When I go to church and hear the words: “Wherever you are on your spiritual journey, you are welcome here,” I am comforted that I am accepted regardless of my spiritual or religious beliefs, or even lack thereof. I reflect, however, that not all religious institutions I have tested or experienced had originally evoked similar feelings.
In my life of constantly moving in a military family, and later as an adult, I moved 49 times. With each move, my mother’s required church attendance allowed me to experience many Christian denominations, e.g. Catholic, Methodist, Church of Christ, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Lutheran, First Southern Baptist, and many others. After I left home, I skipped church for a long while. A powerful experience led me to Unity Minneapolis, and I began working on my recovery from codependence, drugs, alcohol, isolation, and my addiction to escape.
Soon I found myself travelling the world in search of something. I studied and experienced teachings in Islamic mosques, Jewish temples, Hindu temples, Buddhist temples, India’s ashrams, South American Ayahuasca ceremonies, and even dabbled in being a healer using Sanskrit chants. Back home, I immersed myself in various “New Age” teachings and churches. I am even continuing work on a PhD in Comparative Religions and Metaphysics. I just can’t get enough.
Of all these experiences and teachings, I found myself most comforted by the teachings of Unity and the Egyptian Mystery School. My experiences allowed me to realize, if I went deep enough, that all religions possess the same basic foundation of spiritual beliefs – separated only by each church’s dogma – with “dogma” being defined by Merriam-Webster as “a doctrine or body of doctrines concerning faith and moral formally state and authoritatively proclaimed by a church.” If I keep focus on the foundation beliefs, I can attend almost any church’s services, get past my reactions, and hear profound Truth that aligns with my beliefs. This usually requires a lot of quick translation and metaphysical interpretation, but ultimately I can find comfort in the experience.
Ultimately, I have realized a set of personal beliefs that not only comforts me, but also provides me with the tools to live a joyous life through powerful spiritual and personal growth. I know that my entire life’s path has brought me to this point. My spiritual experiences and study through so many spiritual paths was key to my finding a belief system that works for me – constructed of pieces of each experience.
During the month of August, Unity Minneapolis will be presenting a series on Sacred Wisdom Teachings looking at Judaism, Buddhism, Islam and Hinduism. A key element of Unity is finding that thread of truth in all religions that makes the name “Unity” perfect for this spiritual community. Unity is built on the very basic foundations of spiritual belief that I had sought and found.
I have been asked to facilitate an extension of the Sunday lesson on Sacred Wisdom Teachings covering one of the four Sacred Teachings each week. The first will cover Judaism. These gatherings will consist of discussion and a variety of videos, and perhaps audios, intended to provide an understanding of each religion’s origins, practices,
foundation beliefs, and common misconceptions. We will tie it all up with a discussion on what we have in common, as a church and as individuals, with each religion. I have found my preparation to be fascinating and am selecting the most entertaining videos YouTube, and possibly other sources, have to offer.
I believe that the more clarity we have about how other people and religions view spirituality and a Higher Power(s), the more we can build, fine tune, and strengthen our personal beliefs and how we show up in the world. We can also use these experiences to understand the oneness we share with people of all religions, the agreement in our basic
belief foundations, and world unity that exists right now – despite the daily news and social media commentary.
I’m looking forward to seeing you this Friday, August 11 and the next three Thursdays, August 17, 24, and 31. Each gathering is unique so come to all or just one or two. Share your thoughts, laugh together, learn together, and be open to continue learning more about the foundations of your own beliefs.