Tuesday, April 18, 2006

What's up?

As happy as I was on Easter to stuff my face, soak my liver, and meet new people, I can't help but feeling a little sad about completely ignoring the spiritual aspect of the day. I'm not practicing any religion at the moment, but that doesn't prevent me from feeling the presence of something beyond the phenomenal world. When these big religious holidays roll around, why not sidestep the marketing extravaganza and make them spiritually relevent in whatever way works for you?

It's a shame that many children are exposed to spirituality through church or temple or some bland ritualistic schooling that requires scratchy outfits and uncomfortable shoes. Where I grew up, kids thought religion was fruity and very uncool. When a kid was known to have a religious parent, that kid often became an object of ridicule, as if they were tainted by some disease, and therefore not fully available to bask in the endless lucre and sensual pleasures of the material world. Many of us went to Sunday school or temple or where-ever, but as far as I can recall, those were social gatherings where fat boys in blue blazers stuffed fire crackers into frog's asses and skinny girls in ribbons and bows whispered secrets.

I think most religions are problematic and miss the point. But to allow the spiritual instinct to atrophy and seal-up is just about the worst form of self-sabotage there is. To lose sight of the strangeness of being alive and the possibility of a God or gods or something imponderable to our limited consciousness is worse than the ostrich with its head in the ground. It is a life of sleepwalking, ruled by a repressed fear of chaos and the unknown. This is what keeps us busily obsessed with the microscopic details of the material world, ignoring what is really in front of us with eyes wide shut.

(illustration by Foder Rojankovsky)


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