Zen Mischief

Belief, Religion and the Esoteric

I have a long-standing interest in religion in its many guises. I have always felt that there is some force which we do not understand and which some people call "god". But I still do not pretend to understand what this force is and I don't necessarily believe this force to be omnipotent or omniscient although it is probably omnipresent. So while I think there may be this force I stop well short of any belief in any supreme god or godess being or beings. Basically I don't do deities; I can marvel at "Nature" quite readily without having to ascribe its existence to some supernatural entity.

I was brought up as an agnostic (maybe even an atheist). As a graduate student I joined the Roman Catholic church but quickly found I was increasingly out of sympathy with much of the church's teachings. Although I found I got a tremendous meditative high from High Church liturgy (and still do, which maybe explains my interest in Early Music) that was no reason to continue with a belief system I felt to be fundamentally flawed – at least fundamentally flawed for me.

This resulted in an interest in, and exploration of, a number of the Eastern religions – especially Buddhism – and later led me to learn Transcendental Meditation.

Consequently I have a long-standing interest in mysticism and comparative religion. My main areas of interest are currently Eastern religion/philosophy, especially Tibetan and Zen Buddhism, Taoism and Shinto.

All of that fits well with my interest in Quantum Physics. Most eastern philosophies, especially Taoism and Buddhism, maintain that all things are interconnected. Current theories in physics, particularly the Grand Unification Theories and Chaos Theory, would also seem to support this theory of interconnectedness of all things.

And then there are the more occult and esoteric belief systems. While these keep poking their heads over the parapet, I have yet to have any serious interaction with them (I don't count the occasional seance as a student during power cuts). For me, while they are interesting, the time is not right for me to investigate them and I am firmly of the view they they will find me if/when the time is right. It seems to me that while these systems can be greatly rewarding for some, they can be dangerous and destructive if not approached correctly. As such I feel that they need to call you, and you should not go looking for them. As one friend expressed it: Wicca calls you; until it does you are not ready for it.

I also maintain a passing interest in the world of "holistic therapies", eg. aromatherapy, reflexology, dowsing and so on. Indeed I was introduced to dowsing, and taught the basic techniques, by the late Dan Wilson of the British Society of Dowsers. Yes, I can dowse, but I've never used it a lot and I would not claim to be good at it; again perhaps it is something important for me to learn but whose time is not yet come for me.

And I guess that's an important point. Your beliefs (religion, if you will) are the ones which are right for you at that particular time. They may change over time and with experience. As my godparents said to me, when I was dropping out of the Catholic Church: If that is the best way for you, OK. We will not say your way is wrong, but only that we think ours is shorter. Shorter for them maybe; not necessarily shorter for me?

OK, so what do I actually believe? See My Personal Beliefs.


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