Friday, August 5, 2011

Awakening from the Dream of Everyday Life, part 1

Our world, and our lives, continue to evolve in ways that awaken us from the dream of everyday life.

In our lifetimes, we have witnessed old beliefs and old ways of seeing wither and fall away. There are both good and bad aspects to all of this.

It was not that long ago that we were raised with the assumption that whatever religion or church our parents belonged to would also be the one that we belonged to, except that many of us became dissatisfied with those older models and chose various spiritual paths that looked at life in new ways.

Exact numbers are hard to come by because even the most respected surveys of religions in contemporary America have built in flaws. For example, many surveys used to offer multiple choice answers to the question about what religion you practice. However, when all the choices were mainstream religions, many seekers chose the only box that made sense to them: no religion. Of course, that was not exactly true. Perhaps they followed a kind of religion that was not listed, and so their answer might have been more correctly interpreted as: none of the above.

There were also people who might not choose to answer such surveys who might follow religions that have been derided, harassed or persecuted, such as various forms of shamanism, witchcraft and paganism.

And then there were those who would fall under the rubric of eclectic. There is no name for someone who chooses to use various practices from different spiritual paths because they feel like they work for them. For example, many now do some kind of meditation, chanting, holiday rituals and other practices, without being part of any one religion. Some find their greatest connection to spirit while hiking or sailing a boat. Still others might find ample spiritual rewards in drumming circles, trance dance and poetry readings.

Awakening from the dream of everyday life has everything to do with recognizing our choices, especially choices that we might not have seen before.

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