So... where to begin? A common question formed in situations like this, and one that, to date, is almost never answered better than simply 'at the beginning, of course' despite all the centuries it has been asked.
I believe there are things beyond three dimensions... beyond what our senses can tell us directly. Powers greater than physical strength. Call it Mother Earth, Ki, ESP, Chi, a Soul, God, Allah, Powers That Be, it all describes the same thing to me.
Growing up, I was exposed to little in the way of religion that I didn't seek out for myself.
We celebrated Christmas solely as a day to gather the family together, and to share gifts over the course of a week or so. It would often last through New Years, and had no deeper meaning than a gathering to exchange gifts and talk about the year gone past, good or ill.
Thanksgiving was celebrated by our house, and was, again, without religious connotations. Merely a convenient excuse to have an over-the-top meal that took two days to prepare, and would have leftovers for a week or more in our lunches. A reason to explore unusual foods, that normally would be shunned for easier to prepare items.
All of the 'holidays' we celebrated were done merely to have something to do, as my grandmother worked for the USPS, and the holidays she got off as PostMaster were the holidays the house celebrated, simply put. They were excuses to celebrate existing, and look back on what we'd done, a time to talk more freely even if we disagreed. Sure, I may be romanticizing it a little, but looking back and compared to other families... ours was very odd, but very, very loving, caring, and eager to celebrate any and every chance we could.
Later, as I neared my teen years, I started getting into Native American beliefs, first through stories I'd research because they were interesting, latter as I learned my lineage. (Part Cheyenne, small part Mayan, to be precise.) Learning they thought similairly. Holidays were days of celebration, days to give thanks for how far one had come, to look forward to where one was going, and to look back on where one had been. I never looked much into Mayan beliefs, as Cheyenne, and other tribes fit better with my worldview to begin with.
Going to gathers, I met and talked to more 'serious' Native Americans, of various tribes. Learning a bit more, I started to help out more actively, both at simple pow-wows, and at larger events as I could find the time and my mother and I could attend. Sometimes things went bad, often they went well.
And I learned how I chose to believe. Respect for those things around me, sharing what I had with others as a sign of my belief in good times to come... thanks to those things, people, and even places that gave their life in however small or large a part, that I might live.
And yes, about this time I started getting hooked on Japanese RPG games, and a trickling of Japanese culture melded with these existing beliefs to form the core essence of my 'belief structure' as it stands now.
That probably sounds glossed over, but it really is that simple. I had one strong set of beliefs, and I folded in compatable aspects of another belief system. Much like making mousse, the trick is to not try to perfectly blend things, but simply merge them as they fit best.
So, this resulted in adding concepts of honour, and loyalty, and avoiding physical conflict even if it would solve matters more easilly. A Hindu-ish aspect of experiencing things before passing any judgement was added, and trying actively to try to experience everything possible, good or bad, at least once. I still haven't been shot with a firearm, for instance. That's on my list of 'unknown experiences' in my head. Note, obviously, many of these UE's are something I won't actively seek out, simply keep a catalog of so I know where I've travelled, hopefully to give a better idea of where I'm travelling now.
My attempted beliefs are complex when interlocked, but individually simple.
Yes, my beliefs really are quite simple, when boiled down as I have done to them over the years. I still make mistakes... constantly in fact, and I notice them after the fact much like shatterstripes notices mistakes in her artwork after she posts it.Leave a comment