There are times when I look back on my many years as a Jehovah’s Witness and have positive memories as well as thankful thoughts for some of the training given to me. So not all of those years were a waste nor negative. Among these things I’d add public speaking, confidence in approaching others as well as good study habits not learned well in school. They still benefit me today as I journey down this path in life and are used daily. But there are times when little memories creep in and wash over me, reminding me of some unpleasant occurrences from that past. Such as the abuse of other people when talking on the street about religious subjects or the way I was treated by people of other faiths when defending mine. There were times when those who were supposed to good “Christians” simply were the worst people they could be in defending their own faith.
These people were the ones I told myself I would never be like, promising this soul I’d train and meditate within so as to NOT become a monster who was part of a faith based group. As I slowly backed away from that group and it’s belief system and doctrines, I found the gap widening between what I used to staunchly believe and the new questions that cropped up. So many emotions and feelings that were moving through me and demanding attention. I got to work on dealing with them, addressing each question and answer in order to become the “new” James. OK, I was still partially the old James but the new and improved version was going to struggle through the intricacies of how to make this change without sacrificing the positive parts of the old me. I wanted to be more loving,non judgmental, kind and nice. Not that I wasn’t before, but there were parts of me trained to be aggressive in preaching, aggressive in my very conservative views and to be openly demonstrative against those forces of so called evil. What utter nonsense and crap that turned out to be.
What I wanted to become and steer myself towards was a simple and easier life, an existence that would propel me to being that new and improved version of the former man. As mentioned in previous sessions, I started to study different philosophies and works of others who had been in similar positions. Eventually I chose a path of both Western and Eastern thoughts and this has really worked well for me. I’m not beholden to a particular faith or religion at all but admit that Buddhist philosophies are perfect for me. As for organized religion…never again in this life or the next, if that is the case. I was taught that one can simply use a few excuses to deal with imperfection as a human and that has always bothered me a great deal. The cartoon below really sums it up. And the reason I pick on Christianity is that it was the faith I grew up in,was abandoned by and forced on. So this allows me that option.
What has happened to my own faith since losing the last one? I have gained a LOT more of that commodity and learned to live it,be it and impart as much as I can through actions . To love myself and others more, be kind as possible, non-judgmental in all aspects of life and to live as happy as I can EVERY DAY, EVERY MOMENT. Some people never have this luxury of time and I intend on taking advantage of it.