When I was a child, my life was my religion. I wanted to play. I wanted to explore my world. I wanted to have fun. I had no conditions and expected none. I enjoyed experiences for the sake of experiencing. I loved for the sake of loving. I felt happy, free and empowered. My Source of being came from within me, experiencing the world through my eyes and body.
One of my greatest childhood memories of freedom was running through the meadow of tall grass at the back of our house. Feeling the wind on my face, the heads of grass grazing through my palm, the scent of nature and the light moisture in the air, the sounds of grasshoppers and dragon-flies, gazing at the forest beyond the fencing. I would fly kites made from newspapers with my brothers and friends in that meadow. It was blissful. I felt like I owned the universe and everything was arranged for my own pleasure and enjoyment. These images are eternal treasures in my mind.
I believed in everything and in nothing. All unconditional. I cared about everything and nothing at the same time. I gave what I received and received what I gave. My world was my playground and my reflection. A beautiful dream and a welcome escape from the vastness of infinity. It was my own religion.
I was not looking forward to growing up because grown-ups seemed unhappy and always worried about something. Worried about money. Worried about the cars not working. Worried about armed robbers. Worried about what others thought about them. Worried about worries. They seem not to take any pleasure in their worlds and enjoy the experiences around them. They were not really living anymore. Life was living them instead. It looked miserable. I didn’t want to grow up.
As a child, I didn’t have expectations. I didn’t know if I was smart or dumb. I didn’t know if I was handsome or ugly. Or if my clothes were new or used, or if my house was big or small, if I was well-fed or not. These comparisons did not exist, and they came from outside my world. I just was. I did my part each day and enjoyed it without thinking about yesterday or tomorrow.
As I grew up, I slowly and unknowingly began to forget my Source as I became like the grown-ups I felt sorry for. I went along with what others believed without really knowing or understanding why. I worried about failure and not measuring up to others and their standards. I fell victim to people-pleasing and fighting for approval and acceptance. Living according to their conditions. More and more conditions.
I was told I needed a cool chopper bike to fit in so I obsessed about bicycles. I was told my clothes were too old so I looked for new clothes. The main reason I strove for excellent school grades was because I wanted to be accepted by this strange world. I went to church to please people and not be labeled a sinner. I was given scriptures to memorize and rules to live by. And more scripture.
Everyone seemed to have knowledge of a better and more compelling way to live. They hid behind their rationalized fears of the unknowable by convincing others to follow them. They were fearful of a life beyond this one, and no longer saw the beauties of this life. The burning hell and other contraptions traumatized me into submission. It was chaotic.
There was always a new target to be reached in order to maintain this acceptance. Make plenty money. Get married. Have children. Live in a nice house. Get more degrees. I participated. While some of these achievements are great and fulfilling, they still originated out of the need to be accepted and the avoidance of failure perception. My peace and freedom seemed to elude me. An unending misery.
I became very good at playing this game of survival and managing misery. Until I received a subtle reminder about my original, childhood religion in the form of a spiritual awakening when my son was born. It was a calling. A remembering. A summoning to let go and let life be simple again. Summoning the courage to let go of the miseries and inherited beliefs that do not serve my purpose. Letting go of the illusions and falsehoods. Dropping my masks and being authentic to myself. A call to become more aware and embrace the One that has always been there all along: Me.
Everything is for my pleasure and exists for me to know myself. The most beautiful things in life are free. Live your life in accordance to what brings you peace.
I am my own religion. I am.