While I progress in finding the balance in my life between the secular and spiritual I have learned many things about myself and it seems that I have been on the moving end of a large pendulum. I started my life being raised as a Lutheran Christian in rural North Dakota knowing little else than weekly routine church and working hard at anything I was told to do. There was never an emphasis put on faith or my relationship with Jesus or God for that matter. There was really only the expectation to be honest, work hard and do what I was told. I attended church but really never understood the real history of my religion or how it came about in relation to all the world’s religions. I know now that what I really perceived was not unlike my perception of the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny or even Santa Claus for that matter. They were all stories that I was only supposed to take on faith and not to question why I felt so many inconsistencies about what I was being told to believe. It’s not that I can really say I even understood how I felt about what I was being taught because I didn’t know what I didn’t know. Subconsciously there was an unsettling feeling about it all, but since I had grown up feeling that way, it didn’t “feel” wrong. Does that make sense to you? I don’t believe I was intentionally mislead by my parents when it comes to religion because I don’t think they ever really knew anything different than what they were told either. I think what they taught me was a mix between what they learned as children and their own perceptions of religion and faith at the time. I think this is important to understand – I am not blaming my parents on how I was raised. I believe completely that they did all they could with what they had. I also believe that each step in their lives was also a balancing act between survival of life and finances; along with all the secret struggles they had as a married couple and themselves as individuals. If I had to characterize my first 40+ years of life, I’d have to say it was mainly around the secular aspects of life. I survived childhood, my school years, professional career, marriage and children. It’s only really been in the past couple of years that my journey has taken a fork in a road focused on spirituality.
Initially I was very dedicated and excited about my spiritual teachings. I experienced other religions which gave me a lot of wonderful perspective on my own “birth religion”. For the first time I had a very good understanding of the historical aspects as well what was really being taught to me as a child. I also experienced some metaphysical and magickal practices that are truly amazing and powerful. I became more interested in the tangible aspects of working directly with the Divine as well as all the earthly elements which became manifest from the Divine. I dedicated several months to these types of experiences and in a way I was hooked on it. In looking at it now, I was hoping that these “ways of being” would help me more quickly understand myself and what I needed to do. For much of my life I have been lost as to my purpose and my hope was that through talking with psychics, intuitives, and any other number of gifted people I could finally understand myself and my life’s purpose. What I’m finding is that each insight I’ve been given has been a slight variation on the same themes I’ve heard all my life (e.g. I am powerful, I can achieve anything, I am here to help others, etc) What I’m finding is that I can have the most insightful person on the planet tell me exactly who I am, what I’m meant to do, how to do it and a pretty clear picture of my future; but all of this means nothing unless I believe it first and secondly, that I take action on that belief. I also found the addictive nature of working with psychics. I became very addicted to knowing all the what-ifs about myself and those around me. This addiction was just another form of fear controlling my life with me second-guessing and needing confirmation on each idea or decision. This isn’t living my life by my will, but rather by my ego and fear. I was hoping that by working with these “gifted” people or becoming one myself, I could find the switch inside me to turn on my life, my motivation, and my confidence. I wanted so desperately for the solution to be found by others and to end my suffering and life anxieties. I was convinced that I did not have the ability or intelligence to find the solution within me (since I had failed at this all my life) and so it must be something others could find and activate in me from without. Now that my pendulum has swung fully from the secular to the spiritual aspects of my life and am finding that I need both of these to be balanced in who I am. Since I am currently an earthly being, I have earthly needs (food, clothing, shelter, etc). To have these things means doing the normal things humans do like work or run a business to receive money. Also, since I am a spiritual being, I need that connection to the Divine whether it is direct or directed from others. I need to recognize the messages given, know the Divine power I have within and allow this to be incorporated into my daily life just as naturally as anything else I do. My journey continues and I will keep showing up each day to experience and grow in it. I will occasionally back up from seeing the individual tiles in my life’s mosaic to see the whole picture in its grand perfection. I will remind myself that each experience is of my own design and no matter what the outcome is, I will always be welcomed back to the Infinite Divine. Dwight Raatz