Blog Post 3/17/20
|Write about an experience that made you very happy.
Working on my undergraduate degree in Comparative Religious Studies made me very happy. Learning about other religious traditions gave me a new perspective on life and meaning. My time at the University of Oregon lasted a couple of years as I had transferred in from a community college. While at the U of O, I explored different religious ideas, visited different religious services, and learned different ways of sacred practice. Spiritual seeking at this time was joyous for me. I was excited by the different ways of experiencing the Divine. One practice that changed my life was meditation.
When I studied Buddhism and Mystical Catholicism, I learned about meditation and mindfulness. Meditation changed my life because I had never felt closer to God than when I meditated. It is hard to describe that feeling. It was an ecstatic feeling – like my soul was lifted in me. It felt different than when I prayed. This was not talking to God; it was being with God. It was feeling God’s peace. I tend to be a worrier and I remember one night when my mind was racing. I had learned about Zen techniques in a class I took, and I attempted to use the technique of clearing my mind of all thoughts. It gave me a sense of peace and calm I had not experienced before. It was a relief. Buddhism and mystical Catholicism taught me to be present in the moment, be quiet with God, and to pray in a new way.
In addition to my classes at the University, I spent a summer studying feminist theology and Goddess spirituality. It was a time when I became exposed to the idea of using feminine language for God. Using feminine language for God helped me to feel closer to God. When God was masculine, God was distant for some reason. Feminine language made God feel closer because I could relate to Her. I identified with being a woman and so when God was also feminine, I felt connected to Her in a different way. From that time forward I started using feminine language for God and it allowed me to feel like a true child of God.
My time at the University of Oregon was a life-changing time and a time of self-discovery. I felt periods of deep joy at that time. It has helped guide my current spiritual practice and created a closeness to God. I still practice meditation and I still use feminine language for God. While I ended up staying in the Lutheran tradition I was raised in because it is home, I am proud I learned from other religious practices and understandings. I am happy I learned things that helped deepen my faith and closeness to God.