I had my first therapy appointment today. It was really excellent and I have real hope that this woman will be able to help me get back to myself. There's a lot of different things going on that are making it difficult for me to see clearly. We talked about a few different things today, one of which was my spiritual background.
The therapist said that in all aspects of my life that I talk about I seem ambivilent. That word describes me all over, not in a bad way, just an observation of how I see life. And it's true. I have that Indian fatalism.
I don't tend to strive for much because the world is an illusion, but then I am left feeling blah and without purpose.
Right now I am feeling that I need to more deeply explore my beliefs and be willing for them to flex and change according to what I myself see about life. I am afraid to question things and afraid to criticize what I have been taught to believe.
And yet I really do believe that it is valuable to question what you are told. I wouldn't take anyone as an authority unless it rang true in my heart (Except for the people who have been given to me as authority from the time I was a child. I never question Shankara, but I should. Questioning doesn't mean disagreeing with, after all.) I think faith that is questioned and stands up to the pondering is much stronger. One should ask questions, one should try to understand. Questioning is not being disrespectful to God.
Some part of me feels like it is. In part I don't want to do this questioning in public, in front of others, in case it gives an opening to people who would blame my religion. There are people who would say that my current aimlessness is the fault of me not "having Jesus in my heart." I don't think it is the fault of my religion, but something in me. But then why am I even afraid to explore in private? Who do I think is going to be displeased? Would examining my beliefs make me disloyal to my parents, to the people who taught me all I know about spirituality?
Maybe it isn't God I fear displeasing at all. One of the great things about the Smartha branch is that it encourages that you rely on your own experience. You have an inner guide, the Atman, God, and so you have all the knowledge and everything that you need already. Finding that inner voice is just part of the journey. I'm not sure I can hear much of an inner voice yet. I think I have a lot of an outer voice telling me what my inner voice should be saying.
This is not me questioning my religion. I am dedicated to my religion, but I do think it is valuable to examine the rote answers I have been given and try to understand them for myself. In order to do that I have to leave open the possibility of things I have been taught being proved wrong in my own experience. I am really, startingly afraid to do that. I guess I'm afraid I will lose my mooring.
I believe so strongly and so fiercely in the existence of an immortal soul. That belief is valueless if I never question it and never probe it. I don't honestly think that I will discover it to not be true or to discover a belief within me that it isn't true. So why am I afraid to ask it? What do I not want to see?
We must, we really must, look from the corners of our eyes, to what is lurking behind our conscious awareness. Pull those fears and deep-seated beliefs into the light and see exactly what they really are.
How much more relaxed and sure I will be once I have done that! As the therapist pointed out, I am not happy right now. My religion teaches that I should be happy. I think there is a little, niggling fear in me that it won't hold up to scrutiny. But what good is a religion that doesn't hold up to scrutiny? We're looking for something to give meaning to our lives, to help us understand why we are here and what our life is for. We should be ruthless in looking for the answers to those questions.
I think the truth will turn out to be what I have always suspected it was, but I will be much happier and more confident and not be plagued with night terrors connected to dying if I leave open the possibility that the truth might not be what I think. I will be a scientist about it, and explore those questions with as little bias as I can.
I have always thought that our purpose in life is to find the answer to those questions of who we are and why we are here and that it is dangerous to think we already have the answer.
I'm sorry to those people who thought they gave me the answer already, but I have to explore the questions from the ground up instead of starting with the assumption that the answer to the question of who I am is the Atman. What if it isn't? I really need to know that!