I love the idea of belonging to a religion. Think about it: a pathway to inner peace and hope. Sounds pretty good to me! But the reason I struggle to align myself with any religion – and this is just my personal opinion – is it feels like they want to tell me what to do, and make me feel like I’m a horrible person if I don’t follow those rules. This seems like a weird way to teach people how to love and to be better people – which is surely the point of a religion, no?
As an angel card reader I am sometimes asked what my religious beliefs are, and that’s not an easy question for me to address. Here is my attempt at an answer.
There’s no handy census category for my branch of spirituality. I guess I would describe myself as a non-church-going Christian – but that doesn’t really cover it, because some of the principles and values I live by have come from Buddhism.
When asked to describe his faith, the Dalai Lama says simply: “My religion is kindness.” I like this.
While doing angel card readings I refer to ‘the Universe’ because that is a non-confrontational term that speaks to a common awareness that there is a higher power guiding (but not controlling) us all. In my head I’m referring to God, but I’m very careful with the language I use, as so many people are put off by the shackles connected to that word – which I completely understand.
The God I talk to, pray to and lean on stands for love, forgiveness and kindness. He doesn’t protect me from the bad things that can happen in this world but he gives me the strength to navigate my way through them. He shows me where the light is and helps me find peace within myself. He makes me want to be a better person, not because I am a 'sinner' or any other such negative label, but because I am as entitled to love as anyone else and worthy of aspiring to be the best person I can be.
It didn’t go badly, either, to be fair. Instead of criticism and disapproval I got silence. Which I tried to fill with more explanations about why providing angel card readings to other people is important to me. Eventually I gave up and changed the subject (to the weather, if you must know, because that’s the safest possible conversation you can have with a New Zealander!). But after the call was over, I wondered – what was I looking for in that moment? Our relationships with our parents are hugely complicated things because
they’re loaded with so much expectation about roles and behaviour, on both sides. And religion can play a key role in these relationships because it underpins the way we treat the people we care about and sometimes shapes our expectations of how those people think and behave.
It’s interesting to me that, despite being a competent, fully
self-functioning woman in her mid-30s, I found myself looking for acceptance
from my father in this area. I didn’t need his approval, but I wanted it,
and I don’t know why. But I do know that there’s nothing to be gained by hoping
he might get on board with me following a spiritual path that is not in line
with his. It’s a wonderful thing to know your parents love you and are proud of
you no matter what you do – and I absolutely know that to be true. That is
enough. That is more than enough.