The past couple of weeks have been filled with a need for ‘being’. Being what I’m not really sure. My adult life has been filled with experiences of different paths. Each was an exciting adventure, but eventually the excited faded as the new wore off. Recently I’ve pondered if you can ever really go back to your roots after you have experimented with so many different ideas. Can you ever truly move away from the belief system in which you were born? Can you take the new ideas of what you have learned, and apply them to your roots? I don’t have definitive answers to these questions, but I’m thinking YES you can, or at least I can.
In my original Christian roots, I learned of God. I have never questioned the existence of God, but I have questioned Christianity’s approach to a relationship with him, and their characterization of whom and what he is. Christianity teaches that God is perfect and unchanging, but that description doesn’t match the God that is introduced in the Bible. In the Old Testament, we have a God that is angry and uses cruel punishments as a means to being worshiped. Images fill your head of an old man with a white beard sitting on a throne, casting lightning bolts on anyone who disobeys. In the New Testament, we have a God that is love. He’s a father figure, and sacrifices his own son for the better good of mankind. So if God never changes, are these two different gods? Christianity also teaches that God is in control of everything. Every action is the will of God. Thousands of people killed in a natural disaster, or a child brutally murdered doesn’t sound like the will of a loving God to me. Thus creates the confusion of God.
While studying paganism I learned of a different God: a God that is in all things, all people. We can connect to him through nature. If he created everything, surely everything contains a part of him. I find a piece of the divine in every living animal, every living plant, the sun, the moon, and the wind. When I stand on a hill and feel the breeze blow across my body, and the sun warm my face, I know I am in the presence of God. It’s at these times I don’t need a brick and mortar church to connect. All I need is my back yard, the beauty of my flowers and pond, some incense to offer, and I am fulfilled.
But what about the other hours of the week that I can’t just sit in my back yard? How do I deal with the drama and stress of the normal day? Rude people, rush hour traffic, ego-driven bosses, and environment killing corporations are enough to put me over the edge some days. That’s where Buddhism comes in. Through Buddhism I learn to slow my brain down. I learn to live in this moment. I can take charge of the things I can control, recognize the things I can’t control, and be at peace with the beauty of nature I found as a pagan. I can be at one with myself and God.
In my spiritual journeys, I have found that God is the universe. He is the energy of life that flows through all people. Interbeing. We are all connected to each other, and we are all connected to God. God does change because we change him. If everything is connected, my actions, and others’ actions, surely affect God. He wasn’t a one time creator; he continually creates himself and us. And we continually create him. It’s in these moments of interbeing that I truly connect with God.
So am I a Buddhist Christian, or a Christian Buddhist?