On the origins of faith

I do apologize for stepping out of the spiritual realm and taking you along on a brief psycho-therapeutic journey, but ... well ... sometimes you can't do one without the other; Welwood, in fact, insists they're inseparable.

Anyway, further exploration into yesterday's dilemma has revealed some issues around loneliness and aloneness and going it alone that are both an integral aspect of growing up as an only child AND an integral part of my spiritual journey.  And those issues tend to surface around conflict.

We only children don't do conflict very well; I think it may be scarier for us than for the rest of the world, because our conflicts, when we're growing up, tend for the most part to be with our parents, people much larger and more powerful than we are.  Which means, if we do risk arguing or expressing anger, our punishment usually has to do with being left alone, sent to bed without our supper, or some variation on that theme.

Which, I suspect, has something to do with the origins of my faith: I have this sense that my awareness of God arose very early in life, as something to comfort me during times of abandonment.  There's more to it now, of course, but that, I think, is the root of my faith -- this sense of aloneness and abandonment, and the longing for someone to care for, feed, and comfort me.

Which, I suppose, turns it into a bit of a chicken and egg problem: did God appear in my life because God exists and watches over his/her children?  Or did I manufacture God as a way of coping?  I, of course, assume the former -- largely because that sense of Someone caring for me and walking with me has stayed with me over the years, sometimes as a felt sense and often in the form of surprising or startling coincidences. At this point, it almost doesn't matter if God pre-existed my longing; if that Source comes from without or within.  What matters is that faith exists, and sometimes surfaces, just as feelings of loneliness and abandonment exist and sometimes surface.  They're not always connected, but certainly some connection exists.

So, after exploring that for a bit this morning, it's intriguing to look more closely at this image that emerged yesterday afternoon.  It's a compilation of five separate images: one of city lights, two of the Seattle Center fountain, and two bar scenes.  So there's darkness, and loneliness -- two very separate individuals, each very much alone -- and, at the same time, lots of lights and a fountain.  And then there are those curious horses, galloping across the center stage, and that chemical overlay, which feels like something is draining out of the image...  And, oh, look -- isn't there a flag at half-mast up there?

Woof.  That's a lot going on.  But I think I'll just leave it at that, and not bother to interpret except to say I find hope in the balance of it, in the light and the colors, in the complexity of it and in the fountain.  Not everything has to be, or needs to be, or even will be resolved in one image, or in one argument, or in one therapy session or meditation.  Life's complicated, and yet the issues are often at heart very simple.  And I'm willing to live with that.

It's all good.


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