As much as I love organization, I’m not a big fan of organized religion. I hope you don’t take offense; I know many love the church. But I struggle with churches that:
- Dictate behavior.
- Outlive the usefulness of their traditions.
- Make you feel bad about yourself (“We are all sinners.”)
- Offer false kindness.
- Make a promise that you’ll be “saved” if you just follow their rules.
- Ask you to say prescribed prayers.
- Have corrupt leaders who can’t be questioned.
- Act as an intermediary between you and the greater Universe.
- Make you feel out-of-place if you don’t dress a certain way.
- Fight to the death with those who worship a different way.
- Think their god is the “right” god or the only god.
- Are exclusive, secretive, or discriminatory.
- Have only male leaders.
- Take money from people who can’t afford it.
- Spend more money on flowers or the building over community projects.
But there are many things I love and think we can learn from the oldest religions. These are things we can bring into our secular lives to help us thrive, do good work, and be happy.
- Take time each week to be quiet and reflective.
- Take time daily or weekly to pray or meditate, to connect and be reverential to the greater powers around you.
- Take care of and be involved at a heart-level with your community; be there when someone in your community needs help.
- Fast a couple of times a year.
- Feast a couple of times a year!
- Be kind to your neighbors and to complete strangers; be welcoming and inclusive.
- Spend time with a connected group – especially if you get to sing!
- Take time to ponder the bigger questions of the Universe; to read, learn, and be inspired.
- Find people who accept you the way you are; find a place you can always come home to.
- Be accountable for your actions – every day.
- Tithe – give money to the best charities to do their best work.
- Ring bells.
- Light candles.
Sending you the peace of the Universe on a cold evening from the rocky coast of Maine. No picture tonight. I’m not going outside again until it’s above 20 :).
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