It’s a classic parenting situation. You visit a quaint little coffee shop for story time. Another mom or dad walks in and sits next to you while his or her child begins to play with yours. One of you, it doesn’t matter who, strikes up a conversation and after a few moments of small talk you begin to find many commonalities. By the end, phone numbers are exchanged and playdates arranged. We all know the thrill of finding a new friend on the desert island of parenting, especially if you are a stay-at-home parent who doesn’t get much adult interaction.
I have heard from numerous readers that frequently on a second or third playdate, a seemingly innocuous question is asked, “Where do you go to church?” Do you have a comfortable answer at the ready? Or do you share the experience of others with unconventional spiritual beliefs of awkward silence followed by a stumbling explanation of your world view? Do you live in an area where your New Age Spiritual Beliefs are readily accepted by people with more Traditional Religious Beliefs? Or do become flush with worry that you might lose the potential for future play dates for your child?
Hopefully, this hasn’t been your experience and the people around you are accepting, full of love and tolerance embracing differences. But if you have been in this situation and you were met with trepidation, misunderstanding and even fear that you might try to convert them “to the occult” (not that you necessarily believe in anything that can be attributed to the occult, but sometimes beliefs outside of the mainstream are viewed as that); you are not alone.
Here are some questions to ponder:
Does it make you hesitate to be completely honest the next time you are asked about your beliefs in a new situation? Have you tried to find “work-arounds” that aren’t necessarily lies, but aren’t really true either? An example might be, “Well, we don’t really go to church” without divulging that you don’t ascribe to traditional religion. Have you devised an answer that equates your beliefs to something more relatable for others? One such answer might be, “We believe something very similar to Buddhism,” although you aren’t exactly in line with it. Do you just avoid the topic? Do you lie to avoid confrontation, or tell the whole truth knowing that if they choose to end a budding friendship over this they were not meant to be your friends anyway? Does it make a difference, even if you believe in living a “Christ-like” existence, if you admit that do not consider yourself to be a Christian (if that is the case)? Do you worry about the negative consequences others’ condemnation will have on your child?
I believe when you show people Who You Really Are they will appreciate and love you, regardless of your perceived differences. Really, there is no right or wrong way to handle this situation and I think it might be helpful to remember that Separation from other human beings, especially when it comes to beliefs, is a myth. Conversations with God stands to remind that We Are All One and all beliefs are just parallel pathways to love, peace and connectedness.
Spirituality is a very personal decision about which you can either be private or choose to be open, honest, and live without fear of other’s reactions. I can tell you from my own experiences in the Midwest that this can be hard, even though authenticity is what I desire.
Even readers of this online community have varied interpretations of the words God, Love, The Universe, The All, and/or The Source so there is obviously not going to be a single answer with which every person in the New Spirituality can answer these questions. In fact, many CwG readers use these words in place of the word God. So, my call to action here and now is for us to support each other with advice and recommendations. How would you handle this type of situation? What would you do if you were faced with someone from the traditional religions showing fear that you will corrupt them? How do you protect your child from being hurt as a result?