Over the last few days, since I wrote my post about being godless and criticizing faith, I have been sitting with some pretty rotten feelings.
In the practice of yoga there is a place of growth they refer to as “Sweet Discomfort.” This is the place you go to when you push yourself more than you thought you could but not too much that you will wish you hadn’t. It’s uncomfortable but it’s not painful. It’s challenging without breaking you. It’s that moment when you say, “I want to quit!” but you just stay. You know a new strength, a new experience a new you is on the other side of staying in sweet discomfort. It’s the only way to get stronger.
Well, I created a place of sweet discomfort for myself by exposing my anger, intolerance and self-righteous arrogance. I try, when I write, to capture how it feels to be human, to be emotional, to be troubled and to be present. I had some valid points and some strong feelings when I wrote my last post. But I sinfully savored my bad mood too much. I indulged myself with a nice big cup of superiority. It was wrong, and I’m sorry if I hurt you or made you feel that I am always feeling that judgmental or that critical.
But I must admit that I am deeply conflicted.
I spent my entire childhood steeped in faith. It was a faith so thick you couldn’t see through it. And I’ve spent the last ten years trying to find my way out of the fog. Now that I see clearly I am riddled with anger for being deceived for so long. And I am extremely frustrated by the way I see so many people basing their lives on a concept of God that is problematic.
I do feel at times judgmental, wrongfully so. I feel intolerant. I feel confrontational. And I feel that, when I do say something, it falls on deaf ears. It wells up within me, and I feel the need to shout.
But no one listens to someone who is shouting. No one hears someone who cannot listen.
But I’m glad I wrote the post. It gave a keen awareness to some of my most awful characteristics. Several friends boldly confronted me and helped me see my own attitude. I was forced to sit back and exchange my cup of superiority for a nice, hot slice of sweet uncomfortable humility. And this humility has made me notice things. I’ve put on my listening ears and heard things around me quite differently. Here are a few examples of what I’ve heard.
I heard Cat Stevens sing, “I let my music take me where my heart wants to go,” and I felt humbled for not having been more beautiful with my words instead of ugly.
I flipped on NPR and heard someone say, “You can criticize without tearing down.” Marco gave me a look for that one.
And I heard the characters of Clifford the Big Red Dog talking about respecting other people’s differences. Geez, even a cartoon is nicer than me.
And I’ve been really, really thinking about faith and what makes people believe in a god. I’ve been trying to sit with my anger long enough to let it soften me into a place of understanding.
I might not be there all the way. I’ll admit that this is a struggle. I’ll admit that the PTSD from Christianity is still raw. And I do believe that I have some really valid points for criticizing the concept of God in the Bible. I’m not done talking about that. However, I promise to do so in the future with much more respect and love.
I don’t think this love and respect comes from a god. I do think we all have the capacity for the kind of deep learning that comes from the humility of being in sweet discomfort. We ALL have The Spirit of Truth with us all the time.
Thank you to my dear friends for not letting me stay and pushing me.
I love you, and I’m sorry I was a bit of an ass.