Learning about Myths

I have to admit that I’ve been hearing for a long time about the importance of sacred myths, but honestly, it never did tickle my fancy.  My explanation to that is that having been a left-brained person all my life, I always wanted accuracy, exact results, formulas.

I was born with an ability to do calculus, physics, computer programming, and the like. In addition, I grew up a fundamentalist Christian. What the latter did to me was create the illusion that there were perfect explanations for everything. The Bible was truth and inerrant. If something seemed untrue or illogical, an explanation was found, because the Bible was perfect.

Then, when for years I leaned toward atheism, I attacked the literal interpretation of the Bible. I still do. And because I’d been hurt so much by the said literal interpretation, I was adamantly against using the Bible any other way.

Yesterday, I was sitting at a metaphysics class, when I had a revelation of sorts. I realized that myths don’t have to be perfect to be helpful. Shakespeare’s plays are neither perfect nor literally true. But there is wisdom to be gained by reading his plays. If we were to examine all the myths and fiction ever created, we will find inconsistencies, errors, and even less than praiseworthy lessons.

The beauty of myths is that we can use them to help  ourselves. Because we are not claiming that they’re divinely inspired, or literally true, or that if we don’t believe them we’ll go to hell, we can learn from the good and throw away the rest.

When it comes to the divine or the unexplained, we really don’t know. At least I don’t know. I have the feeling that there is something out there bigger than me–the universe. But I have no idea what it looks like, where it came from, or where it’s going. I have no concrete explanations.

I know, however, that I can feel something when I experience nature. I know that certain music stirs feelings in me. I know that miraculous healing does happen (much less often than some claim). I know that psychic phenomena is real (some accounts are anyway).

But more than anything, I know that I feel good when I get in touch with my inner self. I know that I love to be on my own feeling the reality of me, of the awesome human being I am. And  myths help me get in touch with that mystic part of me that I love to experience.

So, sitting at that class yesterday– prompted by nothing the speaker said–I made a realization and a decision: myths like the Bible have glimpses of truth. The book is highly imperfect. It was written by people, and it represents ancient thought. But some parts of it point to that mysticism that being human is all about.

Am I going to read the Bible everyday from now on and make it “My Daily Bread?” Unlikely. There is way too much good material out there. I wouldn’t want to focus on one book and miss out on the rest. All I’m saying is that I will no longer wince and reach out for the closest exit when someone cites a Bible verse. Instead, I will learn whatever is worth and will go on with my life.

Recycling biblical knowledge

I am reading a book called Discover the Power Within You, by Eric Butterworth. I will probably have more to say about it in coming days.

This is a book that once Operah said changed her life, and I can see why. The book comes from the Unity tradition which teaches that we’are all part of god.  God is the ocean, we are a wave. God is the ground, we are the flowers.

Unity, of course, isn’t the only movement that teaches pantheism. Buddha. Lao Tse, Plato, the Dalai Lama, and many others teach the same concept. What’s different about Unity is that they use the Bible.

It’s pretty neat for a former Bible freak like me, for a I know all the verses and the traditional interpretation. In my opinion, the Unity people are just using the Bible to teach their philosophy. It’s a tool, much in the same way as you would use the Little Red Riding Hood story to teach a kid a lesson.

But I find that knowing so much about the Bible and Jesus is helping me get the point much easier. Yes, I’ve read a lot about positive thinking from a lot of people, but it never did hit home.  It’s also fun and at times even funny. For example, the book says that when Jesus said “I am the way the truth and the life,” he meant that we should all think that way about ourselves. It was an affirmation, basically, that Jesus used, and that we can use as well.

I think it would be funny if I went around saying to people, “I am the way, the  truth, and the life.”

On the other hand, if I believe that, it will stop me from trying to find answers in all the wrong places. I know that when it comes to my life, I have all the answers.

Current Status

Three weeks ago, deeply depressed and in a very dark place, I decided that I needed something. I didn’t know what that was. I knew only that in the past praying helped. It took me out of negative places and suicidal thoughts. So, I decided to pray, but not in the traditional format. I did some affirmative prayer.

I am worthy. I am lovable. I have friends. I am loved. The universe cares for me.

Immediately, I started to feel better. Seeing that it worked, I decided to go back to the literature where I learned about affirmative prayer.

Years ago, when I was doubting the Christian faith and still going to church, I came across the Silent Unity website. I wrote an e-mail to a Unity pastor, and he kindly mailed me some magazines.  When I finally left the fundamentalist church I found a Unity church to go. But I couldn’t understand anything. They talked a lot about Jesus. But they didn’t worship Jesus or see him as a savior. They talked about god, but the god within them, not a god up in the clouds. I just couldn’t wrap my head around the teachings and the jargon: “We are all one,”  “My higher self”, “I salute the divine within you.”

After trying for a year on and off, I declared it bullshit and left. However, the teaching did help me, at a psychological level. Saying the affirmations is a great way to change habits and help self-belief.

Now, years later, after having tried pure atheism for a few years, I find myself thirsty for something. Unity offers me something I can work with. It is imperfect. But it helps. And right now, I can use anything that will help. As well, I’m reading Religious Science literature, and other books, such as Tolle’s New Earth.

So, join me in this journey of self-made spirituality.