Thirty years ago I took my first steps outside the cultural tram lines and looked back in. I didn’t realise I was doing it at the time, although the signs should have been obvious enough. What I began to see disturbed me, and my road since then has been one of constant observation of an artificial culture being swept along on the rails of ignorance, deceit and a laissez faire attitude. Now it disturbs me even more, although I’m learning to ignore it the longer time goes on. I’m thankful for that, at least.
Fifteen years ago I realised I had been walking in a spiritual desert since giving up what I saw as the self-deluding falsehoods of Christianity and other elements of the Judaic tradition in my teens. And then I looked east and saw a chink of light. That light has led me to eschew all forms of organised religion. I feel free now to follow my own road. I expect no one to accompany me of course, since that would defeat the object. My road is my road. I preach to no one and expect no one to preach at me. Evangelicalism is, in my view, one of the world’s great enslaving forces. I’m not, as you might imagine, a fan of missionaries.
I see this as a process of liberation, but it comes at a price. It alienates me from the majority of my fellow citizens, not to mention those religious zealots who would will me to hell for my temerity. I have no sangha, as the Buddhists do. I envy them that, but I’m not a Buddhist; I’m not an anything-ist. I’m just me, trying to find those parts of the river of existence that look like the right ones to swim in and explore.
Many people will tell me I’m being foolish, and that my isolation is self-imposed and well deserved. They are entitled to their opinion, but I can say that they’re not entirely right. ‘Self-imposed’ implies volition, and it isn’t quite like that. The things and people I’ve given up represent no sacrifice; I simply don’t want them any more.
As for the consequent loneliness, it comes and goes. When it gets bad I have to grit my teeth and be persuaded that it’s all part of the journey. I firmly believe, you see, that I have many more lives to come yet. The whole concept of life seems quite preposterous viewed any other way.
Tomorrow I might lighten up again. There are many circles within circles, and this is just one of them.