Josie - New York, New York
Entered on April 29, 2008
Age Group: 30 - 50

How do believers arrive at their decision to go with Allah over Elvis? L. Ron Hubbard over Satan? Jesus over the all-mighty dollar? The Dalai Lama over David Karesh? Swami X over Guru Y?

If my devout Catholic mother had not died when I was five, would I believe in Jesus? Would I have been conditioned to have unwavering faith in the holy apostolic church? Or would I have been independent and found myself on the same road I am on now—chanting Buddhist chants half the day and invoking Hindu mantras on the flipside? Then cursing it all because I feel nothing?

I envy those who can just commit to a spiritual practice without hemming and hawing. My boyfriend found something swiftly in Buddhism. He said, “it just felt right” and didn’t look back. I pressed him to convince me. “It’s all the same. It doesn’t matter. It’s no big deal. Just pick something that makes sense. It will work.”

If only it were so simple. Finding my own spirituality has proved extremely stressful. My curiosity is too extreme. Too many choices makes me feel choiceless. Books upon books, mantras for every wish or dilemma, healing jewelry. I note every yoga studios on every corner. I can tell you all about them if you want to know the details, though I hardly go myself. I spend too much time wondering which one will bring me the enlightenment I crave,

I would love to find a sense of hope and faith and a steady practice—for my mind, body, and soul. Maybe not something typically “religious” in the societal sense of the word. But just like my tendency to overeat, I need to remind myself, everything in moderation. There is a reason so many philosophies exist. Yet so many are so very similar.

I know that doing what I love feels very big—writing and singing a new song and having it get stuck in my head, confirming it’s a keeper; playing random notes on a piano that run together like a concerto; letting it loose in dance; writing words on a page; fitting into my clothes; listening to a friend’s darkest secrets over sushi; watching the kind of movie that makes me want to act; seeing a Joan Mitchell painting up close; hiking to the top of a mountain, then seeing that same mountain’s expanse in a distance; reading a passage in a book that moves me to sadness; snuggling with my boyfriend, wrapped in our crisp down comforter; achieving a headstand away from the wall; blue skies; great buildings; color swatches; puffy peonies; foam soap.

As I debate whether to get on my knees or into the lotus position, I am coming to believe that these moments are powerful. This is very…spiritual.