I had a wake-up call the other night. It wasn’t about my physical health, it was about my spiritual well being. And, as is often the case, this wake-up call came to me disguised as something completely different. Someone had expectations of me and I let them down. In the end, they decided they shouldn’t have had those expectations, but I took a different view. I decided that those expectations were perfectly reasonable, but I should have had those same expectations myself.
I’ll skip the details, but the message is worth noting. I was reminded that I write because I love to write – and I was reminded that love means paying attention to the details. Lately I haven’t been doing that as much as I should.
If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well …
When I realized I’d been letting things leave my desk with less scrutiny than they deserve my first reaction was to rationalize. I said that things had gotten pretty busy. I said I’d be able to spend more time on my craft when my office was “in order” again. I said I’d be able to address my literary inadequacies when I had a better understanding of ADHD and it’s effects on my life. I wasn’t lying, but I wasn’t being truthful either. Not with my writing, not with myself.
I used to be Agnostic with a capital “Eh”. Being agnostic is supposed to mean that I doubt or question everything that I cannot prove or observe. But after more than fifty years of studying life and my universe I’ve made a few metaphysical leaps of faith. I’ve become more of a modified agnostic, a meta-agnostic.
That may be redundant. Perhaps all Agnostics are actually meta-agnostics. Food for future thought I guess.
Some Agnostic, eh?
As I said, I am agnostic. But I’m also spiritual. This is a paradox that’s difficult for some to grasp. I subscribe to the idea that religion is the business end of faith. I have no religion, but I do have faith.
My faith is a belief that there are great forces at work in the universe. I may never fully understand these forces, these gods if you will, but faith is accepting as real that which we cannot prove, that which we cannot see. And I do.
In my early life I thought I found God everywhere, the wide eyed observance of someone relatively new to the world made everything a wonder. But as my world grew familiar, as the things in my world grew commonplace they lost their wonder. I started examining different religions, searching to replace what was fading. I found no “fit” … and became Agnostic by default.
But the doubt that defines agnostic beliefs left me still empty, still seeking. Religions I looked into seemed to have only some answers. But Shintoism, the indigenous faith of Japan, spoke loudest to me.
Open about its origins as a collection of folklore, Shintoism suggests that everything has its own wonder, its own spirit. Every human, every dog, every rock and raindrop, each majestic mountain and insignificant flea has its own “Kami”.
The name, Shinto, comes from the Chinese language. Originally “Shen Dao” it translates literally to “Way of the Gods.” The “Shen” are a variety of gods that range from sentient entities to passive spirits. “Dao” means way. It’s a metaphorical path, a code to live by. By the way, the “to” part of Shinto shares its origin the word “tao”, both coming originally from the word dao.
Tao of the Kami of Taylor
I’m still agnostic, but I believe in my spirit, my kami. Moreover, I believe in the kami of my writing and the kami of each piece I write. For my kami to have harmony I believe I need to pay as much respect to every other kami as I am able.When I do, I usually feel more at peace.
So starting here, starting now, I make this promise to myself with you as witnesses:
I will be in the moment as often as I am able. I will pay attention to my work. I will be aware. I will take care of my self, and my kami so that I can do what needs to be done.
… and I think I’m going to ask my kami to help me.