THE BLOG

If Not Religion, Then What?

01/23/2013 05:37 pm ET | Updated Mar 25, 2013

Why is it that we can be "friends" with thousands on Facebook and literally find the answers to unfathomable questions, and still be searching? People today are exploring every avenue looking to add meaning and resolution to their lives.

It used to be religion that provided the sense of a caring community to "benches full" of pious listeners with the insights and direction as to what this existence is all about.

I just returned from the New England book festival discussing these very same concerns with people prompted by my book "A Change of Habit; A Spiritual Journey From Sister May Kateri to Sister Mary Vodka." Writers, readers and attendees pelted me with their "confessions," sharing their guilt of not being a "practicing Catholic" any longer, maybe a "cafeteria Catholic" or a "fallen away Catholic." I have been approached by peoples of all faiths with these same concerns. No matter what they called it, the relationship with religion was in the rear view mirror with heavy hearts and questionable minds.

A fellow winner at the Festival, Dr. Neal Hall, (author of "Nigger For Life") writes a moving poem called "No Faith in Faith." For me, I interpret his "faith" as my term "religion." He pens, "Faith is the ... system of beliefs and ideals that rob men of their capacity to think rationally and objectively about and beyond their circumstances."

Approaching the subject from "A Way of the Shaman," Michael Harner prefaces his book writing, "many educated, thinking people have left the Age of Faith behind them. They no longer trust ecclesiastical dogma and authority..." If not the "age of faith," what?

Looking for that missing relationship with self and Spirit, people are searching, but where do we look?

Jesus told us the parable about the 10 virgins waiting for the bridegroom teaching us about being vigilant, ever awake not to miss "the moment." Growing up this story infused the fear that death could come snatching me away at any time. I was intent and alert to keep my "lamp burning."

Today I understand this parable to tell us to be ever-present to our everyday lives for the meaning and understanding that we are desperately seeking. Don't miss the small incidents as life whizzes by.

We find our true sense of purpose through our experiences. We discover information and inspiration. We can no longer look solely to religion for understanding and explanations.

Since there are no coincidences in life, events, people and situations come into our lives for a reason. It all works together in synchronicity. We need to peek into our daily experiences to guide us with insight and direction. The answers are "within" and "without" providing all we need. We need to assume the responsibilities for our own answers.

Guilt-FreeTip: Secret #1: Don't let religion get in your relationship with God.