Groundedness: different means to an end
Despite the fact (or perhaps because) I grew up in the Bible Belt of the U.S., I’ve never been a religious person. I don’t recall ever feeling a single “faithful” bone in my body. Very connected to nature throughout my entire childhood, I simply never felt a need to be inspired or spiritually connected to anything beyond the absolute miracles that abounded in the woods and fields that surrounded my home.
I accept completely that others get that through their religion – yet I’ve felt my fair share of utter frustration with some of the by-products of organized religion, from war-related bloodshed to polarized politics, which have made me turned off of it most of my life. When I hear people bring up the simple word, “god”, I feel triggers going off in me that I can’t easily shut down.
Perhaps until now.
This week, I made a trip “home” to visit my parents and just be a daughter for a week. Taking a break from being spouse, mother, and even friend, has been a restorative experience. It got off to a good start, when during my last leg of the flight, the deeply religious woman from Texas sitting next to me used the term “god” numerous times without me feeling turned off. She actually didn’t make reference to her deep faith until fairly far into the conversation, which gave me enough time to notice how grounded, sincere, loving, happy and unfaltering she was. In essence she gave full credit of all of this to her Christian God. Astounding as this always is to me, I “got it” better than I ever have before and even related to her like I didn’t know I could.
And that is because I’ve been practicing something new to me, which is mindfulness and meditation. I’ve enjoyed a sense of groundedness, self-control, steadfastness, patience and happiness thanks to my daily practice. I’m guessing that there’s very little difference between this and her practice of prayer. She puts her faith primarily outside of herself, and I’m learning to put more faith inside of myself, but the results are remarkably similar.
In the meantime, I’m enjoying that “outside faith” I always have . . . this week tears sprang to my eyes at the sight of bright red cardinals and squirrels (neither of which I see in the Netherlands!) playing amidst the tulip poplar giants in my childhood environment. I’ve never felt more grounded.