How I did it: Finding a spiritual path to suit me was a lengthy journey of self-reflection, clarifying of my moral and theological beliefs, experimentation and mental broadening.
It took eight years of examining and testing out different religions and spiritual paths before I finally found one that truly called to me; it was another two years before I actually committed myself. It will most likely be another decade before I consider myself anything other than a neophyte.
In addition I've also sought out a supplemental religious community, as the path I've chosen is somewhat isolated. Read how I did it… 18 months ago
Since the last time I posted I’ve been to the New UU class as well as a few more services. The class was helpful; I have a much better sense of what the larger UU organization as well as this particular community are like.
I still like the general layout of the services. The physical contact is still jarring, but it’s much better now that I know to brace myself for it. I’ve also been looking at getting my bike fixed up and cutting out the need for a bus entirely. We’ll see.
I love the fact that they have literally dozens of programs to suit a wide variety of interests. I’m going out of town next weekend, but I think I’ll start to look into them when I get back. 19 months ago
Due to the fact I’m directionally challenged, my first service at the Unitarian Universalist church was two days ago, not last week like originally planned.
Positive Impressions: with light brown brickwork, lots of glass and a great view of the encircling trees the church itself was lovely. You really can’t tell that it’s at the crossroads of two of the biggest streets in the county. The service was different than I’m used to (good thing) and I liked the sermon. The people I talked to were friendly.
Negative Impressions: WAY too touchy-feely (literally). There was an excessive (i.e. any) amount of handshaking and hand-holding. I DON’T like physical contact, especially with strangers, and that was really uncomfortable. Also, Sunday bus schedules make getting home a tedious process with lengthy waits at various stops. Not a good thing now that the weather’s turning.
Bonus Points: the seats were comfortable (rcc ones are designed to knock off a few years in purgatory so this was a pleasant surprise).
Double Bonus Points: they have a LABYRINTH!!!!
Overall the first impressions are positive but with a few drawbacks that I’ll have to try to find a way to get a round (or get used to) if I decide UU is right for me. I’ve signed up for a class for newcomers this Saturday and will hopefully have a better feel for this afterwards. 20 months ago
In February I began exploring yet another spiritual path. Every other faith I have felt out has given me a little niggling sense of “not right, not right” from the get go that became more and more persistent until I gave up and moved on.
That didn’t happened this time.
So I think I have finally found a faith that I can grow into. There’s just one problem…
Roman Catholics make up almost a quarter of America. In comparison, all forms of paganism lumped together constitute maybe 0.3% and my tentatively chosen niche makes up a rather tiny portion of that fraction of a percent. Gettogethers with others are limited to around a dozen people once a month or so (if my schedule permits me to go).
In short, I find I rather miss the community that I used to have. I’ve been looking for something to replace it with and I think I’ve found it.
I’ve looked into Unitarian Universalism in the past; I agree with their principles and like the sound of them overall but it never seemed to be something that would be spiritually fulfilling all by itself. Something more was needed. Now that I’ve found the needed more I’ve looked them up again.
There’s a UU congregation a few miles from here; I thought I’d attend one of their services today. As a bonus, it’s the start of a new church year and a class for newcomers to UU begins in a fortnight.
I’ll see how it goes. 20 months ago
In the ten years since leaving the Roman Catholic Church I’ve been trying to find a religion/spiritual path that would suit me. I’d read a couple of books, ponder about it for a while and then take the first few tentative steps of becoming a practitioner. However, no matter what I tried there has always been a niggling sensation of not-quite-right.
First it was Wicca. The theory sounded good but in practice I couldn’t manage anything without feeling silly. I also couldn’t shake the feeling that it was an “invented” religion. I love old things and truly want to find a faith with centuries/millennium of practices behind them. So I gave this up, although I still celebrate the wheel of the year and am much more aware of lunar cycles.
I decided to stick with paganism for a while and began to look into reconstructionist religions. I looked to my ancestry for guidance and investigated Asatru, Heathenry and other forms of Germanic paganism. All of these were a bit to “gung-ho” for me so I gave them a pass. I’m still glad I looked into it as I read the Eddas for the first time and have a much better sense of what my ancient ancestors believed.
Buddhism was next. I took the belief-o-matic quiz and both the Theravada and Mahayana schools of Buddhism were in my top five so I decided to look into it (Roman Catholicism was 26th out of 27th). This was definitely the best fit for me so far; out of all of the codes of conduct (ten commandments, nine noble virtues, etc) the Eightfold Path is the only one that completely works for me. Still, something didn’t click.
There were a few other religions I looked into briefly (society of friends, druidism) but none of them sparked enough interest for a serious look.
This brings me up to around two years ago. 2 years ago