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I’ve always been interested in the spiritual side of life. I never understood people who weren’t interested in spirituality or where you went when you died. How could somebody not care about that?
How can you go through life and never ask yourself “where did I come from?” “Where am I going?” or “is there a God?”. It seems as though most people simply go through the motions in life. Day after day, they’re getting up in the morning, eating breakfast, going to work and then coming home to eat dinner and going to bed.
Then many of these people go out on the weekends to dance clubs and bars to numb themselves from the pain that is their life.
It’s really quite sad and I often wonder if these people wrestle with the great existential questions of life. Are they being pulled by some higher calling? Do they feel spirit leading their life? Are they in touch with the true essence of who they are and can they connect with their deeper selves whenever they want?
I wonder if they think about these great questions while they’re driving to work or when they’re running errands. Are they happy? Do their lives make sense and do they like where they ended up? Are they constantly seeking more? Do they want a better job, more money and a better looking husband or wife?
Maybe deep down people are unhappy but they don’t want to face the reality of their own lives, which is why they drink and get drunk every week.
I’ve always had a more future approach. I’ve often thought of myself as an old man in my 120’s looking back at my life and whether I was happy with what I achieved and how I lived his life.
It’s a really good exercise actually. Sit down, close your eyes and imagine yourself at 95 years old. Really put yourself in that situation and try to imagine looking back and dealing with regret. It’s a form of inner time travel which you can use to change the current state of your life.
You can’t travel in time physically but you can internally.
What do you wish you had done? Do you wish you would have lived in some other country or taken the “other” job or even married the “other” man or woman?
Do you wish you would have cultivated a more spiritual awareness and lived with more purpose and meaning by being connected to a higher power?
I guess I’m an old soul. It’s easy for me to long for the invisible. It’s easy for me to be fascinated by the great mysteries and to seek a connection to the divine. I want all that he/she/it has to offer.
My First Experience
My first “spiritual” experience I can remember was when my brother and I visited our aunt in Seattle when I was about 8. She called me into her room one night knowing that my older brother and my cousin (5 years older than my older brother) didn’t include me in whatever it was that they were doing.
She told me that she saw the birth of her son (my cousin) in a crystal ball. She proceeded to let me look at this beautiful shiny crystal ball in her bedroom and told me all about her experience with it.
Who knows maybe she really did see his birth in that ball before she was pregnant. During our time at her lake house she told us that if we just concentrated hard enough we could win the lottery by manifesting it using the power of our minds.
Basically she was teaching us manifestation and the possibility of willing something into existence. I was really taken back by this. It was the first time that somebody told me that I had power. Generally kids feel powerless so what she was telling me was really opening my mind.
After that summer I remember trying to put out candles with the power of my mind with a neighborhood friend. We both believed it was possible. We played light as a feather, stiff as a board, we played bloody Mary in the bathroom to see if we could see the reflection of her in the mirror, we played with the Ouija board seeking answers.
We were convinced the Ouija board worked and we absolutely freaked out when it moved.
All of this happened during a time when I was taking karate lessons and watching a weekly show about Ninjas. The oriental culture really intrigued me, even as a young child. They’re culture was so filled with mystery and intrigue.
Somehow I got off that path and we started going to a local Baptist church and I joined AWANA (basically Boy Scouts mixed with religion).
I learned all about God from the local Baptist Church. For some reason (maybe being 8) I didn’t see any of this as contradictory to the spiritual mysticism I had learned previously. I attended Hume Lake (a summer youth camp) for 3 or 4 years during that time as well.
I didn’t see God there though. Something was missing and I knew it, even at such an early age.
After that we moved about 40 minutes down the freeway and I stopped going to church. When I went to a new junior high and high school I was the new kid. I had no friends and didn’t fit in with any particular crowd.
In high school someone from the Christian group befriended me and asked if I wanted to have lunch with them, so I did. I started attending Bible studies led by the senior kids running the group. I finally felt like I had a place to call home.
One of the big things you want to avoid in high school is eating lunch alone with no friends. People would think you’re weird.
When I got invited to the Christian group I felt like I wasn’t so alone anymore. I started to have this idea that we were being rebels. Other kids in school didn’t think about their eternal souls after they died. We were called apart, we were different. We were the outcasts and I felt like I was really rebelling against the normal high school kids.
Had the normal kids accepted me into their group, I’m sure things would have been different. 😉
Looking back I think I joined the Christian group for a couple reasons. One is that no other group really befriended me the way the Christians did. Not only did that feel nice but it also allowed me to have a group to join. I didn’t feel so alone.
The other reason I joined was because I’ve always been a sort of rebel. But I didn’t rebel like most kids rebel. I didn’t have tattoos or die my hair green or shave a Mohawk into my head. When I was young more and more people were getting tattoos. I couldn’t help but think, how rebellious is it to get a tattoo when everybody else were also getting them?
I didn’t quite fit in with the rebellious kids on campus. I always pitied them because they were rebelling the easiest way possible. It’s easy to put different clothes on. It’s not so easy to stand for ideas that are not socially acceptable, at least not in my school. It’s also not easy to stand for ideas when you have to do a fair amount of research in order to defend them.
This still happens to me today.
For example, I don’t think vaccines are good for kids. I don’t think the education system helps to serve kids the right way and don’t advocate people putting their kids into any kind of school. There’s a lot of evidence in my mind that the world is not a spinning ball but flat (if you’re interested in this visit the documentaries section on this website).
These are all controversial ideas. It’s easy to change the external window dressings of a person but it’s not so easy to stand up for ideas that are far from mainstream.
I think I joined the Christian group because nobody else was doing it and I was a bit of a rebel. I know it sounds weird describing how I joined a Christian group in order to be rebellious but for me it made sense to rebel that way.
I felt intellectually superior to all my other high school friends at the time and this made me feel better.
I spent two years going to a public high school and then I made the choice to attend a Christian school about 30 minutes away. I was really excited. I no longer had to feel like an outsider. I was going to where my people were.
I dove head first into what my new Christian high school had to offer. For the next 5 years I attended on average 6 or 7 bible studies per week. I then would listen to more bible studies during my drive to and from school which was a little over an hour.
Some of the electives I took were about biblical history, apologetics, end times and more esoteric topics. I was a pastor’s wet dream.
I even went on missions trips to Mexico, northern California, Hungary and Indonesia.
During the time that I was at Calvary I started listening to people like Ray Comfort, Walter Martin, Greg Koukl and others. If you don’t know Calvary Chapel is very much a place where only their own people are accepted.
I remember my high school pastor taking me aside and warning me about reading books by Ray Comfort and Walter Martin (our head pastor at the time Chuck Smith vehemently disagreed with the theology of these two). Because of this I started to question my pastor and began wondering why there were other “Christians” out there that were good people (and very smart) but didn’t agree with my pastors.
That got me thinking about other denominations. I began to wonder what Mormonism was all about or new age spirituality.
I’ll never forget I was listening to a tape by Greg Koukl one day and he told me that God doesn’t have a plan for my life. He said that you don’t have to believe in creationism and you could believe abortion is okay and still go to heaven.
I heard him say this as I was pulling up to my parents house in my car on the way back from a bible study at Calvary Chapel. It blew my mind because this was completely opposite of what I’d been taught all those years prior.
Now I was in a quandary. What do I do? Do I stop going to church? Do I tell people at Calvary (who were very judgmental) my thoughts about these issues?
How could a man of God say such things? God doesn’t have a plan for my life? Really?
I didn’t know what to do.
It was at this time that I began listening to Coast to Coast AM which is a very popular alternative radio show that takes place in the evenings. It caters to the conspiracy crowd to a large degree.
As I retracted from Calvary Chapel I began diving into this new world of strange ideas. Most of my former high school friends were now free of the judgment of Calvary and were exploring their wild sides by getting drunk at parties every night.
I didn’t feel the need to do that because I felt like I needed to do the exploration internally. Also most of my classmates at Calvary had been going there since they were 5 years old.
I had only been going there for 2 years of school and I worked there 3 years by choice afterwards. So all of my indoctrination was of my own choosing.
Looking back I’m so glad because I would have felt so much more repressed and worried what people thought of me had I attended Calvary my whole life.
Calvary Chapel is a strange place. It has a weird hypnotic grasp on a young person’s mind.
As time went on I began exploring more ideas. I began looking into reincarnation, evolution, past lives, aliens, quantum mechanics, string theory, subjective reality and much more.
What really changed my world though was a guy who became a friend of mine at the beach I went to a lot. He was a local guy who had his own business washing windows.
He lived right where I would park my car to go surfing. I’d see him all the time and one day we got to talking a while longer and somehow we got to talking about ancient civilizations, Y2K and the pyramids. He shared with me all the research he had been doing into the pyramids and other ancient structures around the world.
That really started me on the road of exploring ancient cultures and then I began to wonder why our culture was so consumeristic and materialistic.
I began to think if human beings really did build the pyramids, how did they create a culture where all able bodied men, would work together forgoing their hopes and dreams for their lives, to work as a single unit constructing these giant structures?
Even with social media and the internet we can’t get two people to agree on the same topic, let alone give up their entire lives to build one monumental structure.
How could that happen? What kind of culture did they live in where people could be organized like this for a singular purpose? What was their religion?
On the other hand…
If other entities built the pyramids were they aliens or the giants mentioned in the Bible? Who were these people and why do so few people care?
I couldn’t figure out why nobody was fascinated by their culture and those ancient structures. Were they able to use technology to make 2000 ton stones as light as balloons?
If so, how come we can’t figure it out today? Or have people figured it out but they’re keeping that advanced information from us? What if the entire world didn’t work the way we think it does?
What if the current power structures are just feeding us lies about religion, spirituality, death, history, God and money? What if it’s all one big lie?
But why would they lie to us?
Trying to figure that one out would be another rabbit hole.
I love rabbit holes so I’ve been on the path of searching ever since.
If they lied to us about history, politics, or health why would they tell the truth in other circumstances? Once somebody or some entity lies to us, it’s hard to trust them about other things they try to get us to believe.
Then I began thinking about religion and spirituality. Why does the government align so closely with religion? Why do pastors get tax breaks? Why do all politicians try to identify with Christianity when they’re running for office? Why do we call ourselves a Christian nation?
There has to be something to this.
It’s funny when you start down a particular path, more information comes to you on that path. My favorite basketball team The Lakers hired a guy by the name of Phil Jackson. He was a master psychologist and the best coach of all time. I found out he wrote a book called Sacred Hoops.
In that book he mentions growing up in the Christian faith (his dad was a preacher) but then become disillusioned as a young adult. He started to explore eastern philosophies like Zazen and Buddhism. He called himself a Christian mystic.
It was comforting to read a book by a guy who incorporates Easter philosophies into a Christian faith. As expected I read all the books he mentions (and he mentions a lot of them) in Sacred Hoops. Some of my favorites were Way Of The Peaceful Warrior, Zen & The Art of Archery, How To Meditate amongst others.
As I began exploring other philosophies and religions, the world of ideas opened up to me. I no longer was a prisoner of one way of thinking. Suddenly things started to make sense.
I often found that when I was heavily into Christianity, I didn’t have the emotional or psychological tools available to me to deal with life’s stresses or life’s pressures.
I would find my self flying off the handle at the littlest things. Christianity didn’t seem to be helping me achieve emotional mastery or even personal maturity.
As a Calvary Chapel Christian if there was something I couldn’t handle I’d just treat God like a genie and ask him to take it away from me. If he didn’t do it, either I didn’t have enough faith or God wanted me to suffer.
As I explored other ideas I began to see my role in all the events that happen in my life. I began to see how my participation in events affects the outcome, much like quantum physics.
For example, it makes more sense to me (read Sacred Contracts for more information about this) that I came into this life to experience the challenges and tribulations than God loves me and wants to help me but just ignores me when I ask him to take pain away.
I also started understanding how I create my own reality and that my thinking is what I become a prisoner to. It’s my thinking that causes me to suffer, not any event itself.
This is challenging to accept because as Christians we’re told that God is in control of it all. So either God is ignoring us, we don’t have enough faith or he’s punishing us for something. It all becomes so confusing when you look at life through a Christian perspective.
Having a philosophy that incorporates Eastern thought, the law of attraction and other ideas not only allows me to make more sense of life but it also gives me the emotional tools I need to get through hard times.
A few years after that I began to dive into the work of Dr. Bart Ehrman author of Misquoting Jesus as well as Caesar’s Messiah by Joseph Atwill which asserts that Jesus was an invention of the Romans to give to their Jewish subjects in order to “turn the other cheek” and to “give to Caesar’s that which is Caesar’s and give to God what is God’s”.
If what he’s saying is accurate, it’s a beautiful way of giving your subjects a fairy tale that teaches them to be submissive to you.
I’m always looking to learn more and to grow with an open mind. I’m open to exploring everything I can in order to find the truth in all things.
I feel that this is the way people should be. Free to openly explore truth and come to their own conclusions without guilt or shame.
There is so much to learn and to explore in this world. When a person or a group tries to tell you to stop reading contradictory material, that’s a huge red flag.
They’ll do this under the guise of “watching out for the sheep”. Interesting choice of words. If your religion tells you to avoid certain books you should start to think twice about that religion.
If a particular religion is true (and they believe it to be true – which they all do) they should welcome competing ideas.
Because ultimately their religion will win out if it’s the truth right?
Don’t be afraid to read books, watch documentaries and explore ideas that challenge you. Because after all this is your life and your journey and ultimately the truth will set you free.