The Pain That You Know
When the children of Israel were finally freed from the hand of Pharoah, they then began their journey to the Promised Land of Canaan (which was already inhabited), but first had to make their way through the Wilderness. The journey through the Wilderness was only supposed to be an 11 day one, but ended up being a 40 year one!!! During this time, there was a generational struggle to separate themselves from the painful place they had been, to where God was seeking to take them.
Often, we have experienced such unique pain that we begin to craft our identity around THAT experience. We find a sense of pride, a sense of joy from having endured and survived the experience so that a symbiotic relationship exists between our pain and our identity. So then, once the opportunity for evolution comes, changing our experience, the foundation of our identity threatens to crumble as well.
I have found myself here.
Choosing to leave the comfort of the familiar pain, the pain that you know how to navigate so well, the pain that loops, the pain that cycles (and you know EACH nuance of the cycles) was something that I learned to embrace.
When I chose to release my attachment to religion, I realized the flack that I could possibly get—especially from family. When I chose to embrace the wholeness and universality of who God(dess) is outside of the egoic attachments that we as humans place on choosing a side of “right vs. wrong” I knew the resistance that I could possibly get. But none of that was worth living a lie.
To me, religion should be merely a starting point, serving as a tool to facilitate RELATIONSHIP (which should be the end goal). However, I have personally seen people confined by fear, get stuck in religion—much like the Children of Israel were stuck in the Wilderness.
I have seen people afraid to admit that they enjoy the teachings of Buddha & Buddhist thought because they are afraid that others will no longer consider them Christian Believers. Or afraid to use crystals to enhance their energy environments (which—to be clear—are naturally occurring elements found in nature, set & worn in most jewelry found in your most common jewelry stores) because they will somehow be in violation of a “rule.”
It seems the minute that one becomes intentional in how they want to experience their Divine relationship—to realize the length, the depth, the breadth of God(dess), there are others policing how that relationship should look. . . according to “rules.”
I have been blessed to encounter others who are embracing not RELIGIOUS freedom, but RELATIONSHIP freedom. See. As a people who have been historically oppressed in this country, told that our existence was wrong, told that our skin color was wrong, CONSTANTLY POLICED, told that the way we behave is wrong, I can clearly see why gravitating toward a religious framework where we could be “right” would matter. Ere the battle of denominations. To speak in tongues or NOT to speak in tongues. To be baptized or NOT be baptized. To have “greased legs” or “ungreased legs” (check out the Juanita Bynum video rant for context ). . . the list could go on & on.
We have willingly put on more chains, more straightjackets, disconnecting our own selves from the Divine.
Because for some. Navigating restriction, suppression, oppression, and hardship IS more comfortable. it is their identity.
It is their religion.