In honor of Easter, this Sunday, I’ll talk about God, religion, and spirit first.
No, religion does not magically make everything in life perfect and sunshiney.
With all the suffering the world, the only way to be perfectly sunshiney is to either be entirely ignorant and sheltered or to have such an “us vs. them” mentality that you lose all empathy for people who aren’t like you.
Granted, there are ways to be happier, to do all you can and trust God and other people to do the rest. I’m working on both sides of that: really doing my best, and really putting aside unhelpful worrying.
Religion isn’t a magic feel good tonic (or it shouldn’t be), but connecting with a church that more closely matches my values (and doesn’t promote things I actively think are wrong) really has helped.
I even sang a solo in the worship service this past (Palm) Sunday, and I honestly didn’t know how much I’d missed that (The song is “Christmas had its Cradle, Easter has its Cross,” one of my all time favorites).
And spending quiet time disconnected from phones, tv and internet, focusing on and connecting with God, is also wonderful, when I keep my focus enough to actually do it. Whether this takes the form of self composed prayer, praying existing prayers (the Jesus prayer is my favorite), or simple wordless meditation, it is always good.
So, in a nutshell,
Coherence and integrity between my spiritual values and my spiritual community
Reconnecting with and sharing spiritual songs that mean a lot to me (making a joyful noise unto the Lord)
Spending time away from the fragmenting distractions of the daily material world, focusing on God
Have all helped a lot.
Happy Passover and Happy Easter.