When people tell me they’re not religious, I’m always interested in what they mean, exactly.
Once the conversation unfolds, what I often find is that they have a religious instinct but have given up the religion of their youth because it didn’t seem to have much relevance to their lives anymore.
The strange thing is, I’ve lost count of the number of people I’ve met in my spiritual care work who pray every day, even although they don’t consider themselves religious, or believe in an interventionist God. What they do have faith in is The More, often undefined, not able to be tied down or captured in a creed or other dogmatic statement, but open to being entered or experienced in a person’s own unique time, space and way.
That More is not necessarily in a designated holy space. Instead, it’s often present in our daily round, entirely relevant, just waiting to be noticed and valued. For me, prayer unfolds in my soul space by the river where Kali the Labrador and I walk everyday. Prayer is The Rite of Steps where, sometimes, it is formed into words, but often not.
Don’t you get bored she enquired, quizzical
wondering why I walked the same path every day.
It must be monotonous, she intoned, distracted
scrolling sites for her next disruptive move.
Somehow, it slows me down, I offered
brings me back to myself, the abandoned child
disconnected from the source of being
unceasingly in search of All That Is.
When I walk the same place, over and over
it becomes a ritual, opening doors to More
taking me inwards to what runs deep
increasingly aware the Divine dwells within.
This unknown divinity, severed early on
patient in Her waiting for my return
both changed by the separation, yet co-created
and reaching for each other in The Rite of Steps.
She sniffed, my younger self
unable to comprehend just yet
certain of her rightness, moving still
riding roughshod on the fragile link to More.