Yesterday in my car I caught a short blip on Oprah's Soul Series with Elizabeth Lesser. These are moments that I have been experiencing quite often lately when I know I was supposed to hear just that message from the universe. In this case, two authors, one a neuroscientist, the other a therapist describe how God changes your brain. Newberg, MD and Waldman conducted scientific studies, and tested brainwaves of all kinds of people with all kinds of beliefs. I was riding along la ti da and bam, this is what I hear: They described how fundamentalist beliefs which can give you comfort also make your overall outlook more angry, fearful and judgmental. But those who contemplate a loving God rather than a punitive God, have less anxiety, depression and increase their feelings of security, compassion and love.
Wow! It was so very specific to my listening ears! Scientific evidence of the feelings that I have had over the last 2-3 years but never put together in this concise way and my ears tingled as they spoke specifically about fundamentalist beliefs.
At a retreat a few years back, I met with a minister and we discussed that I needed to change how I viewed God because he felt out "there" and I have been intentionally working towards this. Even further, I had to work up the courage to make the appointment to sit with the pastor in the first place. I had not felt worthy of taking up her time. If I heard someone say that to me about themselves now, it would make me sad. I know I have come a long way and yet I aldo know I hope to continue the unlearning for years to come.
For years now, I have had to move past my exposure to God being presented as THE judge, that I needed to be saved from hell (and a walk down a church aisle could do that trick in an instant!), as well as talk of the devil, armageddon, etc. And I even grew up Methodist which could be one step away from Unitarianism, but it was a tiny church and there was much intermingling with a tiny Baptist church. As time passes, I have become more open, less judgmental and feel so much more secure with my own beliefs. But it all began with the first recognition that what I heard in the past did not sit well with me and that there was another way. If I had had more esteem I probably would have walked away from the church for good but I was too scared I would go straight to hell. Now I will spend the rest of my life embracing love over fear. That is what really works for me now.
I don't have time to read every book that interests me because there are so many, thus when I catch a little nugget of information like this that pertains so particularly to me, I am so thankful and in awe, that I heard exactly what I needed to hear especially when I didn't even know I needed to hear it. I am open to hearing from all sources now to heal myself. Namaste.