Well, I'm finally finished with another semester at school. Only one more to go. Things have been crazy busy, hence my long absence. I'm now back in North Carolina, visiting family for the holidays.
The holidays are always an interesting time for me. I feel nostalgic for the better moments of my childhood. At the same time, it pulls me into spiritual contemplation and evaluation of my spiritual beliefs, as I ponder the deeper meanings behind the winter holidays I celebrate - Christmas (including daily Advent readings through a UU Christian Advent devotional I have printed out), with a more Gnostic, metaphorical interpretation than my mainstream family; Yule, with the acknowledgement of the changing seasons and the longing for warmer days; and Chalica, the 7 day long Unitarian- Universalist themed holiday, modeled after Hanukkah and Kwanzaa, in which each day represents one of UU's 7 Principles. I did experiment with Hanukkah for a couple of years and, while it's still in my "rituals" section of my Grimoire, I feel I have not connected with that holiday as well as the aforementioned.
One thing in particular I find curious, is that even though I attend a Christian church, consider myself Christian - even though I do also practice Druidry and minimally interact with the Unitarian Universalists online - every time I take the Beliefnet religion quiz, which I do periodically, my top religions are almost always Neo-Pagan, UU, and Mahayana Buddhism. Now, I have been attempting to incorporate some Zen into my life, and once I get back to my regular post-Advent daily spiritual practices, I will be including my book, "The Buddhist Bible" in my daily readings (along with my NRSV Bible and "The Other Bible" which contains various Gnostic writings). But seeing as how I have had very little exposure to actual Buddhism (whereas I have had exposure to the others, via local Pagan groups I've visited, and visiting the local UU church), I've been curious as to what that "looks like", so to speak. How does it fit in with my various beliefs? Should I consider just becoming Buddhist? What about the fact that here in the West, many view Buddhism as a philosophy, not just a religion, and as such practice Christianity (or other religions) with a Buddhist flavor, so to speak? The benefit of being spiritually eclectic, as I seem to be, is that I feel the freedom to incorporate what works. It can be a bit confusing, sometimes though, and frustrating, when I'm not sure where I "fit in". Especially when it comes to being a part of a faith community and/or meeting others of like mind.