I’m not big on contemplating The Heavens. I have a hard enough time thinking about my own existence on Earth to go pondering about how I’m going to be handling the next life, or “the next stage”. I’m trying to enjoy this one.
Spirituality and faith, they used to be easy. But now, not so much.
Even though Rubin had the stats to prove that spiritual people are relatively happier, this particular chapter of The Happiness Project was a tough sell for me. I used to be one of those church-going people, the kind that went on a regular basis. It was a weekly thing. I had the stand up-sit-down-stand-up-kneel-down-then-sit-down routine memorized. I knew the prayers by heart, didn’t even need to open the book. I had it down, packed. I even had my own money envelope. It had my name pre-printed on it and everything. But once my dad passed away that seemed to change matters. I was no longer attending weekly masses. I wasn’t really talking to God much.
Some people tend to get closer to God when tragic things like this happen, I sort of went to a Lieutenant Dan-State-of-Mind, the kind of mental state that was happening when he was on the shrimping boat with Forrest Gump and the huge hurricane hit. He was up there on the mast, battling and yelling at God, while the storm was rocking the boat.
This is where I find myself, spiritually. I struggle with faith because of the loss. And I’m sure there are others out there with their own faith struggles, but I guess Rubin brought up a good point. How can you have a Happiness Project, without involving spirituality and faith? Studies and statistics show …
I guess that just depends on your project.
Do I want to be in this Lt. Dan state of mind my whole life? I don’t know. Probably not. I’m not entirely off the grid. I do hold certain spiritual states close to my heart. Things like gratitude, mindfulness, and peace. I learned to appreciate “the glories of the present moments” in my ordinary life, like the creation of chocolate. There had to be some sort of divine intervention on that one, right?
But yeah, I’ve still got some sort of spirituality in there and I guess this chapter might strengthen what I have left, but I don’t know if I’ll be going back to the pre-printed-name-on-the-envelopes stage just yet. I understand that spiritually-rich people may be mentally and physically healthier, deal with stress better, have happy marriages and live longer. I get that Rubin checked all the studies on that one. And yes … yes of course I want that for myself. Of course I’m aware that when things get out of control, extremely chaotic, and catastrophic people tend to reach for something beyond themselves, beyond their own universe in search for some sort of understanding and comfort. Spirituality and faith in God bring a different dimension into life, but it’s taking me a little while longer to get through this post-traumatic growth phase. I reached out, but didn’t get an answer or any comfort. Thus my Lieutenant Dan state of mind.
But eventually the storm passed, and Lieutenant Dan got off the mast and jumped back in the water for a swim. I guess that may be the whole point of the chapter, to remind me to find a way back. I totally appreciated the effort, but truthfully, it’s gonna take some time.