Project Conversion

Project Conversion


Alone on the Edge. Wanna Come?

posted by

I just spent the last hour on the phone telling one of my best friends and Buddhist Mentor that I’m losing my mind.

Best Friend: “What’s going on, man?”

Andrew: “I’m having independent thought, and I’m going nuts.”

Best Friend: “Well what’s so wrong with…oh, I get it. That sucks dude.”

Don’t feel bad if you don’t get it right away. He understands because I blab to him on a daily basis. In fact, he helped me plan Project Conversion last year.  How about a round of applause to anonymous best friend!

So, what’s going on? When I planned this adventure, I expected that I might need a little breather–a halftime–somewhere in the middle. Nothing wrong with that, right? Wrong.

Here’s the deal, in two parts.

1) I told you kind folks that I would spend the month taking it easy and looking into different “fringe” elements of religion. We are doing that, I promise, but I’ve noticed something: you guys don’t really like…information–at least, not according to my site stats. In fact, whenever I post something info-laden, such as interviews or a religion’s history, the “views” number hits bottom. It also happens with my end-of-month video. Probably because the production value sucks, but hey, I’m just a poor kid with Windows Movie Maker trying to make the world less twitchy.

Anyway, it got me thinking: These people, especially the folks who have joined the Facebook Congregation, aren’t coming to Project Conversion for information about religion…they are coming to see me live these religions. You want to see what I’m going to look like, how I’ll think, what sort of thing I’ll drag my wife and kids into…that’s Project Conversion!

Am I right or am I totally off? Pretty close? Okay, cool. Gimmie a high-five. Moving on…

This first point means that while I am going into these so-called “fringe” elements, the content will be limited–because I’m not experiencing these things–I’m not living and breathing them, and that’s not what this is about. The fact that my wife won’t let me join a cult also puts a damper on things. So here’s the plan: Two…three posts maximum with a categorical listing of different traditions. Each listing on the page will have a very brief introduction with a link (if available). This way, I get to keep my promise to you without boring you to death the whole month. How’s that sound? Really, let me know.

2) The interesting part. If I would have known in the planning stages how I feel right now, I would not have inserted a “halftime” point for June. I’m going nuts. Here’s why…

For five months I have lived completely faithful to each religion. I believe what I’m supposed to believe, act the way I’m supposed to act, and in some cases look the way the faithful do. I’ve received strange looks in public, been avoided, the subject of conversation with strangers, and a curiosity for you. For five months, I have been a Hindu, a Baha’i, a Zarathushti, a Jew, and a Buddhist. Understand, I’ve loved every single moment, but today I realized one thing that I have not been all this time…

Andrew.

That is, until this month. For the first time in five months, I’ve inhibited independent thought. This isn’t to say that the religions I’ve practiced do not invite one to think freely. What it means is that for every month, my view becomes biased by that religion. If I’m a Baha’i, I think like a Baha’i. If I’m a Jew, I think like a Jew. Now that I’m in June without a religion, I’m all alone, because to think in any of the ways I have so far this year would be unfair.

For five months I’ve buried my subconscious with the intense immersion process that is Project Conversion. And now, with nothing to keep these thoughts in check, my subconscious is blowing its top like Pandora’s Box. What does this mean? It means that I sit outside and stare at the sidewalk and contemplate things like “perfection”, “infinity”, and even the existence of God without any lens or filter through which to view them. It means the flood gates are suddenly wide open and questions that have built up for months now burst at the seams. Each religion offered a perspective and a way to keep these in check. Now, I’m not only victim to my own rampant thoughts, I find myself craving the teachings.

I want my spiritual opium.

I’m experiencing religious withdrawal, and to be fair to each tradition, I cannot spend time with any of them for relief. But I’ve already cheated. I’ve taken hits from the faiths. Earlier today, I craved prayers so I flipped through my Baha’i book of prayers. No, I didn’t actually recite them; just the sound of them in my mind gave me temporary solace. Now, close to midnight, I’m wrapped up in my Buddhist robes.

What does this mean? It means that June truly is a month of “fringe,” only I didn’t realize that I was the one on the edge. Now that I’ve stepped away from everything I’ve learned and experienced, I’ve created my own periphery–looking outside in from the cold of non-faith–and it’s lonely out here because I’ve created a dependence, a habit.

I think this experience, while uncomfortable, raises questions about why some of use adopt a faith. Is it for security–emotional, social or otherwise? Is it because you searched so long for answers that once you’ve found something comfortable you were too exhausted to deny it? Maybe it’s fear of the unknown, or, in some cases, fear of a terrifying reality. Perhaps it’s because you can’t handle the idea of emptiness, that this is it, and so you cling to whatever semblance of meaning you run into. Or maybe, just maybe, you fall in love with a certain philosophy, its community, or God.

Regardless of what your reasons for faith are, know that this month, as I am on the outside looking in, that I envy you. Your faith (or even atheistic compassion) is precious. I challenge you this month to do everything in your power to strengthen it, nurture it, share it with loved ones. Meanwhile, I will be here on the wings, waiting to join you by the campfire again.



Advertisement
Comments read comments(92)
post a comment

Pingback: b.rox » Blog Archive » Missing Monday

Pingback: b.rox » Blog Archive » Missing Monday

Pingback: b.rox » Blog Archive » Rogue Spirituality

Pingback: b.rox » Blog Archive » Rogue Spirituality

Anonymous

posted June 15, 2011 at 2:11 pm


One of those things where you just have to become comfortable with yourself, huh?



report abuse
 

Anonymous

posted June 15, 2011 at 2:11 pm


One of those things where you just have to become comfortable with yourself, huh?



report abuse
 

Lauren Elizabeth

posted June 14, 2011 at 5:34 pm


I think faith is unfair, too. Really unfair.
But it’s kind of all we have…

Unless you choose not to have faith in anything. And then, I guess you’re okay.



report abuse
 

Lauren Elizabeth

posted June 14, 2011 at 5:34 pm


I think faith is unfair, too. Really unfair.
But it’s kind of all we have…

Unless you choose not to have faith in anything. And then, I guess you’re okay.



report abuse
 

Anonymous

posted June 14, 2011 at 1:25 pm


We are naturally social creatures, so I guess there’s no way to escape that. I think what helps is just being around folks who accept you for who you are. Our conversation about this actually prompted today’s post, so I thank you for that. I look forward to your thoughts and thank you for your involvement in this community…even if it cannot satisfy everything you are looking for.



report abuse
 

Anonymous

posted June 14, 2011 at 1:25 pm


We are naturally social creatures, so I guess there’s no way to escape that. I think what helps is just being around folks who accept you for who you are. Our conversation about this actually prompted today’s post, so I thank you for that. I look forward to your thoughts and thank you for your involvement in this community…even if it cannot satisfy everything you are looking for.



report abuse
 

Anonymous

posted June 14, 2011 at 1:22 pm


I understand. It’s not an easy life, but rewarding for those with that sort of disposition. I imagine folks of the monastic orders would need such a sense of humor!



report abuse
 

Anonymous

posted June 14, 2011 at 1:22 pm


I understand. It’s not an easy life, but rewarding for those with that sort of disposition. I imagine folks of the monastic orders would need such a sense of humor!



report abuse
 

Anonymous

posted June 14, 2011 at 1:19 pm


Because then it presents me with that horrible “now what?” moment. Eternal rest would actually be a hell for me. But hey, to each their own ; )



report abuse
 

Anonymous

posted June 14, 2011 at 1:19 pm


Because then it presents me with that horrible “now what?” moment. Eternal rest would actually be a hell for me. But hey, to each their own ; )



report abuse
 

Anonymous

posted June 14, 2011 at 1:18 pm


Thanks Karen. I love my river too.



report abuse
 

Anonymous

posted June 14, 2011 at 1:18 pm


Thanks Karen. I love my river too.



report abuse
 

Editor B

posted June 14, 2011 at 12:45 pm


Why is it a problem anyhow? Good question. The idea of being part of an explicitly religious community is waaay outside my comfort zone.

And yet…

Since the birth of my daughter I’ve found myself stretching and growing in ways that surprise me. Community is important to me, and so I’m very active in my community, but it’s all so damn fragmented. Always looking at pieces and never the whole. Ritual and tradition have great power to make meaning of life, though many of the big secular ones in our society leave me cold, or worse. It would be nice to be able to celebrate holidays that truly reflect the values we cherish. There’s a strength in numbers, too, which might provide a little buffer against those who see the world differently. That might make it a little easier to walk our path from day to day.

I’m afraid that’s rather incoherent. Clearly a work in progress.



report abuse
 

Editor B

posted June 14, 2011 at 12:45 pm


Why is it a problem anyhow? Good question. The idea of being part of an explicitly religious community is waaay outside my comfort zone.

And yet…

Since the birth of my daughter I’ve found myself stretching and growing in ways that surprise me. Community is important to me, and so I’m very active in my community, but it’s all so damn fragmented. Always looking at pieces and never the whole. Ritual and tradition have great power to make meaning of life, though many of the big secular ones in our society leave me cold, or worse. It would be nice to be able to celebrate holidays that truly reflect the values we cherish. There’s a strength in numbers, too, which might provide a little buffer against those who see the world differently. That might make it a little easier to walk our path from day to day.

I’m afraid that’s rather incoherent. Clearly a work in progress.



report abuse
 

Debi Dusseault

posted June 13, 2011 at 11:01 pm


pure exhaustion and my left knee couldn’t take it.  I saw how exhausted the professed nuns were all of the time and I knew that I could’t physically continue in the vocation.  I am still in regular contact with them and see mother prioress and a few others in the parlor about once a year.  They are the funniest people ever! I have never laughed so much in my life as when I was cloistered with those wonderful people.



report abuse
 

Debi Dusseault

posted June 13, 2011 at 11:01 pm


pure exhaustion and my left knee couldn’t take it.  I saw how exhausted the professed nuns were all of the time and I knew that I could’t physically continue in the vocation.  I am still in regular contact with them and see mother prioress and a few others in the parlor about once a year.  They are the funniest people ever! I have never laughed so much in my life as when I was cloistered with those wonderful people.



report abuse
 

Theresa Emily Ann Byczek

posted June 13, 2011 at 9:46 pm


why wouldn’t you want the answers at the end? it’s like finding out what was right and wrong after taking a test. it would be cool to find out exactly what is! and then hopefully there would be love and forgiveness for any mistakes we had made, as we join with God and everything else at the end.



report abuse
 

Theresa Emily Ann Byczek

posted June 13, 2011 at 9:46 pm


why wouldn’t you want the answers at the end? it’s like finding out what was right and wrong after taking a test. it would be cool to find out exactly what is! and then hopefully there would be love and forgiveness for any mistakes we had made, as we join with God and everything else at the end.



report abuse
 

Karen

posted June 13, 2011 at 9:38 pm


To me, the most interesting aspect of Project Conversion is definitely “living the religion”.  No matter how much you read, a religion can only really be understood from the inside.  What makes your adventure worth following is that you try to get into the mind-set, to be a real practitioner of that religion for the month — to be part of the community, to say its prayers, live in its mental universe. Oh, and I like your videos, simple as they are.  I love your river.

I hope you enjoy your little break — no doubt you needed one. 



report abuse
 

Karen

posted June 13, 2011 at 9:38 pm


To me, the most interesting aspect of Project Conversion is definitely “living the religion”.  No matter how much you read, a religion can only really be understood from the inside.  What makes your adventure worth following is that you try to get into the mind-set, to be a real practitioner of that religion for the month — to be part of the community, to say its prayers, live in its mental universe. Oh, and I like your videos, simple as they are.  I love your river.

I hope you enjoy your little break — no doubt you needed one. 



report abuse
 

Anonymous

posted June 13, 2011 at 8:12 pm


Haha Project Conversion is getting into my head too! Jokes aside, I’m glad my ramblings have meaning for you. Afterall, I’m just another self-aware, carbon based lifeform trying to figure things out.

As for the rogue issue, I think the reason we sometimes feel uncomfortable with this status is because the status quo of the religious world wants us into the idea of conformity. Structure is fine for some folks, but not for others. We are social creatures though, so your longing for community is understandable. To be honest, the Project Conversion community is the best spiritual one I’ve ever been a part of, and that’s simply because of all the experience and free thought going on. I’m never judged for my mistakes and we all just kind of talk ourselves into whatever healing we need at the moment. It’s nice, so thanks to you too.

I don’t know what it means for your family. But I would ask, why is it a problem to start with? Do you feel you need a religious label? That’s fine if it’s the case, however I wouldn’t sign up and get a name tag just for comfort sake. One thing I’ve learned so far is that the path is far from comfortable, but that sensation reminds me that I’m moving, that I’m growing. If you aren’t challenged and growing every day, you might want to check up on what you’re doing.



report abuse
 

Anonymous

posted June 13, 2011 at 8:12 pm


Haha Project Conversion is getting into my head too! Jokes aside, I’m glad my ramblings have meaning for you. Afterall, I’m just another self-aware, carbon based lifeform trying to figure things out.

As for the rogue issue, I think the reason we sometimes feel uncomfortable with this status is because the status quo of the religious world wants us into the idea of conformity. Structure is fine for some folks, but not for others. We are social creatures though, so your longing for community is understandable. To be honest, the Project Conversion community is the best spiritual one I’ve ever been a part of, and that’s simply because of all the experience and free thought going on. I’m never judged for my mistakes and we all just kind of talk ourselves into whatever healing we need at the moment. It’s nice, so thanks to you too.

I don’t know what it means for your family. But I would ask, why is it a problem to start with? Do you feel you need a religious label? That’s fine if it’s the case, however I wouldn’t sign up and get a name tag just for comfort sake. One thing I’ve learned so far is that the path is far from comfortable, but that sensation reminds me that I’m moving, that I’m growing. If you aren’t challenged and growing every day, you might want to check up on what you’re doing.



report abuse
 

Anonymous

posted June 13, 2011 at 7:59 pm


Faith is such a tricky thing. There are times when I feel as though the idea of faith is unfair. If the divine is all-knowing, and thus surely knows us, though we are left with only the tool of belief, it seems one-sided. But, I suppose, it isn’t for the faithful who are “sure.”

Thanks for reading the posts!



report abuse
 

Anonymous

posted June 13, 2011 at 7:59 pm


Faith is such a tricky thing. There are times when I feel as though the idea of faith is unfair. If the divine is all-knowing, and thus surely knows us, though we are left with only the tool of belief, it seems one-sided. But, I suppose, it isn’t for the faithful who are “sure.”

Thanks for reading the posts!



report abuse
 

Editor B

posted June 13, 2011 at 5:50 pm


I read this comment a couple nights ago and it really stuck with me — especially the phrase, “the spiritual rogue.” But when I tried to find it the next morning I couldn’t. I started to think I dreamed it, which kind of had me freaking. Project Conversion is really getting into my head! It has given me some solace to find the comment after all. I missed it because of a typo, but it’s there all right.

You’ve made me realize that I’ve been a spiritual rogue for most of my life — all my adult life — but also that I have been longing for spiritual community. I’ve been beyond the fringe but the fringe is beckoning. There’s a tension there, obviously, that I’m still trying to negotiate. I’ve been a rogue wanderer so long I’m not sure I can be anything else. But what does this mean for my family, for my daughter who is only three years old? These are questions I’d be wrestling with, regardless, but it’s almost eerie how your recent postings have resonated with me, ripened certain thoughts, and provoked me to seek greater clarity.

So, thanks again.



report abuse
 

Editor B

posted June 13, 2011 at 5:50 pm


I read this comment a couple nights ago and it really stuck with me — especially the phrase, “the spiritual rogue.” But when I tried to find it the next morning I couldn’t. I started to think I dreamed it, which kind of had me freaking. Project Conversion is really getting into my head! It has given me some solace to find the comment after all. I missed it because of a typo, but it’s there all right.

You’ve made me realize that I’ve been a spiritual rogue for most of my life — all my adult life — but also that I have been longing for spiritual community. I’ve been beyond the fringe but the fringe is beckoning. There’s a tension there, obviously, that I’m still trying to negotiate. I’ve been a rogue wanderer so long I’m not sure I can be anything else. But what does this mean for my family, for my daughter who is only three years old? These are questions I’d be wrestling with, regardless, but it’s almost eerie how your recent postings have resonated with me, ripened certain thoughts, and provoked me to seek greater clarity.

So, thanks again.



report abuse
 

Kirei03

posted June 13, 2011 at 1:19 pm


It’s really hard not having a frame of reference…
I run into that problem ALOT in my spiritual life. There are times where I naturally am inclined toward the Bible because it’s what I grew up with. And other times where I am inclined toward the Qur’an because of my experience as a Muslim – and then sometimes, I just get totally frustrated and try to think through things objectively – but you can’t because there is no objective proof or evidence for the spiritual. Everything – EVERYTHING – has to be taken on complete faith that what you believe is true. There’s no way to prove it.

And for the record – I read all your informational posts! But I don’t watch the videos because I’m usually reading your posts at work, and I can’t watch non-work related videos on my work computer. I always say to myself that I will watch when I get home – but I get home so late. And I have housework to do, dinner to make… housewife stuff lol.
:)



report abuse
 

Kirei03

posted June 13, 2011 at 1:19 pm


It’s really hard not having a frame of reference…
I run into that problem ALOT in my spiritual life. There are times where I naturally am inclined toward the Bible because it’s what I grew up with. And other times where I am inclined toward the Qur’an because of my experience as a Muslim – and then sometimes, I just get totally frustrated and try to think through things objectively – but you can’t because there is no objective proof or evidence for the spiritual. Everything – EVERYTHING – has to be taken on complete faith that what you believe is true. There’s no way to prove it.

And for the record – I read all your informational posts! But I don’t watch the videos because I’m usually reading your posts at work, and I can’t watch non-work related videos on my work computer. I always say to myself that I will watch when I get home – but I get home so late. And I have housework to do, dinner to make… housewife stuff lol.
:)



report abuse
 

Anonymous

posted June 13, 2011 at 9:32 am


Aye sir.



report abuse
 

Anonymous

posted June 13, 2011 at 9:32 am


Aye sir.



report abuse
 

Anonymous

posted June 13, 2011 at 9:31 am


Could very well be…



report abuse
 

Anonymous

posted June 13, 2011 at 9:31 am


Could very well be…



report abuse
 

Anonymous

posted June 13, 2011 at 9:30 am


I think it’s about both, at least I’ve set it up that way. In my experience with spiritual/religious blogs, the writer usually sets an air about themselves as somehow enlightened or on a higher status than their audience. Here, things are different. I’m just a traveler–like everyone else. The only difference is that I’m more than likely putting myself through more than the average bear.

By the way, it would be inaccurate to assume that Buddhists are less caring than most. A true Buddhist is actually nothing but compassion. Ever met a mean, uncaring Buddhist? My wife had a hard time with Buddhist for personal reasons (potential atheism).



report abuse
 

Anonymous

posted June 13, 2011 at 9:30 am


I think it’s about both, at least I’ve set it up that way. In my experience with spiritual/religious blogs, the writer usually sets an air about themselves as somehow enlightened or on a higher status than their audience. Here, things are different. I’m just a traveler–like everyone else. The only difference is that I’m more than likely putting myself through more than the average bear.

By the way, it would be inaccurate to assume that Buddhists are less caring than most. A true Buddhist is actually nothing but compassion. Ever met a mean, uncaring Buddhist? My wife had a hard time with Buddhist for personal reasons (potential atheism).



report abuse
 

Stefin Bradbury

posted June 13, 2011 at 7:03 am


Don’t forget to breathe… :)



report abuse
 

Stefin Bradbury

posted June 13, 2011 at 7:03 am


Don’t forget to breathe… :)



report abuse
 

Badgerb

posted June 12, 2011 at 3:40 pm


Before I became a Bahai, I described the experience you are going through to a lady. She replied,”You are wrestling with an angel.”  The concept being that portion of ‘self’ not wanting to change–even if it is a good thing–and the appointed guide urging you onward. That’s not quite it, but I didn’t want to leave you with just the ‘angel’ aspect of the explanation.



report abuse
 

Badgerb

posted June 12, 2011 at 3:40 pm


Before I became a Bahai, I described the experience you are going through to a lady. She replied,”You are wrestling with an angel.”  The concept being that portion of ‘self’ not wanting to change–even if it is a good thing–and the appointed guide urging you onward. That’s not quite it, but I didn’t want to leave you with just the ‘angel’ aspect of the explanation.



report abuse
 

Beth Irwin

posted June 12, 2011 at 12:26 pm


Looks like you’ve gotten into the habit of independent investigation of the truth.

It appears you are feeling the impulse to turn toward God, but don’t have a method for the month. It’s as difficult to turn away from the Creator as it is for a plant to turn away from sunlight or for you to do without food and drink. So it’s natural to be uncomfortable.

You are realizing that this isn’t all about Andrew, whoever he is growing into. You have a wife and children who are an integral part of you and who reflect back the Creator. Thus you feel impelled to reconnect with them. Your family is part of the journey as well – how they integrate into the experience. Because you cannot make the journey without them and still remain true to yourself and the teachings of the vast majority of the religions about marriage and what it means. I suspect Buddhism hurt the most because it’s the most individualistic and least about caring for others, which is a huge part of being married.

You’re also coming to understand that religions are like different versions of computer operating systems. Put them on, take them off, they will all perform the same basic function of pointing you in a higher direction. Some may even be more comfortable than the latest version, because there’s less of a learning curve than moving on, so you stick with the familiar. But faith is the hardware/hardwired impulse that keeps you looking for the Creator whether it’s Windows, Apple or Linux. The key is looking for the latest release as it will do the most for the development the systems are at NOW,  at this point in time.

One small plea from a reader. Many of your readers are conditioned to be told what to think and believe. It’s comfortable for them. So when you give the information on the religion you’re testing or your end of month video, it requires them to work harder. They have to actually open their minds and learn something, perhaps even question their own comfortable beliefs, rather than sit back and be entertained by your journey, like armchair travelers. I suspect this is when they turn away, because it requires them to do some work as well.

So you must decide. Is Project Conversion about entertaining us with your journey or is it about challenging us to learn and grow and question and perhaps learn something that will be a seed for a future journey of our own? Only you can answer – it’s your project.



report abuse
 

Beth Irwin

posted June 12, 2011 at 12:26 pm


Looks like you’ve gotten into the habit of independent investigation of the truth.

It appears you are feeling the impulse to turn toward God, but don’t have a method for the month. It’s as difficult to turn away from the Creator as it is for a plant to turn away from sunlight or for you to do without food and drink. So it’s natural to be uncomfortable.

You are realizing that this isn’t all about Andrew, whoever he is growing into. You have a wife and children who are an integral part of you and who reflect back the Creator. Thus you feel impelled to reconnect with them. Your family is part of the journey as well – how they integrate into the experience. Because you cannot make the journey without them and still remain true to yourself and the teachings of the vast majority of the religions about marriage and what it means. I suspect Buddhism hurt the most because it’s the most individualistic and least about caring for others, which is a huge part of being married.

You’re also coming to understand that religions are like different versions of computer operating systems. Put them on, take them off, they will all perform the same basic function of pointing you in a higher direction. Some may even be more comfortable than the latest version, because there’s less of a learning curve than moving on, so you stick with the familiar. But faith is the hardware/hardwired impulse that keeps you looking for the Creator whether it’s Windows, Apple or Linux. The key is looking for the latest release as it will do the most for the development the systems are at NOW,  at this point in time.

One small plea from a reader. Many of your readers are conditioned to be told what to think and believe. It’s comfortable for them. So when you give the information on the religion you’re testing or your end of month video, it requires them to work harder. They have to actually open their minds and learn something, perhaps even question their own comfortable beliefs, rather than sit back and be entertained by your journey, like armchair travelers. I suspect this is when they turn away, because it requires them to do some work as well.

So you must decide. Is Project Conversion about entertaining us with your journey or is it about challenging us to learn and grow and question and perhaps learn something that will be a seed for a future journey of our own? Only you can answer – it’s your project.



report abuse
 

Anonymous

posted June 12, 2011 at 10:36 am


Glad to have you along Teresa. Religion in its most basic form appears to be as such, and a tool for reaching, not a final destination. Since my Buddhism month I do have a new appreciation for the avenue of atheism. More on that later ; )



report abuse
 

Anonymous

posted June 12, 2011 at 10:36 am


Glad to have you along Teresa. Religion in its most basic form appears to be as such, and a tool for reaching, not a final destination. Since my Buddhism month I do have a new appreciation for the avenue of atheism. More on that later ; )



report abuse
 

Anonymous

posted June 12, 2011 at 10:33 am


It is indeed everywhere, the Hindus have taught me. Thanks for the reminder.



report abuse
 

Anonymous

posted June 12, 2011 at 10:33 am


It is indeed everywhere, the Hindus have taught me. Thanks for the reminder.



report abuse
 

Anonymous

posted June 12, 2011 at 10:30 am


Thanks Debi. I’m reminded of the story of the footprints in the sand. What brought you out of the life of a nun?



report abuse
 

Anonymous

posted June 12, 2011 at 10:30 am


Thanks Debi. I’m reminded of the story of the footprints in the sand. What brought you out of the life of a nun?



report abuse
 

Anonymous

posted June 12, 2011 at 10:28 am


Thank you Cindy. I enjoy learning from all of you as well!



report abuse
 

Anonymous

posted June 12, 2011 at 10:28 am


Thank you Cindy. I enjoy learning from all of you as well!



report abuse
 

Heather Bowen

posted June 12, 2011 at 12:51 am


I usually don’t comment on here, oh trust me, he hears my opinion, but tonight I think I’ll make a comment. My humble suggestion is get back to the original goal of this month. Relaxation, reflection and enjoying your family. Have fun. Live in each moment as it is given to you. I think religion is something that if you try too hard to see, you’ll miss it. In my opinion, God-for me (or whoever/whatever you choose to believe in) is all around. Worship doesn’t only happen in a church/sacred building. It doesn’t have to involve reading holy books, chanting, prayers, meditations. Everything you do is an act of worship if it is for the betterment of those around you. So don’t stress. Lighten up, look around and take in all the incredible sights around you.



report abuse
 

Heather Bowen

posted June 12, 2011 at 12:51 am


I usually don’t comment on here, oh trust me, he hears my opinion, but tonight I think I’ll make a comment. My humble suggestion is get back to the original goal of this month. Relaxation, reflection and enjoying your family. Have fun. Live in each moment as it is given to you. I think religion is something that if you try too hard to see, you’ll miss it. In my opinion, God-for me (or whoever/whatever you choose to believe in) is all around. Worship doesn’t only happen in a church/sacred building. It doesn’t have to involve reading holy books, chanting, prayers, meditations. Everything you do is an act of worship if it is for the betterment of those around you. So don’t stress. Lighten up, look around and take in all the incredible sights around you.



report abuse
 

Teresa

posted June 11, 2011 at 5:50 pm


Wow Andrew! You know I have been following your path during Project Conversion, and from your writings above, I see your conclusions approaching where mine did, during my personal walk with many variations of faith, looking for the truth. I am happy to say that many years later, I have chosen none. The truth I’ve found was simple. Religion was created by man, to suit each walk according to the leaders…leaving the God factor, “In Question.” I am still curious as to where this will lead you, once you’ve completed your quest. Please do check out the athiest equation…as you might be pleasantly surprised by the foundations the true athiest is really based on. They believe in nothing, except fact…already proven. Although they do always leave room for new learning as science continuosly discovers new data.



report abuse
 

Teresa

posted June 11, 2011 at 5:50 pm


Wow Andrew! You know I have been following your path during Project Conversion, and from your writings above, I see your conclusions approaching where mine did, during my personal walk with many variations of faith, looking for the truth. I am happy to say that many years later, I have chosen none. The truth I’ve found was simple. Religion was created by man, to suit each walk according to the leaders…leaving the God factor, “In Question.” I am still curious as to where this will lead you, once you’ve completed your quest. Please do check out the athiest equation…as you might be pleasantly surprised by the foundations the true athiest is really based on. They believe in nothing, except fact…already proven. Although they do always leave room for new learning as science continuosly discovers new data.



report abuse
 

Joan Anderson

posted June 11, 2011 at 5:30 pm


Enjoy the journey. : )



report abuse
 

Joan Anderson

posted June 11, 2011 at 5:30 pm


Enjoy the journey. : )



report abuse
 

susan

posted June 11, 2011 at 5:11 pm


Yes, I like Chris’s thoughts here. Perhaps seek the nature of God in the laughter of your children, the arms of your wife. It’s there, you know.



report abuse
 

susan

posted June 11, 2011 at 5:11 pm


Yes, I like Chris’s thoughts here. Perhaps seek the nature of God in the laughter of your children, the arms of your wife. It’s there, you know.



report abuse
 

Debi Dusseault

posted June 11, 2011 at 4:32 pm


I’m here to see you experience the religions as well as the information that you give.  I can completely relate to what you are going through right now in your spiritual withdrawal.  I was a Carmelite postulant in an enclosed, comtemplative community about 6 years ago.  I lived the regimented, silent, prayerful, joyous life of a nun then I decided to leave and came back into “the world”.  It was not (and still isn’t) easy for me at all and I recognize some of your struggles this month.  I ended up leaving Catholicism even though my heart is very much Carmelite.  I searched and questioned for years and felt as if I had lost my connection to God and lost my meaning for existence. I liken it to the dark night of the soul that John of the Cross spoke about and in other mystical Carmelite writings.  I believe that it is during these times that the most spiritual growth and closeness to God occurs.  It is hard to tell when you are in the midst of it, only when you can look back and see that God was very close to you all along this tough time.



report abuse
 

Debi Dusseault

posted June 11, 2011 at 4:32 pm


I’m here to see you experience the religions as well as the information that you give.  I can completely relate to what you are going through right now in your spiritual withdrawal.  I was a Carmelite postulant in an enclosed, comtemplative community about 6 years ago.  I lived the regimented, silent, prayerful, joyous life of a nun then I decided to leave and came back into “the world”.  It was not (and still isn’t) easy for me at all and I recognize some of your struggles this month.  I ended up leaving Catholicism even though my heart is very much Carmelite.  I searched and questioned for years and felt as if I had lost my connection to God and lost my meaning for existence. I liken it to the dark night of the soul that John of the Cross spoke about and in other mystical Carmelite writings.  I believe that it is during these times that the most spiritual growth and closeness to God occurs.  It is hard to tell when you are in the midst of it, only when you can look back and see that God was very close to you all along this tough time.



report abuse
 

Cindy Opong

posted June 11, 2011 at 4:21 pm


Oh, I love that and will have to ponder it more! Since becoming Baha’i, I’ve come to believe that after death we do continue to grow & progress in our quest to get closer to what I call God. Yet I just now realized that I’ve also continued to believe that once reaching “heaven” (or the “next world” or whatever we want to call it), I would suddenly have all the answers to my questions. Hmm… guess that doesn’t mesh huh? I love what you’re doing and helping us all to learn and be open to new thinking. Thank you!



report abuse
 

Cindy Opong

posted June 11, 2011 at 4:21 pm


Oh, I love that and will have to ponder it more! Since becoming Baha’i, I’ve come to believe that after death we do continue to grow & progress in our quest to get closer to what I call God. Yet I just now realized that I’ve also continued to believe that once reaching “heaven” (or the “next world” or whatever we want to call it), I would suddenly have all the answers to my questions. Hmm… guess that doesn’t mesh huh? I love what you’re doing and helping us all to learn and be open to new thinking. Thank you!



report abuse
 

Anonymous

posted June 11, 2011 at 3:15 pm


Thanks Rita! It really is a creature all its own. Now to just saddle up and hold on!



report abuse
 

Anonymous

posted June 11, 2011 at 3:15 pm


Thanks Rita! It really is a creature all its own. Now to just saddle up and hold on!



report abuse
 

Anonymous

posted June 11, 2011 at 3:14 pm


I agree 100% here about the reason for the existence of denominations. They become a personalized version of the original mold, don’t they? A shame our culture often shuns those who might create their own stake based on personal convictions.



report abuse
 

Anonymous

posted June 11, 2011 at 3:14 pm


I agree 100% here about the reason for the existence of denominations. They become a personalized version of the original mold, don’t they? A shame our culture often shuns those who might create their own stake based on personal convictions.



report abuse
 

Anonymous

posted June 11, 2011 at 3:12 pm


You make a good point, Susan, i just don’t think I’m ready for such a synthesis yet. This experience is in an=d of itself a part of the journey. June is truly the month for the wonderer, the spiritual rougue, the one seeking spiritual warmth. By trying to survive by blending elements I already know, I think, abandons those who go through this. In this way, I understand that darker side of religion: of those who feel unsettled, desperate, and lost.

For what you are talking about, I think is more suitable for the end of the year. But as we’ve all come to find out on Project Conversion, plans and intentions are like trying to nail Jell-o to the wall.



report abuse
 

Anonymous

posted June 11, 2011 at 3:12 pm


You make a good point, Susan, i just don’t think I’m ready for such a synthesis yet. This experience is in an=d of itself a part of the journey. June is truly the month for the wonderer, the spiritual rougue, the one seeking spiritual warmth. By trying to survive by blending elements I already know, I think, abandons those who go through this. In this way, I understand that darker side of religion: of those who feel unsettled, desperate, and lost.

For what you are talking about, I think is more suitable for the end of the year. But as we’ve all come to find out on Project Conversion, plans and intentions are like trying to nail Jell-o to the wall.



report abuse
 

Anonymous

posted June 11, 2011 at 3:07 pm


You hit the nail on the head Jessi.



report abuse
 

Anonymous

posted June 11, 2011 at 3:07 pm


You hit the nail on the head Jessi.



report abuse
 

Anonymous

posted June 11, 2011 at 3:06 pm


You are right Lynne. I once told my wife, before Project Conversion started, that if heaven was a place where we have all the answers and the need for the journey was no longer valid, that I would pass on my invitation. The great part about this gig are the unexpected turns, the organic drive of every experience and insight I face during the trip. June itself seems to rebel against everything I planned for it, and that is slowly becoming okay.



report abuse
 

Anonymous

posted June 11, 2011 at 3:06 pm


You are right Lynne. I once told my wife, before Project Conversion started, that if heaven was a place where we have all the answers and the need for the journey was no longer valid, that I would pass on my invitation. The great part about this gig are the unexpected turns, the organic drive of every experience and insight I face during the trip. June itself seems to rebel against everything I planned for it, and that is slowly becoming okay.



report abuse
 

Anonymous

posted June 11, 2011 at 3:03 pm


Good to hear from you Editor B, and thanks for the shout out on your blog.

Yes, I think there are more folks on the edge than we realize. I’m sure exactly which article it was, but I remember reading a poll or report suggesting that many Americans are actually leaving organizaed religion and blazing their own trails. In the right numbers, such a collective movement could weaken the great industrial complex that is organized religion.



report abuse
 

Anonymous

posted June 11, 2011 at 3:03 pm


Good to hear from you Editor B, and thanks for the shout out on your blog.

Yes, I think there are more folks on the edge than we realize. I’m sure exactly which article it was, but I remember reading a poll or report suggesting that many Americans are actually leaving organizaed religion and blazing their own trails. In the right numbers, such a collective movement could weaken the great industrial complex that is organized religion.



report abuse
 

Anonymous

posted June 11, 2011 at 3:00 pm


You have a good point there Chris. With that, I’m reminded of the those who shed the religions of their time to find their own path.



report abuse
 

Anonymous

posted June 11, 2011 at 3:00 pm


You have a good point there Chris. With that, I’m reminded of the those who shed the religions of their time to find their own path.



report abuse
 

Rita

posted June 11, 2011 at 11:54 am


Awesome.  This month is turning into something all by itself… something important… something that wouldn’t be nearly as valuable if it came at the end of the year.  You couldn’t have planned it.
Hang in and hang on!



report abuse
 

Rita

posted June 11, 2011 at 11:54 am


Awesome.  This month is turning into something all by itself… something important… something that wouldn’t be nearly as valuable if it came at the end of the year.  You couldn’t have planned it.
Hang in and hang on!



report abuse
 

Donna

posted June 11, 2011 at 11:29 am


I have followed your story through FB with great interest ever since I was alerted to it during your “Baha’i” month. I became a Baha’i back in ’97 after 40 years as a Lutheran-Christian. There were gaps there that needed filling and as I looked for a faith that would serve me better I happened upon the Baha’is when I took a geology course from a Baha’i and was attracted to her spirit. I call my self a semi-inactive Baha’i because, although the writings speak to me, I have no need of rituals. That is the part of religion that feels heavy and binding, while the writings set me free. I’ve discussed this with friends who say the rituals are to develop self-discipline, but I don’t feel the need for rituals for that purpose. As a teenager, one of my favorite albums was Aqualung by Jethro Tull. On the back and in the music there is talk of man creating God in his own image. This and discussions with my father and observances led me to feel that faith is essential to the soul. Religions are created by humans with good intentions of aiding the soul’s journey in learning what it needs to learn to be closer to God, but that relationship is very personal and unique to each person. This is probably why so many religions and denominations exist, because one’s faith is not something that fits into a mold. Someone close to me once applauded my leaving the Lutheran-Christian roots I had all of my life to become Baha’i and exclaimed that one day I may be as evolved as she, who did not adhere to any religion, but yet was very preoccupied with astrology. I could have agreed if not for that. We buried her to Ziggy Marley’s Love is My Religion, which is probably where I stand. Love comes from God, give it, practice it, we are on earth to help each other and if we could all abide by the golden rule, we would have peace on earth. I sleep well at night because I live each day, doing the best I can do along these lines of love. Bless you for sharing your wonderful journey. I hope I have been of some comfort to you!



report abuse
 

Donna

posted June 11, 2011 at 11:29 am


I have followed your story through FB with great interest ever since I was alerted to it during your “Baha’i” month. I became a Baha’i back in ’97 after 40 years as a Lutheran-Christian. There were gaps there that needed filling and as I looked for a faith that would serve me better I happened upon the Baha’is when I took a geology course from a Baha’i and was attracted to her spirit. I call my self a semi-inactive Baha’i because, although the writings speak to me, I have no need of rituals. That is the part of religion that feels heavy and binding, while the writings set me free. I’ve discussed this with friends who say the rituals are to develop self-discipline, but I don’t feel the need for rituals for that purpose. As a teenager, one of my favorite albums was Aqualung by Jethro Tull. On the back and in the music there is talk of man creating God in his own image. This and discussions with my father and observances led me to feel that faith is essential to the soul. Religions are created by humans with good intentions of aiding the soul’s journey in learning what it needs to learn to be closer to God, but that relationship is very personal and unique to each person. This is probably why so many religions and denominations exist, because one’s faith is not something that fits into a mold. Someone close to me once applauded my leaving the Lutheran-Christian roots I had all of my life to become Baha’i and exclaimed that one day I may be as evolved as she, who did not adhere to any religion, but yet was very preoccupied with astrology. I could have agreed if not for that. We buried her to Ziggy Marley’s Love is My Religion, which is probably where I stand. Love comes from God, give it, practice it, we are on earth to help each other and if we could all abide by the golden rule, we would have peace on earth. I sleep well at night because I live each day, doing the best I can do along these lines of love. Bless you for sharing your wonderful journey. I hope I have been of some comfort to you!



report abuse
 

susan

posted June 11, 2011 at 11:27 am


Andrew, I understand, but since this whole experience WAS to experience and not a journey to find a faith you can stick with, why is it implausible that the blending of the religions, the top ten moments or learnings, so to speak, could not be called up to get you through June? Is it wrong for a bald Buddhist to eat matzo ball soup? I would think that this year will affect the rest of your life; why not accept that influence now? From one faith you brought the sense of community, from another, the sense of reflection, from another, the clarity of focus; sounds like the creme de la creme of religious theory to me.



report abuse
 

susan

posted June 11, 2011 at 11:27 am


Andrew, I understand, but since this whole experience WAS to experience and not a journey to find a faith you can stick with, why is it implausible that the blending of the religions, the top ten moments or learnings, so to speak, could not be called up to get you through June? Is it wrong for a bald Buddhist to eat matzo ball soup? I would think that this year will affect the rest of your life; why not accept that influence now? From one faith you brought the sense of community, from another, the sense of reflection, from another, the clarity of focus; sounds like the creme de la creme of religious theory to me.



report abuse
 

Jessi Bencloski

posted June 11, 2011 at 10:40 am


“aren’t coming to Project Conversion for information about religion…they are coming to see me live these religions.”
“Am I right or am I totally off? Pretty close?”
I can’t speak for anyone else, but it’s both for me. Yes, I’m here for information, but if that were the *only* thing I wanted I know how to do my own research. It’s the “living the religion” that offers perspectives for me that I can’t get with a library card.



report abuse
 

Jessi Bencloski

posted June 11, 2011 at 10:40 am


“aren’t coming to Project Conversion for information about religion…they are coming to see me live these religions.”
“Am I right or am I totally off? Pretty close?”
I can’t speak for anyone else, but it’s both for me. Yes, I’m here for information, but if that were the *only* thing I wanted I know how to do my own research. It’s the “living the religion” that offers perspectives for me that I can’t get with a library card.



report abuse
 

Lynne Pfeiffer

posted June 11, 2011 at 6:06 am


You can keep yourself — Andrew — or whoever one is be opening your mind to learning about all religious thought. The quest — the quest itself — for information about all religions is another sort of faith.  It’s never ending, and therefore eternally fascinating.  That’s MY faith, and I’ve lived it for many years.  You can learn about gnosticism, you can begin each morning scattering cornmeal to the four sacred directions, you can attempt the eightfold path, and so on.  It’s all interrelated, it’s all the same in the end.  But learning about all the differences and acquiring more and more information is so INTERESTING.  Being interested is what makes me, me.  And I think maybe it’s also what makes Andrew, Andrew.



report abuse
 

Lynne Pfeiffer

posted June 11, 2011 at 6:06 am


You can keep yourself — Andrew — or whoever one is be opening your mind to learning about all religious thought. The quest — the quest itself — for information about all religions is another sort of faith.  It’s never ending, and therefore eternally fascinating.  That’s MY faith, and I’ve lived it for many years.  You can learn about gnosticism, you can begin each morning scattering cornmeal to the four sacred directions, you can attempt the eightfold path, and so on.  It’s all interrelated, it’s all the same in the end.  But learning about all the differences and acquiring more and more information is so INTERESTING.  Being interested is what makes me, me.  And I think maybe it’s also what makes Andrew, Andrew.



report abuse
 

Editor B

posted June 11, 2011 at 5:35 am


To the first point: Check. It’s your experience that seems most interesting, thought I do appreciate learning basic facts I might not have known otherwise. Sorry, but I am not a person who likes to watch videos online much.

As for the discomfort of being “alone on the edge” without religion — welcome to my world for the last 25 years or so. I think I’m actually coming back to embrace some kind of fringey religion after all this time, but it’s taken me the better part of three decades to get here. Does the category of “no religion,” of just you, “alone on the edge,” qualify as a fringe experience? Or is it actually fairly common?



report abuse
 

Editor B

posted June 11, 2011 at 5:35 am


To the first point: Check. It’s your experience that seems most interesting, thought I do appreciate learning basic facts I might not have known otherwise. Sorry, but I am not a person who likes to watch videos online much.

As for the discomfort of being “alone on the edge” without religion — welcome to my world for the last 25 years or so. I think I’m actually coming back to embrace some kind of fringey religion after all this time, but it’s taken me the better part of three decades to get here. Does the category of “no religion,” of just you, “alone on the edge,” qualify as a fringe experience? Or is it actually fairly common?



report abuse
 

ChrisH

posted June 11, 2011 at 5:01 am


perhaps this is also your month, then, to find God in the places outside of spirituality where one wouldn’t usually look. prayer, reading, meditation, etc. are important parts of spirituality, but they aren’t the only thing.



report abuse
 

ChrisH

posted June 11, 2011 at 5:01 am


perhaps this is also your month, then, to find God in the places outside of spirituality where one wouldn’t usually look. prayer, reading, meditation, etc. are important parts of spirituality, but they aren’t the only thing.



report abuse
 

Post a Comment

By submitting these comments, I agree to the beliefnet.com terms of service, rules of conduct and privacy policy (the "agreements"). I understand and agree that any content I post is licensed to beliefnet.com and may be used by beliefnet.com in accordance with the agreements.



Previous Posts

Another Blog To Enjoy!!!
Thank you for visiting Project Conversion. This blog is no longer being updated. Please enjoy the archives. Here are some other blogs you may also enjoy: Religion 101 Happy Reading!

posted 2:34:58pm Aug. 02, 2012 | read full post »

Is God an Immersionist?
In the world of faith, folks often point out the obvious fact that God does not belong to a particular creed, religion, race, or school of philosophy. This sentiment establishes the divine as one which transcends divisive terms of affiliation. But I am here to announce that a brief exploration of

posted 7:00:59am Jul. 12, 2012 | read full post »

Immersion in Relationships: Five Ways to Bring your Relationships to Life
I did something last night with my wife that we haven't done in a very long time... Okay, not from that far back, but it certainly feels that way. Last night, we had a date night. N

posted 10:58:33am Jul. 10, 2012 | read full post »

The Path of Immersion: An Introduction and How Entering the Path Leads to a Deeper Sense of Self
Today marks my official declaration of fidelity and discipleship to the Path of Immersion. Along with that declaration, I also invite you to join me in whatever capacity feels the most suitable. The Path of Immersion is not one which demands conversion, evangelism, worship, or exclusivity. Along th

posted 6:00:19am Jul. 09, 2012 | read full post »

Farewell, Project Conversion: The End of an Adventure
When I converted to Christianity at the age of 15, I assumed the faith with a passionate resolve. Despite the positive instruction from my pastor and others, I (for reasons I cannot explain) transformed into a fiery evangelist, launching Christianity at friends and strangers like salvos of religious

posted 12:49:25pm Jul. 05, 2012 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.