I come from a traditional Black Baptist background. Practically growing up in the church, I’ve done a lot to serve it. From dancing and singing to ushering and speaking, I was very involved and proud of it. Through 5th grade, I had only attended private Christian schools. When I began attending public school, I was the girl respectfully inviting all of her friends to church events and services. It was all I had known and what I believed was the only way to go until about halfway through college, although the exposure to new thought frames really began in high school.
The public school system in Sacramento, California is highly diverse and I found myself floating amongst and fitting into various circles. Consequently, I was exposed to many frames of thinking which was initially a culture shock but still intriguing. From my peers, I was introduced to Numerology and the details several other religions. I still considered myself a devout Christian but I had started to develop questions. I was particularly thrown back when the First Lady of my church gave a brief Astrology lesson to a group of us girls on a trip as I was taught such things were Satanic. When I questioned it, she insisted that was not so. Needless to say, this prompted further questions.
In college, although predominantly Black environment, I was even further exposed to a plethora of belief systems and ideas. I could feel myself changing with each piece of new knowledge I’d obtain. A close friend of mine, Theo, was greatly responsible for this expansion. He would passionately fill me in on what he had leisurely studied about ancient traditions from all over the world. We would watch films and listen to music while deciphering the emotions and thought processes behind its creation. Ironically, we were both also a part of the campus church choir. We would discuss the differences between our Baptist and Catholic backgrounds and critique sermons. There were several others in my circle with different beliefs about God and the world and some who did not believe in God at all. It was a remarkably enlightening experience to have close friendships with such a smorgasbord of people. Such was the case with my instructors; no two seemed to have the same views on religion despite most coming from the same Catholic background. I took note of these things which slowly shifted my approach to spirituality but outside of adding meditation to my practices, my religious ideas were fundamentally the same until I met my fiance.
DaMarko is gnostic and extremely argumentative. He hit me with tough and triggering questions that really made me think outside of my emotions. I stayed grounded in what I knew initially but our debates encouraged me to study further. Truthfully, he reminded me a lot of my closest uncle (and probably the only relative) who did the same. Consequently, I developed my intellectual understanding of faith and religion. They both inspired me to consider the history of my heritage which also played a big part in how my initial faith came to be. They also encouraged me to look inside of myself for answers. All of these experiences prepared me for what I eventually received that completely change my views.
Theo, having remained my good friend and go-to for ethereal conversation, sent me a link to a video that changed my life. It was episode 12 of the Spirit Science series on YouTube. Presented in the fashion of a cartoon, it was seemingly childish at first but the more I listened the more engulfed I became. It touched on everything from ancient practices of spirituality and religion to the mayhem of modern day society and the philosophical theories that connect them. It helped me connect the dots in my own experiences and granted me a different understanding of everything I had been taught. I still rewatch it from time to time to catch the information I might not have before and I always pick up on something new.
In a nutshell, my spiritual journey has seen many phases. I believe the Universe set me up to be exactly where I am today. I no longer consider myself a Christian but I have an appreciation for what Christianity brought to my life. I also embrace other forms of religion and spirituality. Religion taught me discipline, spirituality taught me openness and connection. Now, life and human nature take on more evolved meanings for me and I want to share what I’ve learned with the world. Wherever you are in your journey, be there and embrace it. Learn what the Universe is attempting to teach you and you just might be surprised at where you end up. Namaste!