STEP FOUR CONTINUED: Accept that this Higher Power is understood in different ways and by different names in various religions and cultures, and open our lives to hearing the Divine Voice in any way it chooses to communicate to us.
Instruction: Open our senses.
When we open our lives to hear the Divine Voice, we most often think of an intellectual knowing or hearing. One aspect of religion that many enjoy and, perhaps, one of the things that makes religion enticing is the aspect of worship. There is the intellectual part that is often given in the verbal message by a religious leader, but there is also the emotional aspect that is found in music, ceremony, and the shared group experience. Let us not discount the emotional knowing of The Divine. There are many names for The Divine, but there are also many different feelings that lead us to believe, experience, and know Higher Power. Religions seem to specialize in this feeling aspect. I find myself moved by a baptismal service and by the thought that what was old can become new again, even if I might not completely agree with the theology. When we are often moved to tears of happiness produced by the beautiful climate of worship through song and traditions, we can find it difficult to leave a particular religion even though we may have experienced abuse.
To say that we can experience The Divine through nature seems like a cliché, but the reminder is good for us. I find that through the sights and sounds of the earth and its inhabitants that I can find meaning and purpose. From the smallest of insects to the amazing variety of ocean creatures to the mammoth and fierce beasts of the wild, it seems that something greater than mortal man has set the world on fire with creativity that goes beyond what we are capable of in our current existence. When we allow The Divine to communicate with us through a multitude of voices, feelings, and experiences, we understand why there have been so many attempts to define and develop religious systems that honor The Divine and that strive to bring us into a deeper communication and even a relationship with the Great Mystery.
Take a few moments to consider if your religious experience is satisfying your needs. Do you leave your experience with a greater feeling of love, peace, and forgiveness, or has your attendance begun to wane? What steps could you take to make the experience more meaningful? If you have been abused by the religion or the religious, can you remain and still enjoy worship? The only right answer here is the one that is true to you.
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Our purpose is to help individuals to heal who have been injured by religion or the religious. We welcome your comments and questions.