©2022 Michael Raven
One of the problems I have wrestled with for a long time is just how, if at all, I want to codify and share some of my thoughts regarding spiritual practices and systems of beliefs. I mean, those kinds of blogs are really a dime a dozen these days and, as the old adage goes: get thirteen spiritually inclined individuals into a room, ask a simple question about the matter and get thirty different points of view which are absolutely correct while the other twenty-nine are irreparably flawed. And those remaining twenty-nine opinions amongst the thirteen present are convinced they are the only correct path (several people suffer from inner conflicts about what is “right”).
And yet, I have a hard time accepting that I am the only person who has the thoughts and ideas that I entertain about such things. There have got to be others out there, locally even, who share some of the same thoughts as I do, independent of me. I can’t be the singular anomaly that thinks of things the way that I do. Or can I be so certain that I am not almost entirely alone in my thoughts? It sure seems like I am way off in left field counting the blades of grass as I wait for someone to knock something in my direction.
At one point, as I have shared already on this blog, I was an ordained minister under a group of local druids. I was ordained while I was living half-way across the country from the community, and didn’t keep up with the group once I returned to Minneapolis for reasons I won’t go into here. I did a stint of being a practicing reverend, offering up free services to anyone, regardless of their spiritual leanings, and had a couple of crippling failures on my part (quite possibly because I was tragically flawed and confused myself) at the time, and decided to step away from the practice of ministering to people.
I have very little desire to return to that place, although I have gotten my head together a lot better than I have ever had it together in my entire life. Certain things in the past few years have come to the surface and woken up the slumbering me, and not always in the nicest way. Still, returning to that kind of support for people takes a certain kind of person — someone I doubt that I am.
I basically have avoided doing anything more than hint around the edges about my actual thought process, mostly to avoid arguing with anyone about such things, or coming off as a know-it-all. I think more value is placed in the persons with absolute and certain authority over those of us who are more prone to calling ourselves “seekers”, and so we get shouted down for having alternate takes on things because we admit we are not absolute in our beliefs. Truth, for me anyway, is different from fact — truth is malleable to some extent, whereas fact is immutable. Truth grows with understanding and is organic, and facts are the ossified bones that truth rests its garlands upon. Truth is interpreted fact and individual. Fact is beyond the individual.
I probably make no sense with this meandering, which is another reason why I tend to avoid such discussions on the blog. I leave the trying to communicate beyond the words themselves to the poetry and prose. The philosophical often stays in the empty place between my ears.
Anyway, this has been a roundabout way of saying that I think I might be compelled to share my system of belief with the outside world, but I’m not sure there is much appetite for it although I’d love to find some like-minded individuals to share ideas with and to grow my understanding. I just don’t want to bother with the standard fare out there that fills volumes of quick-selling books that are all about circular reinforcement of selective truths that may not have many (or any) facts to prop them up.
I want meaningful personal gnosis, not hand-me-downs based on someone else’s best-selling book about a particular personal truth.
And solitary approaches might be my only answer. But I should maybe truly entertain the idea of sharing to see if I’m really all that solitary in my understandings.
3 thoughts on “Solitude”
OK, so this is straight off the top of my head and not planned so it might seem like rambling.
Ultimately yes, each person’s thought process and belief system is unique, whether or not they begin at a similar point or with a similar doctrine – and this, for me, becomes a stumbling block as doctrines imply following someone else’s process or beliefs which thus blocks the organic approach necessary to fulfill one’s ‘journey’ (for want of a better word). I am currently reading Jaz Coleman’s book which explores a lot of his beliefs and, whilst interesting, I am finding that, like most people, because he is convinced in his thinking, he believes that his philosophy is ‘right’ (and he openly explores how his development has been organic in nature) and therefore flies in the face of the inhibiting nature of the doctrines he refutes (they are not correct because…but mine is because…).
I have similar issues with some scientific theories which are well explained and ‘proven’ (in theory) but not in ‘fact’: for example the fourth dimension in shapes which is explained along with the proviso that ‘we can’t truly observe it because we live in three dimensions’: is this, then (like some spiritual beliefs) something that we should just accept?
Maybe I’m too cynical.
Perhaps sharing in your posts might be helpful to you – I’m sure I’d enjoy reading.
Hope that this has not been complete nonsense!
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Not at all. We are of a similar mind.
I hesitate to write too much at risk of seeming to pontificate and lacking in the talent to avoid right/wrong-minded thinking in my language. More: here is my thoughts, which are no more right than yours… That hard part is to avoid saying: but here is where you are wrong. The thing is, I’ve always adhered to the “the right way is the way that works for you, there is no wrong way” and yet, I have issues with “truths” that are only so and for as long as they happen to be convenient. Is it my job to point this out? I don’t think it is my business to do so, honestly. And yet, the temptation remains for whatever reason.
Thinking about it, I don’t want to do this if I can’t come off sounding the latest “How to be a…” book or blog. There’s got to be a different way of approaching the whole matter. I just need to thread the eye of that needle after I find it.
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I wholeheartedly agree; what works for one personally is always the right way, and, by default, no one path could be wrong. And this is one of the problems with writing (as opposed to face to face conversations) – my god I do seem to have issues with a lot of things! – interpretation of words. It can be so easy to come across as ‘preachy’ without the nuances of facial expressions and, indeed, body language when writing (I’m not, therefore, much of a texter and crap at keeping in touch with people), so I understand your concerns here.
Interestingly I am trying to learn Norwegian and from what I have studied they focus more on how words are spoken as opposed to formal constraints of grammar which seems, perhaps, a better way of communication – a little more in tune with the purpose of language, maybe.
Good luck locating your needle!
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