July 8, 2010


Yesterday morning I went to a yoga class for the first time in over a year or so. I tried going to yoga classes at the YMCA but those classes were less about mediation and listening to your body and more about WORKING OUT, YEAH! I've taken some challenging yoga classes- hard enough to be my only workout for the day- but those classes also contained a meditative aspect. With what I've been going through lately, I realized I've been missing the spirituality regular yoga practice provided me. And I think the lack of meditation has been a big problem in my life.

Catholicism served a truly wonderful purpose for me when I was growing up. I moved enough that the routine of Mass helped keep me grounded and it was a wonderful respite from Adolescence kicking my ass. But Mass, and nightly prayer, stopped filling a need for me when my parents got divorced. Sometimes I feel silly admitting that but it's true. When my family started falling apart it infuriated me. I know it's not God's fault, free will and all that, but every night- every fucking night- I thanked God for my family, my parents' happy marriage, and that they stay happy. The only person responsible for his or her happiness is that person, not God, and I had no idea that my parents weren't happy after all. I know that now. But it all made the futility of prayer a stark reality for me. It was as if someone slapped me in the face enabling me to think clearly, differently. I realized God is not in charge here.

More than the divorce happened. There was the cliche freshman religion class. There was learning about the different ways people worship. That you can believe in a power other than God. There was yoga. There was the total feeling of abandonment. What was I praying to? What was I praying for? I was praying to meditate, really. That's all prayer is. Meditation and self actualization. No matter how I felt about the involvement of God in my life, or even if He existed at all, I always believed in the power of self above all things. God helps those who help themselves, right? So is He really helping or is he reminding you He really can't?

The past eleven years have been an interesting journey for me. I've felt the most empowered and I feel like I can see things for what they truly are- a human construct. However, I've felt the most lost at the same time. I miss the guided meditation of group prayer and the sense of belonging. There is so much I miss from the literal Mass- the sign of peace, singing with others, the respectful quiet. Every once in a while I think about heading to the church down the street just to see if I feel anything anymore. Want to know why I don't? It's even sillier than being angry. I don't want to feel like I don't belong. That's exactly why I miss church but I don't miss God. He has nothing to do with it anymore.


Anonymous said...

Hi. I don't know where you live, but I encourage you to check out St. Vincent de Paul in Albany. It's on Madison, near the Saint Rose campus. Sorta looks like the Pantheon.
It's unlike most any Catholic church I've ever attended. There are white people, black people, Filipinos, rich, poor, gay, interracial couples. The choir smokes, with many musicians who are music instructors. And the best part is the homily. There's a priest, Fr. Richard Vosko, who actually has a brain and reads the NY Times and relates the readings to the real world.
I'm no proselytizer, but after reading your post, I thought, maybe this might be the place to find what you're missing. A friend.

Anonymous said...

PS. Oh yeah, St. Vincent's offers a yoga class on Monday evenings. How cool is that?

belleshpgrl said...

Actually I live a block away on Madison. I'll have to check it out. Thanks for the heads-up!