Yearning for, but lost still


Brief bio: grew up Catholic-ish. Had a stint of studying earth-based religious things in late teens, then entered academia which is sort of a belief system destroyer of worlds. Spent the last 14 or so years working through various humanities degrees where religions etc become wholly clear as products of political, social, and cultural forces with a helping of power and control and a dash of psychology. Rinse, wash, repeat.

But now that I'm walking away from that life, and learning to hush the overly-analytical part of my brain, I find that I sacrificed a lot of things for the identity of 'scholar,' various parts of myself.

I have an intense yearning now to feel like a part of something bigger, to feel connection to a larger whole. For the first time in a long time, I'm fairly lost and cannot see the road but for 3 feet in front of me. For all its pretty ritualism, Catholicism (or Christianity in general) is not the destination, that I'm fairly certain about. I've done a bit of Kaballah reading, a bit of Buddhism and Eastern wisdom. But, I'm still sort of groping along. In the end, a very rational part of me knows we have to find our own path in order to feel contentment.

I guess, what I'm wondering is if anyone has any experiences, resources, or advice they feel comfortable sharing. I know there's no how-to manual, but my experience has always been that community is one of the greatest teachers.


Hello from England. Much of your story sounds not entirely dissimilar from mine. Many books, talks, weekend workshops, classes etc helped me along my way, and I do feel I'm progressing to ever-greater Understanding and have come far, by a very interesting, circuitous, winding route. But I have enjoyed and relished every little step forwards. Once learning or experiencing something puts everything else into a wider, better, bigger perspective which makes sense of lots else too, I somehow KNOW I'm on the 'right track' for me. Though, of course, everyone's path is different.
As an ex-Catholic too, steeped in theology ... plus a good dose of childhood Methodism, with its biblical exegesis and then more philosophical, neo-Gnostic teaching to unpack the metaphorical / allegorical nature of many NT parables (including, possibly, the whole story!) I have come full circle, after decades of studying, deep thinking, imagining, speculating, discussing etc and now am able to take what makes sense and adds clarity from many different sources.

I would like to recommend the Conversations With God books by Neale Donald Walsh, who addresses mostly ex-Christians & was Catholic himself, and so speaks from a profound understanding of the doctrines rather than as a rank outsider. These books are full of love and gentleness besides some quite shocking, stringent denials of the parts he no longer believes in. One can take what one needs from reading him, I think. It is all quite rigorously thought-through, although at first seems startlingly iconoclastic. He only knocks down in order to re-build or replace ideas ... concepts ... whole cultural constructs we seem to have absorbed about Life, the Universe and Everything. Especially the 'God'-character we have created, for better and, sadly, often for worse.

I have just finished reading N D Walsh's "The Only Thing That Matters" and found it wonderful. Encouraging and Life-affirming! He re-frames so many misconceptions that spoil our lives and hinder our spiritual & emotional progress and joy.

Sorry to go on. I'm hyped-up awaiting my poor daughter's operation, which has just been cancelled again ... hope I didn't overdo this.
Wish I had anyone to talk about spirituality with in real life ... most people here in the UK are entirely atheist or agnostic but not interested, and religions tend to be pilloried, mocked and insulted routinely in the mass media for political or 'comedic' effect ... so you can see how hungry & thirsty I am for any real engagement about spiritual matters! The average British person's ignorance of religions is outrageous. People tend to dismiss and sneer at them all, out of hand, without any knowledge or distorted misapprehensions only, which makes me sad. It is not cool to ask the Big Questions here. :(
Brightest blessings and go well on your quest!

ps I too thought of myself for decades as 'academic' and 'ultra-rational' and so missed out on developing my emotional, intuitive, and dare I say 'spiritual' faculties. Hoping to re-claim more of my humanity from here on in! :)


Starshower, thanks so much for sharing your own journey. It's funny how it's almost the opposite over here, with the conservative religious right being one of the loudest voices. I think they're part of what sends me flying away so often--they're definitely about power and control. Strangely, one of the things I miss the most about Catholicism is that sense of ritual -- everything is so vary ornate and old. I suppose that's a clue for me. That connection with the past seems to be something I am also drawn to. I'm definitely looking into the two books you suggest. My mother has been on a spiritual quest for as long as I can remember--I might even find them in her library.

I'm sending good intentions and positive energy for you and your daughter.


In my wild world ....

That sense of ritual is the egoic tendency to want to know everything, control everything, maintain it's own known realms ...It abhors unknowns...

The veil between knowns and unknowns is confusions....confusion is the start of a new experience...the starting of an adventure without maps or destinations...

The next level to adventuring or lone traveling is Trust and Faith...another thorn in the backside of ego...It cannot trust or have faith in anything other than itself...and even that self is questionable and cannot be trusted...

Then there is the issue of yesterdays problems ...projected into the mistakes won't be've got to be sure it's not some off beat mental project or half brained scheme... Your supposed to be an intellectual now with a reputation to protect...

You cant go off without protections in place...just in case, you just never know.

Yet you still will feel hollow and unfulfilled even if you did follow all safety precautions.

Which is exactly where you are at this moment...and will be for a very long time or until you find that elusive inner peace.

There's no outer goal that will fill that book or other person .

The goal is internal...the start to that adventure is acceptance of everything you are...the real you ,warts and all ...

For me, I started with the question ..."WHAT WOULD LOVE DO" helps me to eliminate self importance.

For you it may be something different. It will require DOING...DOING is the only starting place available. NOw is the only time to DO it...This is the egoless realm of NOWness....