The story of my life is now about to expand into a whole new direction and the events that brought me to this place and time, for some mysterious reason, have resulted in a whole new path, which became evident after receiving a request for me to perform a wedding ceremony for a beloved family friend.
“Me?” “You want ME to marry you?”
During a virtual facetime meeting, due to Covid restrictions, the happy couple explained that they considered me to be the most spiritual person they knew, and that I was also the only person they knew who already did what they were about to do, which is to bring together two families, and start one of their own—together.
Combined with the long term relationships between many of the participants in this ceremony, it was clear that they looked at me as someone with a degree of wisdom that I could share, and get them off to a good start.
Not everyone thought it was a good idea, but most of the people I consulted thought it was fine. I embraced the opportunity whole-heartedly. I did my research, followed the instructions and spent time training in the areas of interest, applied for the certification and received it several weeks later.
I am officially an “Ordained Minister,” registered and supported by the Universal Life Church, located in Seattle, WA. I am legally entitled to marry people and to perform spiritual services as requested or which may be needed in any given circumstance.
It’s a non-denominational organization which is promoting the spread of spiritual awareness, revival, and promotion, without imposing or exclaiming any specific dogma. Each of us, if we decide to explore such an idea, must discover that place where we can see ourselves as spiritual beings, and while there are many different paths one might pursue in the interest of their own spiritual well-being, each of us must ultimately seek out our own resource for spiritual guidance as well, and continue to search until we locate one which either resonates with us personally or which might be recommended by others we respect.
When the importance of this opportunity finally began to sink in to my incredulous psyche, I started to dig down a little, down through the deeper levels of consciousness, and when I came up for air, I had to confess to myself that the choices I made, and the life I have led, didn’t exactly fit the common description of what a minister’s life usually looks like. I felt as though I was both on the edge of a cresting wave, and suddenly realizing that I don’t know how to surf very well.
I didn’t think I was worthy of the honor, not because of any deficit in the requirements, but because I didn’t see myself as someone who earned the privilege—at least—not at first.
As time progressed, I began to see a vague sense of coherence in the way my life was unfolding, and accepted that these developments might actually be necessary, in order to step off into the next phase of my evolving life!
So be it.
I decided to embrace this moment now—this one—the one I am constantly experiencing inside my head. When events like this occur in our lives, we have to recognize why it’s not a good idea to dwell on the past, but also not to forget the important lessons our experiences provided. It’s also becomes important not to look ahead to the future with anxiety or well-defined expectations—but also to realize that sometimes we still need to plan and prepare. We need to adapt and overcome, when necessary, but still hold close to our values as people.
One day, all of this will likely be understood in a way that could not possibly be understood at this moment. The perspective of time is necessary, since what occurs may not be clear at the time when it happens, and it may require additional distance in time and circumstance to become clear. In retrospect, some of what we conclude initially will make sense and some of it may not, but the lines which summon us to the task of greater understanding, all originate within us.
In order to gain in perspective and illuminate the components of a broader understanding, it is important to be able to quiet the mind and, to some degree initially, to let go temporarily of our attachment to the temporal. This is not an abandonment of reality, nor is it in any way a compromise of our most essential self. It should be thought of as simply setting aside our attachment to surface matters, just long enough to allow ourselves to approach more closely our innermost being. Each aspect of our humanity is equally important to honor and to attend to as a part of the fullness of our lives.
Our current 21st century way of life tends to emphasize the immediate temporal circumstance and, in doing so, can subsequently lead to a tendency to gravitate away from our deeper selves—to embrace a state where we avoid apprehending any sort of deeper meaning in favor of a less satisfying surface existence. We sometimes fail to appreciate just how much we can gain from exploring and expanding our point-of-view to include a fuller range of human experience.
The world is rapidly changing now and trying to keep up with the latest trends and the explosion of information technology can obscure the path toward our inner life, by becoming so pervasive in our daily lives that there simply isn’t time to absorb it all. The pathway becomes so clogged up with surface matters and distractions of every sort that it eventually prevents any substantial progress from being made. Less concern for achieving any sort of deeply personal, spiritual, or philosophical appreciation for our inner lives can result in spending much less of our available energy and time on anything that might otherwise lead us toward a greater understanding.
An essential effort in the service of achieving a degree of balance in our lives includes giving deliberate attention to both the wider range of our very human nature, of which we are all a part, as well as attending to our inner world—the world which is not technically inside of our bodies—but rather, outside of our temporal experience of the world itself.
It is truly challenging to contemplate such an essential aspect of our humanity, which is also beyond the temporal boundaries of our bodies. We spend so much time in the early part of our lives becoming familiar with our subjective experience of being alive as a human person, that we tend to associate the physicality of our bodies and the relentless stream of thoughts which occupy our minds with our essential “self,” and only after many years of life experience does it become possible to begin to understand that life is much more expansive and complex than our own individual experience indicates.
Unfortunately for many of us, early childhood often consists of indoctrination into some form of religious doctrine and practice, which is often well-intentioned and earnest on the part of our caretakers, but which can sometimes cloud our thoughts, rather than lead us to any degree of enlightenment. This certainly was true in my case, and although I was very fortunate to encounter many deeply spiritual experiences along with the religious regimen, I often found myself at odds with those same doctrines and practices. It seemed there were always many more questions than answers available to me along the way. It wasn’t until I was an independent young man that I finally found myself free of those restrictive beliefs, and able to pursue my own inclinations spiritually.
I struggled greatly with my relationship with my parents as a result of my independent explorations and pursuits, but the struggles were necessary and ultimately led me to a much greater appreciation of my own deeply spiritual nature.
I am now about to embark on a totally new spiritual journey as a mature man and as someone who will be considered in a whole new light from anything I have ever done before.