“And yet again we have come full circle.
Shed your layers, winter’s cycle has passed.”
-G. Kourtesiotis, 2017
Happy Easter… Happy Pascha.. Happy Passover… Happy Nothing.
It’s that time of year again, where many of us take part in the religious festivities symbolic with struggle, death, resurrection, and re-birth.
I am your Greek-Canadian kid raised Christian-Orthodox
Typically, I went to church every Sunday like most good pupils of the faith would. And just like most children, I was dragged along for my faith by my grandparents– less so much by my actual parents. As I slowly began to discover my own power to make choices for myself, I found myself falling out of my own religion. This of course took some time, but I just wasn’t satisfied with the answers to my questions of faith.
-- Shut up and don't ask questions [insert Greek accent].
Faith is a funny thing. Just have it and just believe it, and it will all become real.
The older I became, I didn't find faith alone would warrant anything other than simple dreams. Work is a necessary compliment to bridge faith into reality. But I am getting side tracked here, and crossing over topics...
HALLELUJAH, JUST BELIEVE!
Well, I couldn’t just do that. I could believe in something, but I was too skeptical to accept traditional religion exactly how it was presented to me.
I found myself under constant skepticism. Though I never considered myself an atheist, I was definitely agnostic. But I may have claimed to be one– given that long-standing joke.
An agnostic is just an atheist WITHOUT BALLS...
So I found myself as having transitioned from my traditional Christian Orthodoxy, to atheism-agnosticism– all at a relatively young age.
An Educational Regurgitation
One of favourite courses in highschool was World Religions. The teacher looked to have been in his 50’s, and definitely carried that hippie vibe to him. There was nothing airy about him— outside of his obvious lisp, lithp?.. sorry.
He was very eloquent and formal, but you can just tell that he had that dropping acid, beatles grooving, hippie persona of the 60’s/70’s buried somewhere behind the modern highschool teacher visage. Least bit to say, I liked him a lot. He was a good teacher and did what any good teacher would do– shape a students future– for what I feel, was for the better. His class was intriguing enough to open up my eyes to the many diverse cultural values/traditions relative to practiced faith and spirituality. World Religions was the kickstart of knowledge toward the truth I was looking for. Though still wildly confused, I enjoyed learning about different explanations about our time and place here on this plane.
My education progressed into university, an increased interest in exploring the arts. Though not the greatest student academically, I urged on through various philosophical, societal, psychological, astronomical, and scientifically based courses, in search for any answers relative to the human experience and purpose. As my studies trickled and trailed in and out of various concepts, I found that my spirituality/faith changed yet again.
The more I searched, studied, questioned, and pondered, I found myself easily aligning with the deist’s mentality.
de·ism ˈdēˌizəm,ˈdāˌizəm/ noun 1. belief in the existence of a supreme being, specifically of a creator who does not intervene in the universe. The term is used chiefly of an intellectual movement of the 17th and 18th centuries that accepted the existence of a creator on the basis of reason but rejected belief in a supernatural deity who interacts with humankind. -- Google.
By this point in my life, I was definitely convinced there being some form of supreme being– and I still called it God, just not openly. I did not want to harbor any confusion as to what God meant to me relative to the common conception– The almighty father beyond the clouds.
My belief was that there is definitely a supreme being, but very alien to us in nature… No I am not saying God is an alien. I am just saying that God is something unfathomable. In furthering this case, I could not believe that God would be so intricately involved in our lives like it is typically played out to be.
He made us and took off. Maybe he felt the need to sow his wild oats and left mother earth hanging in her orbit. Now we're stuck here as his fatherless children running amok in Gaia's playground. Sincerely, Blasphemy.
Anyway, this is where I stood or laid– in bed, constantly contemplating and rationalizing with existence– a deist for a very long time.
God, are you listening?
Post university, I began to experience through some really dark personal times– anxiety/depression, panic attacks, derealization, and complete cynicism– among other things.
This time was the sole inspiration for my initial journaling that eventually inspired my e-book. [LITTERMATURE ONLINE
In this, my broken life purpose — in pursuit of a professional football career– my relationship, my financial debts, my health– from the years of heavy training, obscene eating, and many head to head collisions— began to take its toll on me. My identity, and everything I knew about myself as a whole was shattering before me. I was disembodied, and very broken.
So, I began a new search. And with no shortage of people finding the almighty God in times of turmoil, I began to look for sources of healing through the classically divine approach. I too began to pray and quote the bible, I purposely began to practice positive thinking. I began a search for God in an attempt to solve my problems– But to no avail.
God Damn It, You Lost Me Again
Despite all the sh*t in my life, I could never fully buy into it. Something about it felt too forced, or too fake for my liking– it never felt right, and maybe that’s why it never worked for me. I didn’t fully believe in what I was practicing. And though I was VERY hopeful in my shallow approach, deep down I truly lacked faith.
And so I began to seek through different means, yet again. I started reconnecting with some of the knowledge I originally sought in highschool. I began to re-research topics drawn from many of the eastern practices– Buddhism, Taoism, Hinduism, etc…
I began a slow practice in mindfulness, and fueled my thoughts with as many articles, or books about the topic. I used mindfulness and bridged it through western psychological practices like Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT), biofeedback, etc… in order to jump the hurdles of my experience towards my personal pursuits of happiness. In this knowledge, I began an attempt to be my own GOD.
Besides, Who better to help myself-- than myself?
I began to find a new handle on my being. I kept at my personal practices to overcome my general fears and discomforts. In these attempts, I continuously tried to expose myself to uncomfortable situations to build resilience to them– my experience and my outlook progressed.
As I furthered this lifestyle and began reframing who I was, I found that I fell back onto my initial beliefs. And though I had no doubt for the traditional God, my failed outreach DID NOT put any more doubt on the concept by any means– I simply reassumed my deist perspectives.
It took a long time, but I felt rooted again.