Our changing faith

For most of us, religion has been a part of our lives since we were little.  My family is Presbyterian, very similar to most other protestant religions and the Catholic religion.

People in every corner of the world practices some sort of belief.

Since I have been at college, I have seen a different pattern of faith that is simply spiritual.  On a day to day basis, I have found spiritually and simple faith to be most important—not a title, like Presbyterian.  Being exposed to so much knowledge and differing opinions the last few years here at Butler has changed my thinking greatly.  College has consumed so much of my time that I only have time for personal faith rather than group practices like going to church services.

Our school offers religious services every Sunday and I know several people who take time out of their busy schedule to practice their faith each week.  However, I have found myself—and most of the people around me—to be sleeping in, studying or working on a Sunday morning.

At first, I disregarded my own spirituality completely and left my Sunday morning rituals in the back of my mind.  In the last year I have learned that college includes taking time for yourself.  That is when I have found myself to be the most spiritual.

The recently released movie Eat, Pray, Love, based on the book by Elizabeth Gilbert, takes a look at the idea of being personally spiritual and finding peace in life through a spiritual balance.

What I took away from this film is that spirituality is a different process for everyone.  It might be easy  for one person to feel balanced and mentally sound in their faith, but take years for others.

For me it is taking a while.  I find peace in little things in life, like my dog Willow.  The simplicity of her life reminds me to think more simply and  to not take things too seriously.

Sometimes I wonder if I will continue my family tradition of Sunday worship.  It seems to me that many families in the U.S. are choosing other activities on Sundays.  It makes me sad that such a powerful and life-changing part of our culture is dwindling, but I have hope that peopele can continue to put themselves and their mental and physical balance first, whether this is in church Sunday morning or not.

In a recent editorial on CNN.com, the first woman to become a Buddhist Monk, Myokei Caine-Barrett, wrote of her struggle through life trying to find her place in the spiritual world. Caine-Barrett, of Japanese and African descent, is the only ordained Western woman and the first female priest in the Nichiren Order of North America.

Caine-Barrett wrote, “Buddhism has been the mainstay of my life, enabling me to understand life’s reality and providing a practice of faith to deal with that reality. I have learned to release the past and not give in to imagination or the future. Buddhism taught me that there is only now, the present moment.”

In Eat, Pray, Love, Gilbert‘s journey to find her mental and physical balance through meditation and devotion sheds light on the possiblities of our generation’s future—you can be religious without a religious title.  Caine-Barret chose to put a title on her spirituality, but she still purports the idea of having mental balance and living in the present.


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