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  • Writer's pictureCynthia Cebuhar

When I'm asked

Sunday Sharing

Austin is interesting. Our waiter at a local cafe was wearing some subtle medals. My son noticed...its always great to share with fellow Pagans, especially when I'm asked about my experiences with interfaith, religion, and spirituality.

And we did eventually order breakfast, after exchanging business cards, and it was delicious!

I like what Terry Tempest Williams writes about this. She asks, "What is the difference between a religious life and a spiritual one?"

"Religion brings us into community with a shared set of beliefs, symbols, and songs. We can choose to be internally engaged or not. The religion goes forward whether we are present or not. The rules are written. Those in authority tell us what to do. It is, for the most part, comfortable and supportive. We are known. We belong to a congregation and we are taught to worship a creed 'the result and fruit of many minds . . . . Purified from all the oddities, shortcomings, and flaws of individual experience.' We learn compliance, cooperation, and sacrifice. We can bask in the warmth of feeling part of an organism that knows its place in the world.

Spirituality is solitary. Its companion is conflict, a gnawing at the soul that cannot be ignored. We are engaged. There are no rules. There are no maps. We live with the discomfort and ambiguity of our own authority. At times, it is lonely, often informed by pain. On other occasions, it is the body submerged in a phosphorescent tide, every movement sparking a trail of illumination. Afterwards, we sit on the shore in moonlight. No candles are necessary. Spirituality exists when we are present, buoyed up by the waters of attention. We learn courage of faith. It is a peace that is earned. We can take solace in the heat of doubt knowing this is the pulse of poetry."

May we find peace in our seeking.

Blessed be.

Excerpt from Leap by Terry Tempest Williams


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