Sunday, December 4, 2016

Prayer Revisited

As I've mentioned before, Unitarian Universalism has a thing called the Church of the Larger Fellowship. It is basically an online resource for UUs who either don't live near a physical UU Church, are unable to attend a physical UU Church, or have no desire to. Or, of course, it can be a supplement to someone's "brick and mortar" church. I admit I don't go like I should, in part since the one near where I now live is so small, so my introversion gets the best of me. In any case, each week there's an online worship service recorded. Each month follows a different theme.

I decided to catch up on some of the videos this morning in lieu of going to a physical church. The theme for the month of November was Prayer. It has me thinking about what my views on prayer currently are.

Throughout my years as a spiritual seeker, my views on God/Spirit have changed multiple times. I was raised Southern Baptist, with the typical Trinitarian Christian views inherent. When I was in late college years and began my own spiritual journey to learn what I believed beyond just what I was raised to believe, I first looked into Paganism. During that time, I was somewhat of a "Hard Polytheist" - the view that there are multiple gods/goddesses who are distinct beings, just like I am a person distinct from other people. I primarily honored the Celtic Pantheon, with Brighid being a goddess I connected to the most, and I'm still quite fond of. This is in contrast to "Soft Polytheism", which, like Trinitarian Christianity, views all the deities as being facets or aspects of one Ultimate Higher Power. Eventually, I came to Panentheism.

So what am I now? Of course, I consider my primary religion as being Unitarian Universalist. What I love about UU is its lack of dogma. So as far as my own personal spirituality is concerned, I'd have to say I'm a blend of Buddhism and Paganism at this point. Buddhism outlines how I try to live my daily life, while Paganism encompasses my view of nature. I still consider myself a Panentheist.

So what does this say about my views on prayer? I admit actual spiritual practice is something I struggle with in being consistent with, just like many other things in life. I do believe I want to get more serious with experimenting with Buddhist prayer or Buddhist meditation on mantras. I do believe my connection with Brighid and other deities during my more polytheistic days were ways of Spirit connecting with me in a way I needed at the time. Will I end up revisiting Brighid and the other deities as a way of connecting with Spirit? I've thought about that. And perhaps I will. For now, though, I feel like I need to further develop the Buddhist aspects of my spirituality. That is what's calling to me as of current.  So for now, I'm going to start meditating more, and perhaps see if I can find a Buddhist prayerbook to add to my collection of spiritual materials.

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