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Questioning Belief In A Higher Power


Question & Answer

Q: By Glenda

Beliefs: So, I have come to a point in my life where I no longer have a belief in a higher power. I was raised Southern Baptist and radiated to Methodist as an adult. After reading several of Dr. Spong’s books and essays I feel that what I had come to suspect is now true. Now I am lost, its as if there is not a Santa Claus. No being to look after me or my loved ones and perhaps no afterlife either. It’s not as if I am crushed but is it weird that I am still seeking “something”?. What now? On the other hand, there is relief that there is not a God that only favors some, all the contradicting rhetoric in the Bible now doesn’t have to make sense to me. Please help.
A: By Rev. Matthew Syrdal
Dear Glenda,

As a soul guide and human development coach I work with people of many different experiences and backgrounds. From my training and perspective I am hearing someone who is undergoing what might be called a spiritual ‘molt.’ A ‘shedding of the skin’ that no longer fits can be disorienting; and many people that tread this path describe it as being ‘lost.’
There are two primary stages of development that this lostness occurs in. The first is a deconstruction of one’s personal beliefs (theology, religion), the old paradigm and worldview no longer fits one’s experience of the world. The second is a deeper shift in one’s psychospiritual center of gravity. Here, cultural ways and often even religious beliefs are left behind in order to explore the deeper mysteries of nature and the soul. The problem is that our culture and religious institutions typically do not know how to support the journey of the Wanderer (the archetype representing a similar stage of development).

There are two primary tasks of these two stages (which may or may not resonate with you). The first is to cultivate deeper personal authenticity and sense of belonging in your life. Who are you really, in relation to your family, friends, church or culture? How do you make choices in support of your new authentic way of being in the world? What relationships will you need to say goodbye to, or habits will you need to end or change, in order to support your most authentic development moving forward? The task for the other stage of faith assumes your life and relationships already reflect your authenticity, that you have cultivated a good degree of personal wholeness, and now (in the language of myth) you are ready to sever from a life oriented around culture and religion even, and the path before you might be a plunge into the mysteries of nature and the soul. Many religions including Christianity give us images and stories of this journey that are rich in the perennial wisdom tradition, but in practice it is lost on western society.

You say that you are ‘not crushed’ and that you are ‘still seeking something.’ Feeling and experiencing, rather than merely thinking, are other windows of discovery, assisting us to deepen into any grief we might feel with the loss of our old identity/beliefs, and also amplify any longing we may feel that is inviting us into the unknown. There are a few ‘schools’ and ‘training programs’ out there, including my own work, that assist in the journey of individuation and psycho-spiritual growth through life stages that most churches and retreat centers aren’t designed to address. I would suggest giving yourself the permission and freedom of spiritual exploration, and finding a community that is healthy and resourced enough to assist you in your exploration. Blessings on your journey!
~ Rev. Matthew Syrdal

About the Author
Rev. Matthew Syrdal M.Div., lives in the front range of Colorado with his beautiful family. Matt is an ordained pastor in the Presbyterian church (USA), founder and lead guide of WilderSoul and Church of Lost Walls and co-founder of Seminary of the Wild. Matt speaks at conferences and guides immersive nature-based experiences around the country. In his years of studying ancient Christian Rites of Initiation, world religions, anthropology, rites-of-passage and eco- psychology Matt seeks to re-wild what it means to be human. His work weaves in myth and ceremony in nature as a way for people to enter into conversation with the storied world in which they are a part. Matt’s passion is guiding others in the discovery of “treasure hidden in the field” of their deepest lives cultivating deep wholeness and re-enchantment of the natural world to apprentice fully and dangerously to the kingdom of god. Matt has been coaching, and guiding since becoming a certified Wild Mind nature-based human development guide through the Animas Valley Institute and is currently training to become a soul initiation guide through the SAIP program.

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