**Religious Disclaimer** I have nothing against the Roman Catholic religion. I happened to be raised in it which is why I’ll be using it as an example in this little post.

My mother spearheaded the effort to keep my siblings and I on the righteous path to Christ when we were young. I had no idea what that meant back then (in fact, I still don’t) but it sounded important at the time and my mother seemed to have a lot of conviction about the whole thing. I knew better than to question her most deeply held beliefs, so naturally I followed her wishes and did what she told me to.

Every Saturday we would go to church at 5:15 pm for an hour where we’d sit in a pew and listen to a priest recite bible verses which were occasionally sprinkled with his own take on things (to try and make things a little more interesting). The hour consisted mainly of standing and sitting, standing and sitting, standing and sitting. The job of those in the pews was not to pose questions or share, but to listen. At a designated time, everyone in the church was asked to turn around and shake each other’s hands while saying “peace be with you” (this was often the most awkward time for everyone attending even though that feeling was largely hidden behind pious smiles).

Towards the end of the hour, everyone in attendance would stand up, follow quietly in single file down the centre aisle of the church towards the altar to receive a small flavourless white wafer and a sip of wine from the priest which we were told had just been recently turned into the flesh and blood of Jesus (for the record, it didn’t taste like muscle tissue or blood). According to my recent Google search, Jesus first performed this bit of magic himself just before his death to give his followers something to remember him by. A few minutes after that sacred act of cannibalism, when everyone was quietly back in their seats, the priest would say a few more words to bring the show to a close. Needless to say, when the priest allowed us to “go in peace to love and serve the lord”, it was a very liberating experience… almost like breaking free from a prison made of well-intentioned seriousness.

Unfortunately, that seriousness wasn’t completely contained within those church walls.

Every other Sunday my siblings and I would have to kneel around the foot of my mother’s bed to say rosary prayers (Hail Mary’s and Our Father’s). This was a ‘pray for us sinners’ event. Prayer time was especially dry except for the ongoing farting match between my brother and I. The contrast of reciting serious prayers with the explosive release of fermented gas is what made those regular prayer sessions just a little bearable. What gave my brother and I enough courage to break wind in those moments was my mother’s inability to maintain a climate of seriousness (as her attempts to resume the prayers would often give way to fits of uncontrollable laughter due to the lingering stench in the air)… oh what a beautiful sight that was. It was like watching a priest turn to me and say “just kidding” in the middle of one of his church sermons.

Other brief interludes of sanity happened while I was working as an altar boy. Much to my brother’s dismay, I wasn’t very good at that job (he happened to be the other altar boy working with me). The one task that I could never seem to master was the ringing of the bells. At very specific times during the church ceremony, an altar boy was supposed to ring a set of bells to add an extra sense of importance to something that was happening. Due to consistent day-dreaming, I almost always missed my mark. Often I’d ring the bells pre-maturely or just a little too late. What turned these moments into pure joy were the grimaces I’d receive from my brother across the altar. The combination of being dressed in a white robe, ill-timed bell rings, embarrassed and profuse head-shaking from my brother, a confused look from the priest, an audience of 200 people and an atmosphere of religious seriousness was enough to evoke a kind of laughter that I have rarely experienced since.

Comic relief aside, these religious periods were some of the most dry, joyless, and serious times of my childhood; periods when the gap between what I felt intuitively and what I tried to adhere to spiritually widened.

Have you noticed? Old habits tend to die hard.

Are there any qualities with your current spirituality that are (eerily) similar to the old institution you were brought up with? If you look closely, you might just see some red flags.

Take your rituals for example. Do you have a 5:15pm church time still scheduled? By that I mean: Do you still reserve your spirituality for a small portion of your day? If so, what the hell is the rest of your day (life) about then? Is there an altar setup in your home with candles, crystals and some background music so that you can chant and sing along to Deva Premal and Miten while engaging in a staring match with a life-size portrait of Ramana Maharshi?

What about a priest? Do you have an authoritative spiritual figure that you still look up to? Do you agree with their words without questioning them… ever? Do you take how they present themselves to be how you should present yourself? Do you think they are more of the truth than you are? Do you only feel like acting truthful when you’re watching, reading, or listening to them?

How about shaking hands with folks in the other pews? Do you present a spiritual persona to others; maintain a pious smile, shake their hands in the name of peace but really just want to tell them to fuck off? If so, honor the fuck off feeling. It may not be the clearest expression of non-dual truth but it IS how you ACTUALLY feel. Honor all of your actual feelings and then (and only then) can you begin to question where they’re truly coming from and why they’re there.

Do you eat the flesh and blood of a dead man? Are you trying to keep the memory of a dead ‘saint’ alive by doing what they did even if what they did seems a little strange nowadays?

And prayer time? Do you get serious about this ‘truth’ thing sometimes and try to convert those around you by showing them how they’ve gone wrong even though they obviously could care less? Do you sometimes hear yourself talking like a spiritual prophet and want to laugh at yourself but refrain from doing so because… then… there would be nobody left for you to be?

Last but not least… the altar boy job. Do you kind of see the ridiculousness in associating spirituality with anything that seems remotely serious? Do you see how ‘not being worthy’ is actually an ego-trip? Do you want to laugh more instead of praying more? Do you want to find more instead of seeking more?

Remember: You come into this world fully spiritual and completely non-religious. Whatever has changed about that for you is what’s false / illusory / pretend / fear-based / make-life-sucky in you.

It’s not too late to go back home. All that’s required is a willingness to drop everything that’s been handed to you. You don’t need ANY of it. Truly. If you did, wouldn’t life have gotten better by now?

Here are some suggestions and substitutions that you can use for your current spirituality:

Crystals:

Suggestion — Sell them on Ebay.

Substitution — Head to the beach and fill your pockets with some cool rocks.

Your shrine to some guru in your house:

Suggestion — Sell the stuff on Ebay (keep the incense…. mmm… incense.)

Substitution — Frame a picture of Cookie Monster (a lit candle below him is acceptable).

Your daily yoga classes:

Suggestion — Sell your mat and pants on Ebay.

Substitution — Buy a dog and play with it.

Your vast collection of the most profound spiritual books ever written:

Suggestion — Sell them. On Ebay.

Substitution — Take two pieces of computer paper, fold them together in half and staple them down the middle. Then, draw some happy pictures on all of the pages and color them in. Finally, title it: “The Most Important Book In The Universe.”

Your attempts to convert your family and friends to this ‘Truth’:

Suggestion — Try to remember that the best “diamonds in the rough” are found on Ebay.

Substitution — Stop hanging around people who don’t like you.

Your regular attendance to Kyle’s livestreams on Youtube:

Suggestion — Sell something on Ebay and donate the earnings to Kyle.

Substitution — None needed.

 

Copyright © 2018 Kyle Hoobin


    22 replies to "Is Your Spirituality Religious’ish?"

    • Tom Dietvorst

      Your last suggestion was the best (as I remember I praised the ending of the last blog – is there some religious/mystical portent here? (-:)).

      You make the case clearly. I still like some of the ritual majesty – maybe why royal weddings are such popular television fodder. I recently attended a performance of Faure’s Requiem that was presented during an Episcopalian mass. The incense, the bowing, the brocaded vestments, et cetera, really bothered me . Having not experienced that for so many years it rang particularly false, clashing, stupid. I couldn’t get the distance that I get watching pageantry on television.

      And “raging against” can be just as much of a trap as following blindly.

      So how do I not repeat my behavior of the past and become a “follower of Kyle,” as opposed to a realizer of the truth I already am?

      Consciousness comes to the Universe one sentient being at a time. There is no hurrying of it. There will never be a commoditizing of it. It is an unfolding not dependent on me; yet incomplete without me. “you have to walk this lonesome valley. You have to walk it by yourself. Nobody else can walk it for you…” and yet like more logs make for a bigger fire (Thank you Eckhart Tolle) it is good to know (and of course support (-:)) others who are walking the path (despite the fact that there is no “path”).

      I appreciate you very much.
      Love,
      Tom

      • Kyle Hoobin

        Mystical portent?… hmm… perhaps you’re just recognizing that endings are freedom 🙂 Interesting about the TV thing – if somehow you attended everything live that you saw on TV you might be less inclined to buy into any of it haha… funny how what’s kept at a distance enables us to give reality to something that’s unreal. How do you not become a follower of Kyle? Just keep me as a friend in the flow… then both the realization of truth and Kyle won’t be contradictory.

        Love and appreciation back atcha 🙂

        • Tom Dietvorst

          Love to my friend in the flow.
          (-:)
          Tom

          • Kyle Hoobin

            Same here,
            Love Kyle

        • Tom Dietvorst

          I just ran across the word holon again and saw it in a new light: something that is a whole and a part. A good word to describe our friendship.
          Love,
          Tom

          • Kyle Hoobin

            Had to Google that one… it fits! <3

    • Garry

      Blind faith can’t see no-thing.

      • Kyle Hoobin

        Love that, Amen!

    • Joyce

      Dear Kyle, thanks for the smiles. I have been noticing this inner smile quietly popping up even in the most seemingly inappropriate moments of pain, or illness…on the other hand, there is still some big resistance to organizations like doctors, and medical world trying to convince me to take everything very seriously, as if my life depends on how seriously I take everything – medical world, religious world, fear seems to always want to be taken seriously. And yet, up pops that quiet smile. Joyce xxoo

      • Kyle Hoobin

        My pleasure as always. Indeed! Your ‘life’ does depend on how seriously you take everything… if there were no more seriousness then what need is there for ‘you’? Thank you for that <3

    • william Callahan

      ” I have nothing against the Roman Catholic religion.” Ha! Than you certainly were not a gay boy raised in the 50’s in a Catholic orphanage. Just sayin

      • Kyle Hoobin

        Hahaha… nope. Straight boy raised in the 80’s in middle class suburbia. 🙂

    • Kay

      OH MY!! I just laughed my butt off!! I made my two teenagers read it and they were rolling on the ground! This just made my day! Your suggestions and substitutions are hysterical and great too by the way! Thanks Kyle!!! <3

      • Kyle Hoobin

        Good! I’m happy it hit a few funny bones there 🙂 <3

    • Odd Leo Brenden

      Great fun Kyle!
      My father was a convincing preacherman, an I grew up in a hallelujah community, with a lot of swinging music, climbing piano, mandolins, guitar, fiddle, a huge contrabass, tongues, screemin, cryin, and miraculous healings, so suggestiv that I carried the circus with me for allmost 3 decades, even if the preacherman, in the meantime, had become a bankrobber. Then I spent 25 years as a devotee in the guru-business. It has been a loong travel just to get rid of the religousness of everything, especially the language and the accompanying metaphors. When you swallow it together with the breast milk, the package is dense like genes. So, – Hallelujah!

      • Kyle Hoobin

        Wow, what a different church environment! I may have stayed under the influence of the cloth had there been swinging music, climbing piano, mandolins, guitar and fiddles… 🙂
        Yes… a dense package when it’s served right from the beginning!

    • Jason Gray

      Fuck off Kyle ! 🙂

      • Kyle Hoobin

        🙂 …ouch! Perhaps I’ll settle for a pious pretend handshake instead…

    • Odd Leo Brenden

      Fine with me!
      Anyway,- who`s fuckin who, doesen`t matter that much.

      • Kyle Hoobin

        Hahaha…. <3

    • Dave

      Hi Kyle, finally got around to reading your post on being religious. Laughing my ass off.
      My Guru called me a dilettante a couple of years ago and I had to look up the word cuz I thought it was like debutant. I wanted to be offended but he was absolutely correct. I discovered that I had decorated my surroundings so I could believe I was spiritual and I rubbed it into everyone’s face. I have almost every book Adi Da wrote along with a bunch of other gurus books and none of them have ever made a difference. And Adi Da basically says the same thing in every book but made it more and more difficult to read and understand as he continued to revise the books.
      I’m doing what almost every religious person is doing it just looks different.
      I’d like to tie this up with some self puffing story about what I’ve learned but it probably isn’t true.
      Thank you for the humorous way of helping me see this insanity …

      Gotta add that even my email address is a testament to my religiousosity …. the 216 is because I couldn’t get drsmith108 so I doubled it. Wow!

      • Kyle Hoobin

        Hey Dave, Appreciate the feedback & glad you had a few laughs along the way. So subtle isn’t it? …How the religiosity can creep in to corrupt something so innocent… amazing! 🙂 Happy you had a chance to catch up on the blog ~ stay tuned!

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