Posted by: innerpilgrimage | September 6, 2012

A Gentler Path

          I had an opportunity to have a comment discussion with Amy, and I had an excellent opportunity to learn more about the direction of my spiritual journey into atheism.

          Spent the morning watching the documentary, The God Who Wasn’t There, for the second time. I am coming into a firmer concept of the non-theism I believe strongly in. It’s looking more like strong agnosticism, with a bent toward a personal belief that although deities may exist for others, I don’t believe in a God. I do believe in the overarching human spirit. I believe in the greatness humanity can achieve following the noblest qualities we seek in religion. I find that I have an anger at the Abrahamic faiths, one which is irrationally fear-based. I should be neutral about it.
          However, I’m not going to deny that when I read secular humanist and rationalist literature, I am awakened to inner truths I believe with all of me. I definitely do not believe in a discrete God. The possibility of the gnostic greater unknowable? I have no idea. Things happen which are inexplicable to me. I have learned things which, as a pure skeptic, I have to deny on the grounds of having strong atheist convictions. This doesn’t halt me from seeking out naturalist solutions, but the unknowable is unknowable. I cannot simply come up with the easy answer–that people who have close spiritual relationships with deities which cannot be proved or disproved are delusional–because I feel it is equally ignorant to accept it blindly as to discredit it blindly.
          This is a fascinating quandary, one I feel fortunate to experience at this time in my life. In my early thirties, I sought religion for community. Feeling deeply connected to Judaism (I have NO idea why, yet I have since I was a teenager), I sought it out and was rejected. I was told becoming a Noahite was pretty-much my only option according to the rabbi I spoke with. I abandoned my search for community and gave up on the hope of community and spirituality. It is out there, though without a deity for me. I feel safer and saner without God. I feel more hopeful that without a grand design, the beauty of human beings generation after generation choosing to direct the world to an enlightened place where things like Mars landers can exist. Today, I drove a car that creative human beings over time developed the scientific principles to create. Now, we take cars for granted. While I drove on the freeway (another tour de force of the human intellect and creative drive), I drove past the airport and saw an airplane taking off for who-knows-where. Humanity had the desire but not the science to fly for a very long time; today, we take air travel for granted. Personally, I don’t know since when people have wanted to fly, but I am sure a historian out there does. And the design has changed since I took my first flight, which is exciting, because it’s an evolving process to create a better, well, mousetrap. Or in this case, aeroplane.
          I like that I get to enjoy research, though I have a stack of 30 books on atheism, agnosticism, theism, and religion. Well, and crochet, because it relaxes me–though I haven’t crocheted recently. I should pick up sticks again, for it’s a lovely pastime for fingers that could very easily turn to trigger foods–as they once did.
          Well, the trail is being taken up. Things I want to put my food-plan given clarity toward in an effort to recover.
          Oh, but before I do that? I have a confession. I didn’t go to group because it’s reading Seeking the Spiritual Path. Honestly, just hearing the word, “God”, triggers anger. I had no experience, strength, or hope to offer the group on Wednesday. However, the mini-meeting this morning with Amy in the comments box has helped me, and I am going to make an effort to attend a meeting before next Wednesday then pick up Wednesday meeting–even with the book which talks about God.
          So, back to recovery goals:
         
          (1) Get into Step Two mentality. It’s time I look for a Higher Power, and I see that I clearly am narrowing down a power greater than myself in the wonder of the spirit of human creativity. I can come to believe a power greater than myself can restore me to sanity, because I am finding the resources to bring this to fruition. Once I have identified that Higher Power, I can take action on Step Three;
          (2) For Step Three, I believe that I want to use a human level transference object. Maybe a crocheted amigurumi therapist. Who knows? I’m pretty sure the cranes idea is probably the best at this point;
          (3) Time to re-evaluate my trigger foods and trigger actions;
          (4) Use what I have from my Fourth Step Inventory already after I have gotten through Steps One through Three;
          (5) Read and learn.
         
          My name is Jess and I am eating disordered–compulsive overeater and anorexic–and toxic love disordered–compulsively obsessed with toxic love and social/emotional anorexic. Things are, indeed, getting better. Is this something acting upon my life? If it is, that’s nice. However, I just don’t see a consciousness acting on the world. I find that relieving, that nothing is looming. Yes, it also means nothing is watching over me, but the bad that happens to good people . . . it overwhelms me to consider it.

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Responses

  1. LOVE! LOVE! LOVE! 🙂 I don’t know if you’ll like this or not, but I prayed about you and our “conversation” from yesterday. You just were so great for me and you really did a lot for me. I think we are doing a lot of searching for same things but looking in different places. I’m working on my food addiction, too. It seems harder to me than an addiction to alcohol or cigarettes. I have to have food. When I quit smoking, I didn’t have to have them to live. But we can help each other along the way! As soon as I have some time I do plan on doing some reading on some of the things you have mentioned as well. Thanks, Jess. I hope you have an awesome day!

    • It’s fine. The intent was to make a human connection across the miles while respecting anonymity. And you told me, which lets me know you took precious time out of your life to focus on offering kindness–twice! (Once in prayer; once telling me you did).

      You’re helping me a lot. I’ve found a lot of compassionate secularist books to read. I observe the new atheism is scaring their religious counterparts by using the same tactics of proselytizing to save people. Yes, the religious people want to save souls and the atheists want to save the human spirit of innovation and compassion, but it’s about the same. Even though moderates of every belief seem to annoy the fringe hard-liners? We’re not looking to go to war as moderates. We just want peace and the evolution of society into a kinder and compassionate world.

      As for addictions? I don’t think I’ve ever met a twelve-stepper with only one. We have a primary (mine is the toxic love) and other addictions to keep us from distracting us from it (mine are food, smoking–though I use the vapor ones now–and caffeine–which I’ve been cutting by using decaffeinated alternatives). I did drink heavily in college, but I put down the bottle to the point I will drink one serving of alcohol–a 12-oz. beer or an ounce of liquor) probably once every month, if that. I used to binge spend on chatchki stuff, but I consider purchases for a few days or more, now–and I don’t buy from China because of my personal views on their human rights violations . . . and that they keep poisoning the pet food supply, which does not make me trust what they do to the exported human food supply. Oh, and the lead in the paint on kids’ toys and the cadmium on the kids’ jewelry (which is more expensive than cheap pot metal by a lot). Of course, that’s my personal strongly-held belief that I see the Made in China label more as a Caveat Emptor label.

    • I have struggled with acceptance over the many paths to recovery, and I am now finding peace and inspiration from people, no matter how it is sourced. Thank you for being among the people who showed me that God has a place in the universe for many, and that directed guidance for some makes a difference in everyone’s lives–no matter what we believe. There is room in reality for all of us, for all beliefs. All are true in some manner or another, and it’s okay. We are a world of unity with diversity, all able to learn from each other the means to live a rich and fulfilled life. Your spirituality and compassion is inspirational. Thank you for taking your precious time to focus on the well-being of another person. That is the humanity we should aspire to, and I am humbly grateful that your actions are teaching me that is a character asset I want to practice in daily recovery.

      • Thank you for saying that, hon! I sure needed that today. I think God makes us all uniquely different and that is a gift. We each have something beautiful to offer each other. You have such a kindness and caring in you that I love. I think you are also very intuitive. I appreciate that. I have had you on my mind lately and wondered how you were. Your journey has been inspirational.


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