Monday, July 12, 2010

July Resolution #5:Be Less Aloof from the Divine

“You should forget about knowing the Friend unless
you are willing to kiss the world with
great abandon.” –Rumi

(Apropos of nothing, is there any better typing music than LCD Soundsystem’s “This is Happening”?)

It feels like a coming out every time I say it: it turns out, I’m a pretty deeply religious person. I love being a member of the Unitarian Society of Germantown. (On top of being all welcoming and lovey-dovey, they are a great audience for poems…) I love singing hymns. When I make friends at church, I get so giddy that I end up telling them everything. I love that my church has a sign on the front that says “Standing on the side of LOVE.”

Here’s what Unitarians believe:

• The inherent worth and dignity of every person;
• Justice, equity and compassion in human relations;
• Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations;
• A free and responsible search for truth and meaning;
• The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large;
• The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all;
• Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.

But my relationship status with religion is still “It’s complicated.” Like many Unitarians, I grew up Catholic. When I was about 14 (Just confirmed, I guess.), Catholicism just stopped making sense to me. It wasn’t a political decision; it just didn’t seem to add up.

The thing that bothers me about most religions is the idea that life on earth is not the real life, that we need to be waiting for something better. I needed a religion that loves life, this life that I’m typing in. When I started visiting the Unitarian society in Syracuse and saw that they had readings from Emma Goldman and hymns that were Robert Frost poems, that made sense to me. I liked to sit in their Frank Lloyd Wright-esque sanctuary and think about how I’m not separate from nature.

Another thing that gives me the heebie-jeebies about religion is the idea that one person can know what another person should do with his or her soul. There’s a lady at USG who can’t hide her exasperation that my atheist wife stays home and watches Caprica on Sunday mornings. Lady, that isn’t “acceptance of one another.”!

Maybe I over-correct for individualism. Even thought I get elated when I have a chance to invite a friend to church with me, I don’t invite them, because I’d never want anyone to think for one second that I didn’t think he or she had a PERFECT relationship to his or her soul already. (That’s right, if you’re my friend, I secretly think you’re perfect and know what you’re doing.)

So I’m not sure how to be less aloof from God. Let’s try a list:

1. Be in nature.
2. Make time for the people with whom my soul is in love.
3. Chant om namah shivaya.
4. Sing
5. Make friends at church.

What else?


  1. Jane, there is no better ANYTHING music than "This Is Happening." It's been in my car CD player for like... a month, it's absolutely preposterous. Also I like this post a lot.