The religion of Candella
By the time I was 20, I had created what I loosely called the “religion of Candella.” It wasn’t completely formed, and I did not really have the tenacity at that time to put it all down into words on paper, but I knew who I was and was pretty confident in what I believed, and I wasn’t really looking for followers or opportunities to evangelize my “religion.” I was satisfied with my religion of 1.
I had by then, lived through so many experiences and saw so many similarities between the various faiths that I had “tasted.” I had also had a healthy heaping helping of science and the scientific method. I was pretty comfortable with where I was in relation to my spiritual journey. I read the Celestine Prophecy, at about age 21 or 22. This particular book, perhaps more than anything else I had at that time seemed to do the job of putting into words so much that I had felt that I “knew” to be true.
In 2000, I was invited to the Unitarian Universalist (UU) Fellowship by a friend. This particular group of UUs did not call themselves a “church.” I politely told my friend that I was “allergic” to church. :D. My friend politely told me, this “Fellowship” was not like any church I had been to previously. Even so, I declined the invitation.
A week or so later, I was sent a forwarded email. Back in the days before Facebook, people would forward emails to their friends. This particular message said something like “What religion do you most identify with?” or something like that. It led to a quiz that I took online, and the quiz told me that I (and my religion of Candella) fit 100% within Unitarian Universalism (UU). Then, within a short time I was invited by a different friend to the same UU Fellowship as before. I took the repeated bonking me over the head with the same message as a sign or synchronicity, and I went to the Fellowship that weekend. I found a “home” of other people who also had their own religions but managed to share this sacred space and fellowship with one another. It was such a beautiful experience for me that I continued to go weekly until the time when I and my family moved from the area.
Fast forward a few years –or a couple of decades, I guess 😀 and I am chatting with Amanda Salsman which started as a conversation about something related to the Celestine Prophecy Insight Chatting Facebook group that we both admin. As we were chatting, she told me a story that a mentor of hers told her. She said that very often in life, we go through the process of learning from the teachings of other spiritual leaders. We might call these teachings “Christianity, Catholicism, Mormonism, Paganism, Judaism, Buddhism,” or by so many other names. But the reality is that each “teaching” is like a recipe.
Most beginning cooks will take a recipe and do their very best to follow the instructions exactly as written. Heaven help us if the recipe writer left out a step or an important ingredient, because then the pie, or cake, or stew might turn out to be a total flop. A more seasoned cook, however, may look at a recipe, and then, rather than follow the directions exactly, maybe add a little oregano or some other favorite flavor and make the recipe more in line with their own tastes. Or perhaps, the veteran cook will look at several recipes for the particular dish and then create something entirely new which may blend several recipes or depart from all of them.
As Amanda described to me a bit about her own spiritual journey, and I thought about my own spiritual journey too, we realized that we do similar things with our spirituality. We may begin by tasting, devouring, and attempting to learn to create “Jesus Stew” or “Buddha Stew” or “Dalai Lama Stew” or even “Celestine Stew.” However, as we progress along our spiritual journeys, Amanda and I agreed that we think the great teachers have been telling us all along to learn to make our own stew. “As I have done, you shall do also,” Jesus said to his disciples. Rather than attempt to follow the teachings of any particular Guru or Master, perhaps the Gurus have been saying, “of course you can have my stew recipe, so that you may learn to create your own stew that is uniquely your recipe.” Or put in the words of any great cooking coach “salt/season to taste.”
As I have progressed from all that reading, learning, and growing, I continue to improve my stew. And even as I know what stew recipe best feeds my own hunger, I am always interested in learning new stew recipes that others find nourishing and fulfilling. That sharing of our spiritual journeys is what has made the experience through my adventures in UUism, and my adventures with the Celestine Prophecy to be such a blessing to me.
Got a stew recipe or some insight from your own spiritual journey that you’d like to share? I’m listening. 🙂