More spiritual, less religious, and more freer
To speak of religion is to speak of a part of human culture, of the submission and guidance of the courageous spirit that has accompanied us since we showed our light to the world, in the face of something superior, regulated by religious dogmas, with external forms of control for something that is internal.
Normally, it is associated with one another as a proven equation. However, there is not always a correspondence between religiosity and spirituality, even though a kind of sine qua nonlink has been created between both. To me, religions are cages that trap the free in the human being to keep it in control with man-made notions of Good/Bad, Heaven/Hell, and a ruthless and punishing God who is "attentive" to the actions of beings on earth.
This week's question motivates us to penetrate our memory network to locate experiences of a spiritual nature in which we have experienced the inner power we have when we connect with the universal Spiritual Energy, a matter we achieve from different starting points, among them, religion as a way to perceive and express our faith.
This is manifested by the @ecotrain in the following way:
It's been a long time since we have had an esoteric question of the week, but it is time! This week we ask you to share a story that you feel was a spiritual experience. I leave it to you to decide what you feel is spiritual, and indeed what spiritual even means. These experiences can be a small simple thing, or a great happening or event, it matters not. What matters is how it affected you, and what changes came from it. We can of course call every experience we have a spiritual experience, but maybe there is that extra special one that you would like to share.
At this point, I would like to clarify that I have witnessed and participated in great changes in me since the spiritual experience that marked me and subjected me to a change in the vision of life as I conceived it.
I grew up in a Catholic faith home. My parents practiced their religion with the conviction that it was the right way to serve and please God. Most of all, my father attended their Sunday Mass every week.
As a child, I was struck by the fact that he did not enter the church, hearing the mass from the door, with his military suit and kepis under his arm. Instead, my mother did not go, but sent us, her children, while she did the housework.
"God squeezes, but does not hang"
We lived in a small town in eastern Venezuela and it was easy to follow Catholic religious routines, matters that at my young age I perceived as empty, without substance, because I did not see how the temple could be the home of an omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent God. For me, it was too big to be enclosed within four walls.
As a child, I never had religious arguments with my father, but I did with my mother, because I perceived in her a kind of fanaticism, without any arguments, only blind obedience, and it never suited me to be obedient without a valid basis of respect.
I remember that when I told my mother that the Pope was a common human being who was not to be worshipped or treated in a special way, she told me that I was saying heresies and that God was going to punish me. I never understood how God could punish someone for presenting his ideas.
I made my first communion at the age of ten and took indoctrination as a stage to share games with other children in different circumstances. I feel that apart from the continuous recitation of a series of prayers, I did not learn anything that I had not learned before by reading illustrated books based on the Bible that my father had in his personal library.
Reflecting on this, after becoming an adult, I came to the conclusion that Catholics do not have a spiritualist formation as such and not even a directed approach to the Holy Scriptures, since they only deal with fragments chosen by the priest, apart, did not feel that a priest was worthy of being an authorized confidant for children who had nothing to say as sins.
So much so, that after making my first communion, I never again felt it necessary to "confess" that I was living what any child of my age would live and that I was no longer a practitioner, I felt I was in agreement with it so as not to enter into silly conflicts.
Even today, I still participate from time to time in religious events such as baptisms, weddings, and Dad's annual funeral mass, but I still think that despite being a religion that boasts of being the "real thing," it is farther than others from being a spiritual growth stimulant. I respect everyone's religious beliefs, but I feel that the more we penetrate into ourselves seeking God within, the closer we will be to Him.
"If you don't hear It, you feel It"
As my parents' aging process began, after his mid-fifties, I guess I had only one fear that paralyzed my heart and that was that my father would die. I don't know why, but my soul suspected that he would go first, even though he was healthier than my mother, until he got heart disease after sixty.
My father was not only my hero, but my support and guide. His word was law and his infinite love for each of his children moved in us, his five children, a kind of close connection to worship that my mother took care to accentuate because she practically nullified herself by exalting him.
The year before my father died, I had a revelation that shook my being. He had had a pacemaker inserted into his heart a year before and it worked out very well, apparently.
It was December 2000 and my dad insisted on wanting to travel to spend Christmas at my older brother's house, located in a mountain village about two hours away from our city, on the condition that I would drive there, since he wanted to be my first co-pilot on the road since I had never dared to drive out of town.
The night before the departure, my fear of taking the road was making me want to call Dad to let him know that I didn't want to go and a voice in my head said, "This is the last year you will have it.. I was shocked, but I gave up on this possibility out of reality because Dad had no other disease than being helped by a pacemaker to normalize his heartbeat. But, the fear of losing him was stronger than the fear of driving on the national highway and we left.
We spent Christmas Eve and Christmas with the family, enjoying the delights of the countryside.However, my fear of the revelation made me watch him more closely, so I was the one who noticed his behavior was strange, his empty stare indicated that something was not right in his head, I found a very fine bottle of whiskey next to his bed and we were alarmed because he was forbidden to drink alcohol.
He was not reacting and as we could, we mounted him in the back of the car, totally absent, and we left to look for help towards the city. We took him to the Clinic's Emergency Room where his Cardiologist and a Gastroenterologist Internist who was on duty saw him and told us that he thought it was liver toxicity encephalitis. While he was at the Clinic Observation, he reacted and got better, but his doctor told him "Lamb, those were the last drinks you had" and he replied: "Doctor, but you told me I could drink 18-year-old whisky". And the doctor replied: "I told you that you could have one drink, no more than one and less than half a bottle"
In April 2001, it became complicated by kidney and liver failure and he was hospitalized for several days, struggling between life and death. In the meantime, my connection with my inner voice became very intense, he was directing me, indicating me how to obtain more spiritual strength to give him the strength to fight for the extension of his life, for a miracle; he was indicating me fasts, moments of accompaniment with his hands in mine, moments of solitude, concentration and recollection to pray for him and the restoration of the functioning of his organs.
And, without words, each of us was given spiritual guidance adapted to our beliefs and forms of expression. But, the treating physician told us that we had gone into denial because Dad was dying. So my mother requested that he be allowed to return home to die in peace.
And, there the miracle occurred, Dad recovered and the doctor went to see him at home, surprised that he was still alive.
In August, he decided to go to the Military Hospital in the Capital to be treated by other doctors so that people would not say, "Little lamb didn't do everything in his power to save himself.
But, there he got worse again, his organs failed again, his kidneys did not work anymore, the dialysis weakened his heart even more and one night after a month spent there, he died three times suffocating with fluid in his lungs and then he revived.
The next day, we asked that he be allowed to go home and an ambulance arrived despite the fact that the Medical Board's prognosis was that he would die on the track. And, once again, he left death on the road and came back to live with us, on peritoneal dialysis, but lucid, consciously fighting opportunistic diseases such as herpes on the face, typical of a lowered immune system.
When he regained consciousness, I asked him anxiously to gain me first-hand information about what it is that one feels, hears, or sees during the transit through death and he answered: "Nothing", which sowed a certainty in me, we don't go anywhere when we die, we stay in the form of energy for a relative time and then... it seems that we join the Universal Energy, but that is still not clear to me.
The days of concentration, prayer, and intermittent fasting were passing and he was seeing better and better. He chopped up his cake his 65th birthday cake on October 19, 2001, against all odds saying, "My desire is no secret, my desire is for union", and all of us were happy and grateful for the miracle of having him by our side.
But, on the night of the 25th of that same month and year, his soul flew in silence with the moon. A heart attack at one o'clock in the morning closed his eyes for the last time and he fell asleep forever and flew, flew very high to its encounter with eternity, and my heart was not comforted for long. This made me assimilate that life and death are essentially the same, today we are and tomorrow, not... that simple.
For many days, I had a connection with him. He said he didn't want to leave, but when the Supreme called, he had to go. He thanked us for the time we spent together and said he would always be by our side. He asked that we give mom a chance to grow up like we did with him. And just as he did with me, he did with my brothers. Not with my mother, she became afraid of him, the same fear she has of death.
However, his death left such a sorrow in me that I don't fear death, but rather I fear life without him, but even that happened. Her death unleashed my fears and I never had them anymore, so I became riskier, stronger, more sensitive, more spiritual, less religious, and more freer.