I've been talking about writing about faith for some time, but always holding back through fear of something or other. And this extends not just to my writing here on the blog, but my conversations with others in real life and my own reading about faith.
So I'm starting 2013 with a fresh perspective and taking a deep breath before exploring some big issues that pop into my head from time to time. I am letting go of fear that talking about these kinds of things will alienate many readers, and taking back the blog as a place to reflect on what is important to me and my family. And today, that thought is unity.
I've been thinking about the concept of unity for many years. It is the fact that I firmly believe that all things are connected in some way that leads me to turn away from mainstream religion and follow a path which feels right to me. I cannot, with all my heart, profess that any single person or religion has "the truth" to the exclusion of all others. It just doesn't feel right.
Every so often, especially when I walk through nature, I can feel this sense of belonging, a sense that everything is created from the same source and that if only we could be aware of this throughout our daily lives we'd have a lot less conflict and the need to say "this is right, but that is wrong" or "this is good, but that is bad" or even "this is the true God, yours is a false idol". When I am in nature, I feel connected to something greater than my own small world, and it is there that I feel most clearly that God created everything… and by that I mean everything. Whatever we term good or bad, right or wrong, it all comes from God. It is our own desire to categorise and understand things which complicates the matter.
The photo I posted above was chosen for this particular blog post because to me it symbolises a little part of this concept of unity… that three seemingly different things can all come together and work in harmony, because in essence they are all connected anyway. And though I don't wish to pretend I know what this unity is all about, I do want to try and explore it in the way I live my life.
I want to try and get beyond the logical reasoning that so often makes me categorise something as "right" or "wrong" (because, after all, I may feel that everything is connected, but often my mind gets totally in the way of accepting it!) I want to go beyond the mere concept of unity, and truly explore what it means as best I can.
One of the ways I want to do this is to meditate more, to take myself away from the triggers in everyday life that stop me from exploring the unity of everything. It feels essential to me that in our everyday life things have to be categorised to certain extents to allow us to function as we do. I need to separate work life from home life, my role as mother from my role as wife, looking after the needs of others and looking after my own needs… the list goes on. But every so often it feels good to get away from that and just try to enjoy being and letting the world carry on around me. I don't do it enough, in fact I positively find ways to avoid doing it most days, yet when I do I feel so much better.
I also want to explore the way we celebrate and experience life, by marking the changing of the seasons and the waxing and waning of the moon, not to say "I prefer this holiday to that" or "I am happier in the summer than winter", but to simply experience them for what they are. This is where the Pagan Wheel of the Year will help us out somewhat. I may not follow any single religion, but I do enjoy exploring them bit by bit.
Some may call this "pick and mix" and a less dedicated way of living life and exploring faith. I personally prefer to see it as exploring my own personal relationship with God, the creator, in whatever form that appears. And in exploring a relationship, surely I am exploring the idea of unity once more?
I have no doubt that I shall return to this topic of unity many times, but this is the beginning of this year's journey, and that makes me excited for what it may bring.
Interestingly, in a week when this concept was very clear in my mind, I was led to read an article about a meeting between the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu. It is a wonderful read, why don't you check it out?