Saturday, May 25, 2013

My son's first communion

My youngest son had his first communion in the Catholic Church. I am a Buddhist, but I believe learning about other traditions isn't bad, and that my sons will choose their paths.

I’ve always felt that I wouldn’t oppose my ex’s bringing of my son into her tradition. Tolerance and even celebration of other traditions is important to me. She wasn’t so into the church when we were together, but that might have been in deference to me.

My only fear is the culture of shaming present in some religions, but I can’t claim my own spiritual community is absent of that. I feel secure in my spiritual tradition, therefore I am happy for kids to learn another. I will teach them what I feel is appropriate about mine. I have done that.

I had many thoughts during the Catholic mass. The children looked so cute. I love bringing families and community together. The rituals were very evocative for me.

I loved the rituals and efforts to evoke spiritual feelings, the rapture and joy of connecting with the transcendental. I wondered though if it’s dualistic to create spiritual, because then it creates non-spiritual, or mundane. I think spirituality is everywhere and nowhere. Do we really need to try to be spiritual?

But then I thought it’s more about community in church, shared efforts, or in Buddhism, sangha. Gathering together in shared spiritual goals. The rituals are intense--taking in the body of Christ, into your body, becoming one. You can feel how the rituals are designed to foster intensity. I honestly don’t feel a connection with Jesus beyond the human Jesus. I can admire him and see why others see him as their spiritual hero, but I just don’t feel that. The concept of God does not make sense to me, and I don’t have a felt sense of it either.

I spent my time translating things into something I understand; my higher power, as I understand it, or a common spirituality that is independent of any sect or even religion, the transcendental. I like the desire to improve ourselves, a non-materialist appreciation of what life gives. There are so many forces in our society pulling us towards accumulation of things. But what really makes us happy is experiences, connecting with others, to take a spiritual journey is real fulfillment.

No me falta means “I shall not want.” It feels Buddhist in it’s pointing out that our desires create our unrest, and not wanting is a kind of good place to be.

The preist crossed his head, his mouth and his heart, and I thought “body, speech and mind.”

I thought about the emphasis on “other power”. I’ve come to appreciate that, but I still like self-power and community power, that feels more real to me. I am willing to strive for the personification of an ideal, to merge with a spiritual hero, or archetype.

I think what I object to most is the hard sell, the primordial marketing that says I have to accept someone else’s revelation, that this is the only one true religion. But there does seem to be some recognition that we need to test it in our own experience.

There is anger towards me for divorcing my ex, as I sat amongst the family, and so even as they preach forgiveness and embracing people, I felt the icy shoulders, even the restraint as they reached out and shook my hand. It’s a high aspiration to really forgive people who have hurt you. I can’t blame them; I was not skillful at times during the divorce. I could feel them trying to be forgiving. I felt remorse at hurting them, I missed being part of the family.

My ex-mother-in-law has been nothing but kindness and has been gracious towards me. I thought about how I used to judge her high spirituality as a symptom of her powerlessness as an immigrant. But today I just felt like she’s awesome. I really respect her. She does exemplify the ideals I admire in her tradition. And a beautiful tradition it is.

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