Did you ever see the commercial for the illustrated Bible when you were a kid? I certainly did and asked my mom and dad to buy me one. I loved looking at it and I would read it to my dad at night whenever he was willing to be my audience. At that time one of my favorite movie was “The 10 Commandments” with Charlton Heston. Strange I know, and I really didn’t find that my friends and I had my interest in religion in common. My father had also taught me to do the Hail Mary whenever I was scared (which was a lot when I was a kid) and I have always felt very connected to Mother Mary.
Looking back I think I was trying to resolve the conflicting religions in my household. My mother was Jewish and my father was Catholic, but they agreed that their children would be raised Jewish. I never felt particularly connected to Judaism and found myself becoming more interested in Catholicism. I was drawn to beauty and rituals within the Mass and found the experience very comforting. I was baptized and confirmed Catholic when I was sixteen.
And then I lost my way. At the time I was trying to fit in with what my friends in college were doing and I became more interested in partying than praying. It was as if I needed to go to the other extreme to find myself and build up a spiritual experience of my own understanding. I learned to meditate as a way to treat my depression and anxiety and started participating in New Age spirituality. Even though I found New Age information very interesting, it didn’t necessarily feel like a feet or something I could put my faith in, but when I started doing research on Buddhism, everything shifted for me in very powerful ways.
My last year of college I did a senior thesis on an artist named On Kawara. I won’t bore you with the details, but the thesis involved a fairly in-depth study of Buddhism and Buddhist art. It was as if I had found all the answers to all the questions that I ever asked. The was the first time in my life where I began to experience peace for longer intervals and it has had a huge impact on the woman I am today and how I approach life. I never formally became a Buddhist, but did utilize a lot of the tenets as a philosophy to approach my life. I loved detachment, compassion, mindfulness, wisdom and karma.
I know that when I am suffering the most is because I have attached myself to a story that is causing me to suffer emotionally. I know that when I am feeling judgmental towards myself or another that it is a call for compassion. I know that when I am too focused on the past or the future I will feel uncomfortable and need to focus on the present moment in order to be more mindful. I know that for all my flaws there is apart of me that knows what is right, that wise part that each of us possesses if we so choose. I know that for every action or lack I action I take their will be a consequence good or bad.
I am truly oversimplifying here, but my point is that my spiritual search led me to what I was looking for and a way to be in the world that will allow me to fall asleep at night knowing I did my best and can only ever do a little bit better the next day. It can be that simple.
My spiritual journey is everything and nothing.