Thursday, February 14, 2013

I Think I'll Start Worshiping Ares*

I'm not religious. This isn't a surprise to anyone who has been around me but I thought I should state it from the start before I begin. This is not a knock against anyone's religious belief or lack of one. To each, his/her own. And this is definitely not to say that I don't have a long history with religions. I'm very familiar with most religions- either through my own general interest in the subject, research for different stories, college courses (which were my second favorite classes after Poli Sci aka BS 101) and just life experience.

For example.....
My dad was a follower of the Nation of Islam, which hurt my pepperoni pizza loving soul.
My uncle's family were Jehovah's Witnesses, which resulted in me fallin asleep in a Kingdom Hall. Twice.
My family is black and Southern. I visited North Carolina as a kid. Nuff said. Figure it out.
I sometimes attend my sister's non-denominational church when I visit her down south. Her pastor is a chatty Cathy but it is generally a good time and the folks are nice.
I've attended Glide Memorial in San Francisco because a friend asked me too. I like that place because it is REALLY non-denominational. No overt religion pushing and was more about spirituality and being a good human. I would go back.
I live in New York and went to a private school with a lot of kids of the Jewish faith. Plus, my shoot-em-up neighborhood borders an Orthodox Jewish section. The beach around there could get interesting, to say the least.

"But Sean, are you spiritual?" If you are asking do I believe there is a God watching over personally or that a guardian angel of some kind has been assigned to protect me, then no, I'm not spiritual. I think we get through life, most of us at least, without a safety net, divine or otherwise, and a lot of it is chance and our will to move forward.
I do believe that there is meaning behind us being here. Even in my most cynical moments I would like to believe that the universe has my back in some way. If you call that spirituality, then yes, I am spiritual in the fact that I think there is something larger than us. Am I going to give this force a name? Nope. I'm not that naive or bold to do that. Am I going to go to a place weekly and behave differently than I would on a Saturday night? I probably won't unless a loved one asks me to go for just a morning, as I did in the above cases. Could I become religious one day? Maybe. Almost nothing is impossible and things change. I could probably see myself becoming a Buddhist maybe. They seem to be generally cool, especially compared to the Big Three.

Chill dude.

And I already do what I assume people would consider spiritual actions. I like to take moments to observe life, whether in a park or walking alone or sitting in my room. I meditate and contemplate the bigger picture when I wash dishes. I try to imagine the inter-connectivity of  humanity when I'm on public transportation. I get close to Nirvana when I'm washing my clothes at the laundromat.

Spin Cycle Zen.

With all that being said, I don't necessarily believe that the universe is just looking out for me. There are too many people and I don't think I'm that special. Everyone has their own path and sometimes these paths meet and chaos is created. It gets messy. Conflicts arises, which brings us to Ares.

This dude is all about the conflict.

I think conflict though by most definition is negative it can be constructive. I actually believe the nature of people is to be in a state of conflict with each other. I would even go so far as to scale that up to the universe as a whole. Creation is a messy affair, no matter if you are talking about biology or the creation of planets. Crashing masses starts off the processes that resulted in us. Forest fires can ultimately lead to new tree life. Conflict can become a tool for growth and evolution.

Ares embodies this conflict as the god of war. I choose to see the positive growth from conflict. Every encounter we have with another human is a conflict. That doesn't mean that we are always arguing or disagreeing with others. Sometimes we get lucky and are in the same side of a conflict or we can see the benefits of bits and pieces of both camps. These interactions make us better people and are constantly happening. I find that if you think of conflicts in this way the world moves a little easier for you. It also makes it less personal and more about your role with other humans. Sure, things won't always be cool and some conflict just arises from encountering asshats but you can still learn from these moments and also realize that those people have the problem and not you.

So, I'm seriously thinking about starting a temple for Ares worship.** Should I start a Kickstarter for this?

Hey, here's some Fiddy on spirituality. I like this.

*I really want to say Mars because he is slightly less of a bloodthirsty figure and more honorable than Ares. But Ares is a cooler sounding name and I, also, didn't want people to get him confused with the planet- although that makes about much since as worshiping an unseen deity but let me not open that can of worms again.
**No, I'm not. I will be investigating my beliefs more though.

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