one girl’s perspective on life, neopaganism, veganism, politics, books, films, and… stuff.

Huh. Every now and then, you come across something – maybe something small, a word, a quote, a song lyric – that completely astounds you with it’s implications. Today, I came across less than a paragraph, in a blog, that amazed me with it’s profound nature:

…we avoid God because we are afraid that S/he will call us to become another Mother Teresa of Calcutta. We are comfortable with the lives that we have. We want change on our terms. In other words, we don’t really want change.

And it got me thinking; many people, especially when they are experiencing a particularly bleak period in their life, undergo what is perceived as a ‘loss of faith’. Even if they still believe in the divine, they lack the ability to connect with the sacred aspects of life, and usually lack even the desire to try. Until now, I often assumed that this came about due to one of several reasons:

  1. Dissatisfaction and listlessness with belief caused the bleak period to begin with, which then manifests itself in the absense of the sacred in life
  2. In a few cases, it is a self-destructive action, akin to taking up drinking or drugs, by depriving oneself of something that you’ve previously established to be conducive to a healthy/happy lifestyle (e.g. meditation, daily devotionals)
  3. A natural part of the cyclical, dynamic nature that defines NeoPaganism

But after reading these few words, I really do wonder; to what extent to we shy away from true worship and contact with the Gods, out of fear of what they might demand of us? Especially given that we now live in a society where the idea of ‘religion without sacrifice’ is the norm (how many people do you know who self-identify as Christians, but never ‘sacrifice’ their time to go to church, or even pray?), have we become so complacent that we’d rather never experience a real connection to/relationship with the Gods, simply in order to avoid a challenge.

Some of my previous ideas for the ’cause’ of spiritual lapses definitely apply to me; but I think that this one does too. How about you?

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Comments on: "A New Take On Spiritual Stagnation" (4)

  1. it seems also quite common that after an intense period of spiritual activity, there is what some call ‘the dark night of the soul’. it seems like there is something cyclical to it, though i don’t know what leads out of that dark night, or stagnation – esp. when you feel like you can’t really connect with the divine anymore, the stagnation grows..
    but there sure is also a certain amount of avoidance to it. some of us would be glad if they could live a normal life and wouldn’t have to become a desert hermit. some others, however, seek hermitage. i haven’t found out yet what’s the difference between them.

  2. Though it’s also interesting to note that the actual/original definition of “dark night of the soul” was proposed by Saint John of the Cross as being the emptiness and loss of self-identity that overtakes a person before they are filled with divine light/achieve enlightenment (he didn’t use those words, obviously, but you get the idea). To me that makes sense, then, that after intense spiritual activity, this ’emptiness’ would occur; the problem then is that people don’t know how to deal with it and therefore it becomes stagnation.

  3. I have a differnt view on this and it’s actually something I wrote about today on my ‘other’ pagan blog.

    I honestly do not think that a ‘dark night of the soul’ or a ‘crisis of faith’ is an expected cyclical requirement of a pagan path. I think it’s entirely related to a lack of faith in oneself, rather than a spiritual problem – it becomes a spiritual issue when it can’t be resovled.

    And given that I find it difficult to understand how anyone on a magickal path can indulge themselves in a crisis of ‘faith’ – it’s completely unnecessary.

    Have a read of my thoughts here as well…
    http://southernpagan.com/2009/01/23/crisis-of-faith/

  4. I agree that it’s a lack of faith/belief in oneself that causes someone to question their belief in deity – like psychological transference. I also agree that it’s not a requirement; I think that the idea of the Gods “testing us” is quite stupid, and mostly derived from Judeo-Christian dogma.

    Not sure about the indulgence thing. I read your blog, and if it’s someone just treating it as another trendy phase, then yes, I agree that it’s stupid and unnecessary. If it’s more like someone struggling in life in general, and therefore feeling unable to ‘connect’ with the Gods (granted that this feeling is generally the result of self-imposed isolation, as with people going through depressive episodes isolating themselves from human contact), I have a little more sympathy.

    I’m really flattered that you took the time to read my blog ^_^

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