Building Your Spiritual Home

Companions on the Road

Wherever we are on our journey, our beliefs and behaviors are embedded in the network of our relationships. We usually try to find friends who agree with us, help us to be comfortable with who we are. And if we change, this is likely to be reflected in changes in our network. I look at the therapists I have chosen, and can read the history of my relationship to myself as it evolved. I chose my first therapist, Dr S. from three that I interviewed. I chose her because she was the only one who seemed not to like me. She seemed stern and I figured she wouldn’t let me get away with anything. She was very helpful, but I always felt her as unloving. After a stint in the Army, I chose a second therapist. Dr N. seemed to like me all right and that was okay by then. My third therapist, Dr B., felt like a good and loving friend. One could say I was getting better. One could blame it on the good therapy I was getting, or on other changes in my life.

A similar progression occurred in communities of worship. When our children came, we tried a local temple recommended by family. We were very unhappy with the materialism and lack of compassion we felt there. After five years, we finally quit, and felt much more comfortable in our downwardly mobile, very tolerant, very liberal Unitarian Universalist Church. It supported a search for God, rather than any particular path. This environment supported our non-hierarchical relationship with our children, our efforts to avoid the materialism of the culture, and our general openness about our feelings and our life. And in supporting our lifestyle, it also helped us move further in our chosen direction.

In 1982 I helped form a men’s group that continued for 19 years. We could discuss our families, our relationships, and our style of interacting. We tended to be honest, confrontative, helpful. But it was not a place where we discussed spiritual questions or yearnings. After it broke up, its place was taken by a small therapist group interested in reading about spiritual therapy, and also a group of psychics eager to share extra-ordinary experience and to support each other in this pursuit. Both of these new groups supported my own changing interest, from the world of relationships to our relationships with the transcendent.

In general, we are likely to find ourselves attracted to a different set of friends as we evolve. We need to seek support, information and encouragement that fits with our own evolution.

I would also like to mention individuals who have offered not just support, but leadership along the path. Everett, a rabbi, helped me to fall in love with the natural world around us and to find God there. Ward, a minister, suggested transcendental meditation before I had even heard of it. He also introduced me and my wife to creation spirituality, which had a huge impact on our world view. Rick, an old friend, arranged a life-changing psychic reading, and gave me my first deck of Tarot cards. And Mary, my minister and spiritual advisor, helped me to move miles further in my spiritual quest. And of course, my wife, with whom I feel like I share a common mind and a common path through life.

All these people, and many others, have led me along the path. My main contribution was that I was often seeking ideas, feedback and suggestions. I was asking for help. And, more important, I was willing to try something new. I took risks.

1) Think of three people who have most affirmed and supported you in life.
2) Think of three people you have affirmed and supported.
3) Do you have a community of faith? Does it support you and your growth?
How?
4) Do you have other affiliations that support you?

 

CHAPTERS

GET A LIFE
THE JOY OF A DEPRESSED MOTHER
OPENING MANY DOORS
GETTING COMFORTABLE WITH ANGER
THE PATH OF MEDITATION
GIVING UP CONTROL
MARRIAGE AS A CHANGE AGENT
STRUCTURES THAT SUPPORT LIFE
VERMONT AND NATURE
TO HELL WITH DIGNITY
COMPANIONS ON THE ROAD
DOUBLE VISION
WHAT SHAPES LIFE
DISMANTLING SELF
TOLERATING GOD’S LOVE
MAKING FRIENDS WITH GOD

 

 

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