Existentially Crisising

Where to begin? What could I blog about, what would interest current and new readers…how bout a good ol’ existential crisis? Woop!

Being raised within a religious environment has its perks. Structure, moral teachings, respectful values, etc. (Just so y’all are clear on this, I’m not bashing religion in any way, simply expressing my own experiences and consequent viewpoints.) I don’t know what sort of human I would have turned out to be if I had not been raised with religion (though that’s a conversation for another time, as I’m supremely fascinated by “what ifs”). Doesn’t matter at this point in my life – I am who I am based off the people and environments that were placed in my path. Voila, you got yourself a small-statured Russian Jew, with a lot of sass and a curiosity for new things! And herein lies my crisis.

Ah, and my mantra should come into play here as well: “Don’t tell me what to do” (Though as I may have mentioned before, it’s usually said in jest. But I totally mean it anyway). Having been raised within this sheltered and closed structure, and being told that other cultures and religions have it wrong, as well as being subjected to strict dress codes and religious principles…well, eventually my mind paused and asked itself, “Why am I doing this?”

Many, many youngins (and oldins) have experienced this at some point or another in their lives. The “Why am I here?” or the “Why am I pursuing this career?” or “Am I doing this because I want to or because I’ve been told my entire life that it’s the right thing to do?” And since I have an insatiable thirst for knowledge, once I left that aforementioned religious bubble and entered the secular world, I began to realize that there is an infinite amount of things to be seen and heard and experienced (in the interest of honesty, the amount of things is probably finite. But it seems infinite, k?), and that perhaps my things aren’t completely right. That is, for me. Am I making any sense?

Essentially what I’m trying to say is that once I realized the depth and variety in this world, I began to question my strict religious convictions. As you may imagine, about 5 years down the line, those convictions are pretty much gone. The ones that emphasized maintaining a separation between myself and the world, keeping my head down and doing what I’m told, succumbing to the ever-present patriarchy and ultimately grooming myself to teach my future children that it is the best way to live.

Nope. But I do hope I’ve retained the values that preach respecting your fellow humans and practicing kindness – definitely working on that one.

(I’ve met some people, some wonderful and creative, intelligent people. Their eyes light up when they learn something new, crave debate and to know more about those around them. And they’re not necessarily of my religion or ethnicity. What a novel concept, this connection! And isn’t that both sad and amazing? I’ve been missing out…)

Concluding thoughts (this whole post has been a bit of a mess, I apologize): new experiences + new people = definitely some new openmindedness.

3 Comments

  1. Hello SR
    I enjoyed your post, and I think that you are definitely not alone in this boat.
    “Many, many youngins (and oldins) have experienced this at some point or another in their lives. The “Why am I here?” or the “Why am I pursuing this career?” or “Am I doing this because I want to or because I’ve been told my entire life that it’s the right thing to do?”
    –I think all people experience this. Asking these ‘life and death and meaning’ questions.
    My experience is exactly the opposite of yours. I didn’t grow up religious. I didn’t have morals (or at least, I knew in the back of my mind somehow what was right and what was wrong, but had a hardened conscience). Then at 20 I became a Christian, because of these life questions, and throughout these past 20 years I have doubted, questioned, experienced, read a lot. One thing I’ve come to conclusion with is that I will never understand it all. I believe I have found Truth, of maybe I should say, Truth has found me. But I don’t believe (as I fundamentally used to) that everything is black and white.
    Thanks for being honest and for opening up and sharing yourself. I don’t think your post was a mess at all.
    :-)

  2. Hehe, you’re more than welcome.
    “Do you find that you have peace, now that you have Christianity in your life?”
    –This is a very interesting question. l say that because you are asking if I found peace in a religion. Christianity to me is a religion just like Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, etc. Religions are organizations behind a movement (although I think one of the original meanings of religion states that it includes a link or bond with a divine being). At any rate, I believe that I have found peace in a relationship with God, and not in a religion. I ultimately believe that God created us for intimate relationship, and not for us to be robots following a set of rules and regulations. In saying that though, I believe that as I’m in a relationship with God, my desire is to do what is morally right, and not wrong. I am also not saying that my faith is purely ‘feeling’ or ‘experiential’. I used to read the Bible for a ‘spiritual’ experience, however now I read it also as a history book.
    One thing I liked about your post is about how you were raised. Like with morals and all. Your parents tried to teach you what they thought was right and moral and correct. And so you have that in you. I am a mother of two young children, and my desire is to do the same, yet what I want to do in raising them is to be an example to them and teach them responsibility. I do, however, want them to think and be able to make choices based on their own thoughts and research, etc.
    “once I realized the depth and variety in this world, I began to question my strict religious convictions.”
    –I have been all over the world and I absolutely love experiencing other cultures. I have participated in a Hindu Christian worship service, which was super wild. I’m not saying that it was a Hindu “religion” service, but it was a Christian service contextualized within the Hindu “culture”.
    I don’t know if what I’m saying makes sense. I guess what I’m saying is that it’s all about relationship and that things aren’t as black and white as many seem to think or teach.
    Have you ever heard or read the blog, “The Culture Monk”. It is absolutely amazing. Kenneth is going for his PhD in Philosophy. He questions everything. He’s a Christian, but his blog isn’t about that. It really makes people think and question why they believe what they do.
    http://culturemonk.com/
    And maybe you’d be interested in the following I wrote just last week. It’s about peace.
    http://stacilys.wordpress.com/2014/09/17/pure-intoxication/
    :-)<3

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