I'm not a god person
I established that aphorism when I was in grade two, primary school. I got my mother to write a note excusing me from Religious Instruction classes because even at that age, I knew that shit was not for me.
In the many years since then, I have variously been exposed to, seen or investigated a multitude of both religious and spiritual things, the outcome of which allowed me to change my sutra to:
I am not a religious person
God (for certain values of god) gets a second look, but all that religion malarkey is just not for me.
What's the difference?
I see it as spirituality vs religion; the belief in a set of universal laws vs man-made garbage; the territory vs the map.
We made religion. It's a set of protocols and procedures, many of which may have once had a significant and useful purpose, but have long since lost relevance; or we've lost the real understanding behind their purpose.
The problem I have with religion
Actually, I have many, but here's the essence of them all:
It tends to be used as a sheep herding tool to control the masses. Baaah.
It's the Spirituality, Stupid
In my early days I hated all things goddy so much that I threw the spirituality baby out with the religious bath water. It took years of sometimes guided, often blind exploration in the spiritual swamplands to finally stumble onto my own beliefs in this area. Spirituality is the essence of godness that survived scrutiny.
Again, what's the difference? Or, what's the essence? How about an example?
Take prayer for example. I don't know what you were told about prayer, whether you were told how to pray or what to pray for, but due to my complete lack of RI (thank god) in the formative years, I have absolutely nfi about the ins and outs of prayer. For many years, Prayer(tm) was just not a part of my daily routine. It never has been, isn't now and never will be! Well, at least, that's how I saw it until a few months ago (or years, I don't really know when I had the first inkling of this idea form in my little skull, but conscious acknowledgement of it can't be more than a few years at most).
I can't believe it's not prayer
Without realising it or referring to it as prayer, I have been praying; kicking it new-school.
What's wrong with the old prayer model?
I see two major faults:
1. maybe you're not told how to pray, OR WORSE
2. maybe you're told the wrong way to pray
If you're suffering from problem #1, there's a good chance you're wasting your time, or at worst, you're accidentally doing it the way sufferers of problem #2 were instructed to do so, causing more harm than good.
What's the wrong way to pray?
There are a bunch of different wrong ways, like focusing on the sad or bad parts of life, or worrying about the hows (details). Let's look at what I believe to be the right way to pray. It boils down to two fundamental aspects: gratitude and intentions.
Spend a little bit of time every day (or more often as appropriate) being grateful for the good things you have & have done, and the good people you know. Find something to be grateful about in all aspects of your life - work, colleagues, home, neighbourhood, circle of friends (both in RL and online), and even daily chores, like shopping, cooking, etc.
Spend even more time every day intending better. This can be done in a big session just before falling asleep at night (*cough* *prayer* *cough*), and in small JIT sessions throughout the day. JITI, or Just In Time Intending is such a fun little game to play: As you're walking to work (or moving toward some next event), envision a great outcome (or what Ferris calls Wild Success) for that next event.
When envisioning greatness, focus on the what (what you want and what you'll do with it once you've got it) and not on the how (the details of how to achieve what you want - let the universe fill in that part). Dooley suggests adding trivial details to add realism; spice it up.
I use a third intending session just before getting out of bed in the morning. I think to myself: What cool shit am I gonna do today? By thinking about the various awesome things I could be doing instead of just lying there in bed, I get excited about dragging my arse from under the warm quilt out into the cold morning. It works for me! I'm usually up around 05:30 eagerly diving into a half-finished programming book, trying out new languages, finishing off various coding projects, chatting with friends and enjoying that delicious first cup of coffee... FLML. :-D
Some of you will have smelt the Law of Attraction underpinnings in this post, or possibly older throwbacks to one of Covey or Robbins or Carnegie or Hill's books. It's all go