Whenever I think about who I am, the issue of faith always comes up. It is an odd subject because my ideas may seem like contradictions at times. However, if I had to define myself based on faith I have to call myself spiritual.
What does this mean? Well, I believe that there is something bigger than myself and that actions have a knock-on effect based on their nature. So, if you mistreat somebody, it usually leads to more pain for others that person comes in contact with. This means that a good act can brighten up somebody's day improving their demeanor.
There are exceptions to this rule, but it isn't unheard of. It takes strong person to continue doing good works in spite of adversity. In this we see figures such as Ghandi and Mother Theresa, individuals that pushed forward because there was a need. They fought to break the cycle of negative behavior in their regions.
When you break down most faiths, there is a common ground to be found. This is the desire to stop the cycle of destructive behavior, and yet we see ignorance throughout much of these scriptures regarding gender issues and social status.
However, once upon a time I categorized myself as a Christian seeing all other faiths as inferior simply because I so happened to pick one in particular. It was childish and ignorant with no logic or a sense of wonder. It was this foolishness that led me to regurgitate what the leadership in my specific denomination said time and time again.
It was after I got married that I started to look inward to make sense of my own behavior. When I realized many of the mistakes that I'd made, I began to look at my own mistakes from a distance and with these observations I gained more wisdom.
I still make mistakes but I am more thoughtful these days. I am not perfect or some guru about life and don't think I ever will be, but at least I have the sense of wonder to discover new things about the world around me and the nature of humanity. It is this willingness to experience and learn new things that offers me a sense of elation that sends my spirit soaring to another plane.
The last sentence might sound airy-fairy but stagnation and tradition leads to destruction. Just imagine how much more suffering there would be if anesthesia had been successfully blocked by the church during medical procedures such as childbirth, or Da Vinci hadn't explored the caves in his local area. True joy can be found in the connections that we make with those around us and the natural world. And in the process of making these connections, you might create something cool like an iPhone or discover some technique that makes the lives of others less burdensome.
In conclusion, my spirituality is based around new experiences and education. I don't rely on a single faith to know that a negative act leads to negative behavior in those around me. I attempt to do good acts because it is better for myself and society as a whole. I see stagnation as leading to death of the soul and destruction, but change for change-sake as counter-productive. In any case, I encourage you to go out and experience and/or learn something new each day – life is full of opportunities if you are only willing to experience new things.