I believe in many paths.
“The Catholic church is the one and only perfect path to heaven.” This may not be an accurate quote. The catholic priest may not have said these exact words. This, however, is the message I received from his words.
When I heard this message I knew I was in the wrong place. It confirmed for me…this institution doesn’t fit me anymore. It’s time for a change.
I was looking to “the church” for some solid ground. I was looking for bedrock on which to base my spiritual pursuits. I didn’t find what I was looking for that day. The church didn’t fit the beliefs that were already solidifying within me.
At the time, I was thinking, “How could people of Jewish faith be wrong? How could people of Islamic faith be wrong? How could Buddhists be wrong?” The bottom line – I knew they were not. I didn’t know much else, but I knew that.
Adding to the swirling cauldron of complexity, my relationship with God was changing. I worked with some great people who were born-again Christians. I had a conversation with one man and found myself saying, “The God I know wouldn’t do that.’ Wait a minute. I know god? Without a priest being here? Whoa.
So it began. My mind opened up. My spirit opened up. Possibilities opened up. The blinders were off. I gave myself permission to attend different churches. I went. I saw. I experienced. I read. I found. I found what I was looking for, but even that changed.
I embarked on a spiritual journey. I’m still on this spiritual journey. I can point you to some landmarks I’ve found along the way.
I found the solid ground within myself that gave me permission to be open to all faiths, practices and religions. I found that I can have my own beliefs and other people’s beliefs don’t make mine wrong. I found that I don’t have to defend, but I can accept.
I found that I can meet people exactly where they are. I found that I can stand among / between all faiths and not lose myself. I lost my hard, critical judge (in this one area of my life) and found my truer essence. I found more of me.
I’m not done. I’m still on my own unique path. I’m grateful I can acknowledge others on their paths and still walk my own. Please keep walking your own path. Mine may not fit for you. We can, however, walk side-by-side.
You may be wondering where all of these paths lead. It’s a great question. The best answer I have found comes from the writings of Rumi:
“Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing,
there is a field. I’ll meet you there.
When the soul lies down in that grass,
the world is too full to talk about.
Ideas, language, even the phrase ‘each other’
doesn’t make any sense.”
I’ll meet you there, friends. I’ll meet you there.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.