Interview with New Age Pantheist
Below is an interview that Tyler Ellis conducted with Jamie, a new age pantheist from Portland, Oregon. Eye-opening and thought-provoking. See the link at the bottom to read the rest of the article.
DRAWING CONCLUSIONS: NEW AGE PANTHEIST
1. What is your religious background?
I was raised within the Church of Christ. My maternal grandfather was a preacher within this community and my father was a renounced Catholic. This caused some interesting family dynamics that my parents tried to shelter us from, but the energetic “feelings” were impossible to miss.
As a child, I believed these teachings and practices because that is all I knew. I consistently was made to feel as if I were failing god when I did something “wrong” that all children my age did.
I spent a large part of my adolescence trying to understand and align myself with this faith and its practices but it never connected with me. I was the kid in Sunday school that could recite any passage but didn’t know or care what it meant at a practical level. Mostly, I felt “left-out” of the parameters of the faith. However, that’s not to say that I think Christianity is bad. I think that the specific community and practices that I was raised in simply weren’t something that agreed with my constitution.
2. Do you currently practice a religious faith? If not, why?
I think that “religious faith” is a term that can be interpreted in many broad and diverse directions. I do a lot of things religiously and I have faith, and am faithful in many aspects. I consider myself to be very spiritual as well, but I do not believe that spirituality and faith are mutually exclusive. If we are talking about a path that I walk or live/strive for then, Yes. I practice Yoga. Not the hippy sh*t your parents think of, even though there are some aspects of that. And no, I am not Hindu.
I practice Yoga for a laundry list of reasons. Beyond the physical benefits, there is a subtle shift that evolves over time and dedication to the physical asanas that allow you to be more open and receptive to people and experiences. It’s one of those totally mystical and ineffable things that aren’t necessarily appropriate to explain in this interview. When people ask me why I chose Yoga, my typical answer is: “So I can love you better.” Beyond the physical practice, there are the philosophical and spiritual teachings that are very personal. The physical practice is just one “way in” to what and how the individual wants that to be/look/feel.
I don’t believe that my practice is better than anyone else’s. It just resonates with me in a practical way; the same way Christianity or Buddhism or any other religion might resonate for others. I simply find that within my practice there is a lot of grace and freedom to be who you are. Assigning qualities or values is where things get tangled up. Yoga allows me and others and situations to simply be what they are.
You can read the rest of the interview on Tyler’s blog.