Throughout my life I have been happily without faith and religion. I have always been aware of other peoples religion and the varying levels of faith that they have in said religion. As a youngster I was even curious about religion, my mom and I used to go to churches on Sundays and experience the fun that is religion. It even went so far as almost being baptized by a friends mom who didn’t understand why my parents didn’t want to save my soul.
Sarah was/is a non-practicing catholic who still has conversations with god. I am very supportive of this because I figure one of us should talk to a higher power just in case there is a higher power. I remember at one point we discussed faith and what it means to her and how she didn’t understand how I could not have faith.
Faith is one of those crazy things that means different things to different people. To one person it represents their belief in a higher power. To another it is the fuel of their righteousness. To a third person it is a strength that helps them get through anything. For a long time I considered faith and religion to be mutually exclusive. To me faith was the fuel to the religious fire.
As Sarah and I went through our trials with illness and all that is associated with that I realized that I did have faith, I wasn’t sure what it was in but it was there. At first I didn’t put a lot of thought into it, I mostly just marked it down as what happens when you deal with earth shattering problems. In fact I didn’t really put a lot of thought into it until I quit drinking caffeine.
Quitting the caffeine was a nightmare. I didn’t have a hard time quitting, I had a hard time not starting again. For a long time I was using caffeine, specifically Pepsi, to control my ADHD. I figured that since Redlin is an upper and caffeine is an upper it should work the same. Whether this is true or not I don’t know. What I do know is that when I quit drinking Pepsi my symptoms got worse.
I had to figure out a way to control my ADHD naturally. I am not talking about herbs and weird voodoo, I am talking about being in control of my mind and learning to focus through the problem. The reason that I had to do this is that I refuse to take medication to solve the problem.
The real problem I had was getting to sleep. I would lay awake with my mind in a hyperactive state. The hyperactive state I am talking about is probably most like the “Wanna go ride bikes?” joke. I was unable to focus on something for more then a second and my mind would fly around from one thought to the next, never settling long enough to allow any relaxation.
For a while I tried video games. I would play until my mind was tired and then go to bed. This would work maybe half the time, but since I was staying up so late I would still be tired in the morning. I had to figure out something and quick.
Not only was I tired all the time but my school work was starting to slip and I was grumpy all the time. Frustrated and exhausted I decided I would count sheep. This was a lot harder then I thought it would be because I felt the need to visualize the sheep, then I started to name them and then I was wondering about their lives. To prevent this I started just counting. 1-2-3-4-5 on the inhale, 6-7-8-9-10 on the exhale. I would keep counting up until I lost count and by that time my mind was usually relaxed enough to fall asleep.
What I didn’t realize is that controlling my breathing and counting was leading me into some very basic meditation. I found that the five, ten or fifteen minutes I would spend doing this every night where allowing my mind to truly relax. No more flitting from place to place and I was able to fall asleep quickly and easily. I fall asleep so quickly now that it makes Sarah a little crazy.
While this fixed the ADHD problem at night it did nothing for the symptoms I experienced during the day. Luckily it was about that time that I read the Tao of Pooh. Having Taoism explained in such a simple manner sparked my interest and as I did more research I found that I really liked Taoism. I don’t necessarily think that Taoism is for everybody but I think that everyone should read the Tao of Pooh. Taoism has provided me with a means of dealing with something that has been holding me back for a number of years.
By allowing myself to not stress out about every little thing and giving myself permission to be who I am I have been able to become happier with everything. We all spend so much time worried about the past, the future and what people think of us. If you can adjust your thinking to realize that none of that truly matters and strive to do good in your everyday life, everything gets better.
I still don’t have faith in a god, or even in a religion, I have faith in good.