Not too long ago an aged Christian predicted the end of the world... you are thinking to yourself, which one?
Seems like some folks are rapt with the notion that the end looms near. One thing being a cancer survivor teachers you: the end is always near and not just by means of illness. I could get hit by a bus, a falling chunk of twister-hail, a random act of violence.
What fascinates me these days are my inner thoughts (and now outer musings) about the juxtaposition between organized religion and non-organized spirituality. Too, I am inclined to draw attention to the fact that one distinctly relies on fear as a shuttle of control. (Guess which one?) I suppose I'd rather be on the inside looking out instead of the other way around... I'd rather be the seer than the seen.
In general, I tend to think of "belief" as a rather personal thing--- in every way imaginable. I'll try to explain.
I think that organized religion (regardless of type or leaning) tends to place responsibility for one's life *outside* of one's self. Those of the religious persuasion rely on an external source for all of their power, guidance, and choices. By proxy, it means that no one else has power either or if they do it is granted to them by this same outer-existing thing. This external source tends to be rather parental, judgmental, and jealous ---not unlike the human societies that conjure such a "being."
On the other hand, I think of reincarnation as the ultimate paradigm for personal responsibility. If one considers reincarnation then we are truly at the center of our lives and the choices that we make to create the life we have (or don't). Not only do we choose our lives, but those with whom we travel in this life.
I'd much rather think that my existence is a series of choices made on a meta-conscious level rather than a slowly unraveling destiny shaped by a grand-rug weaver (or clock-maker if you prefer a mechanistic approach). I also like the idea of approaching all those with whom my life comes into contact as teachers instead of combatants. That somehow we have all mutually agreed to join the classroom of life to learn how to play well with others instead of just running with scissors. That we dance with all partners, we learn how to say goodbye gracefully, and that we practice peace instead of just making it.
Perhaps it helps me to rest better at night thinking and trusting that I am where I have chosen to be and that thought is as empowering as it is terrifying on some levels. It's been a long, dry patch where I have neglected the tapestry of my life... slowly, deliberately, I am returning to the loom and seeing it again as a means to connect the frayed ends into a greater whole. Instead of focusing on what crosses me, I have been trying to see what tracks I am laying down. These days it seems more important to be aware of what we put into life instead of what (or how) we get out of it.