I know that, on “rare” occasion, I’m probably confusing. Simultaneously tossing around talk about a guru, revering the saints, and loving on Jesus, all while expressing devotion to a feminine God. Throw in some homeschooling, a generous helping of veganism, a dash of eccentricities, and what you’ve got might just be a whole lot of weird. And yes, I see you nodding over there. But I don’t really blame you.
And it might be hard for you to believe, but I do try and rein it all in–to keep myself within the confines of “acceptably” odd. On a good day, you might even be nice enough to grace me with a “quirky.” Which is great, because quirky usually equates to “cute,” whereas the flamboyantly odd all too often equates to scary. And I’m trying really hard not to do that here, while still staying true to who I am. Because as a culture, is seems like we’re not always eager (or ready) to embrace the things we don’t understand. So, in an effort to keep you all coming back, I hold the especially strange and curious close to my heart. Maybe one day I’ll let them out to play. Maybe. But…maybe not.
But even with that deliberate caution, some of you might still be left with the lingering spiritual question of, But what does she even believe? Am I Christian? Hindu? Buddhist? Something I concocted all on my own? Honestly, none and all of the above. Hence the confusion. Because while it makes perfectly perfect sense to me from the inside, I realize that from the outside, things probably seem more than a little bit hazy.
God & Guru
Those of you who wander on over from Instagram are probably already familiar with my unusual ways, and have learned to take in stride my medley of beliefs. And if you’re one of those supportive souls, then not much of what I have to say today will be new news. But eventually this little space will be more than just a gathering of Insta friends, so I thought it best to clear up the confusion now. The two thoughts on my mind today? God and Guru. (Bet most of you probably could have guessed that.) Next week I’ll tackle my guru; today I’ll shed some light on my God.
Growing up, the God I believed in was always spoken of in the masculine form. The protective, stern, strong, and wise Father. It’s comforting, almost like each of us has our own personal bodyguard whose sole concern is to keep careful watch over those He loves. “Eternally protected” definitely has a nice ring to it. But this was something of a problem for me; I was subconsciously building an invisible barrier between me and certain others. Through the years it became obvious to me that I was attached to this understanding of a male Godhead. An only male Godhead. And the mere mention of a feminine version had me rolling my eyes. Good grief. Why is there always someone causing trouble? Being “different?” If it was good enough for Jesus, then it’s good enough for me.
My Comfort Zone
That flippant dismissal is actually pretty hilarious (now), because as I traveled through my adulthood I started to notice a pattern: I chose to do virtually everything differently. I began to understand and experience the advantages of living outside the norm, often in spite of societal and/or familial resistance. Ironically, unconventional became my comfort zone, and I grew more and more into myself the more I lived beyond the realm of traditionally acceptable. And all of a sudden I was the one “causing trouble,” making waves, and choosing the different path. And not the least bit apologetic about it.
This time of unexpected growth and learning made me ripe for certain lessons. Whenever I had the audacity to think I knew it all, to start a phrase with the dreaded term “I would never–” …well, I always would. Against my will, I would repeatedly find myself in the exact same situation I had judged, with a resulting attitude or array of feelings I couldn’t have foreseen. After years of repeated lessons, the word “never” almost never crosses my lips anymore, and if it accidentally slips by, immediate retractions are made. Instantly contrite at being arrogant enough to test God again, because as soon as the words have been uttered, I know a lesson is already headed my way. “Live and learn” is an effective training tool that God is forced to use on me all too frequently.
How Many Times?
So, of course, somewhere along the lines I would end up with a feminine God. Because what I judge, I live. I’m consistently shown the way to seeing things through new eyes, because is there anything in this world that’s completely black and white? Just one more case of God wagging Her finger at me: Mind your own business, Melinda. Live and let live. (How many times do I have to tell you that?)
But before I found my way to a feminine Divine, my God was firmly a male. Thankfully (mostly for me), my rigidity ended there. Because even though I was raised a Christian, the different beliefs and customs of other religions have always intrigued me. In fact, when the girls and I were still homeschooling we did an entire unit on religions of the world. And I was thrilled when one of the homeschool moms we often hung out with let me pepper her with as many questions about the Jewish faith as my little heart desired. Was I pondering how the different paths merged into one? Maybe subconsciously ruling in one while ruling out another? Was I judging? Was it merely another case of my unbridled curiosity? I’m not sure, but there was always a burning need to know and to understand more.
A Colorful Place
I never subscribed to the belief that only Christians could make it to Heaven; logic told me that God hadn’t created only one solitary door Home. And opening those other doors and taking a look inside was always fascinating to me. One little world, so many different avenues to Heaven. For a God with an obvious penchant for creativity, I figured creating different paths Home was no big deal. In fact, She probably had a pretty good time with it. Did She predict our prejudices against religions other than our own? I imagine so, but I’m glad She didn’t let it stop Her. Or maybe She even continued on in spite of it. Diversity makes the world such a colorful and interesting place; I figure She knew exactly what She was doing.
So even though a corner of my mind was firmly stuck on only one way, the majority of my mind was still open. Open enough that when my Hindu guru stepped into my life, I didn’t even bat an eye. In fact, I probably wondered what new barriers he was about to break (for me). And I found myself eagerly absorbing everything he had to teach me about the Hindu faith.
Night after night, as soon as dinner was done, I’d pull out whichever book of his I happened to be reading and eagerly ask the girls, Do you want to hear what I learned today? The astral plane, the causal plane, bhakti yoga, karma, samadhi…all of it was riveting. Even their millions of different gods, but mostly only because this sounded kind of…extreme. Maybe even more than a little bit crazy. How does one keep up with multiple gods when I’m busy over here just trying to please one? And often falling short. The stress of countless omniscient eyes seemed pretty overwhelming.
But the more I read, the more I understood that just like Christianity, Hinduism revolves around only one Supreme Being. These millions of other lesser gods are merely representations of different aspects of that One. Because while alike in so many ways, humans are also distinctly different. And Hinduism solves that problem by offering a wide variety of options. Basically, find whichever aspect of God appeals to you (and your sensibilities) the most, and then use it to deepen your relationship with God. Don’t get hung up on the image (or the gender), but use it to develop an unbreakable intimacy with God that will see you Home.
So I read about Brahma (the creator), and Vishnu (the preserver), and Shiva (the destroyer). Krishna introduced himself, taught me much, and I found myself falling in love with his boundless love. I saw the value in the Hindu altars–a place of worship as close as the next room. I learned the soothing, grounding, and devotional effects of chanting. They were all interesting, and all important, but when I was introduced to the Divine Mother? That was it. I had found that aspect of God that resonated with me deeply. Deeper even than the Father. This was the aspect of God that felt warm and comfortable, familiar and intimate. And just like that, my He became a She, and once again my lesson resurfaced. And the first time “She” slid past my lips, I heard it. Loud and clear: Never say never, God laughed.
Love That Is Me
I realize that when I write posts, both here and on Instagram, my choice of pronouns might irritate or even offend some. And I’m sorry about that, truly. Because I don’t think that it makes God at all happy when we intentionally create discord among ourselves. But the thing is, through all of those unconventional decisions I made through the years, not one of them was ever made for the purpose of “being different.” Homeschooling, veganism, gurus–not one of them was so that I could stand out in a crowd, or draw the attention to myself. I simply learned how to listen to where my heart was trying to lead me, and then follow. No matter how rocky the road.
And the same principle holds true here. I have no desire to create a female God simply to buck a patriarchal society; creating disharmony no longer interests me. Nor am I ruffling feathers simply to ruffle feathers. It’s a matter of what feels true to me, at this point in my journey. And where my heart leads, I follow.
I’ve Been Waiting
So yes, I love my Jesus and I love my guru–wildly and without reserve. I love saints (of all religions). But most of all, I love my God. No matter the gender or the image. No matter the Heavenly Father or the Divine Mother. They all mean exactly the same thing to me: Love. Divine Love that permeates every crack, crevice, and nook of space. An ever-present Love that comforts and guides me. A Love that breaks down one barrier after another, leading me ever closer. Love that is in me, around me, over me, under me. Love that IS me. And whatever connects me most firmly to that Love is what I’m reaching for.
Because I can hear Her laughing again; it took me lifetimes to decipher Her words, but now I know. And what is there to do but listen? Come home, She says, I’ve been waiting.
Hope that your week is a beautiful one. Much love from our home to yours. xoxo
For more of my spiritual ramblings see here: spiritual