I was taught that Catholicism is the one true religion. I was taught to fear the Lord.
Yet deep down, I couldn’t accept that God was vengeful. And I had so many questions Catholicism couldn’t answer, such as, “Why would a God who loved us send some of His children to hell simply because they’d never heard of Jesus?”
At age 11, I stumbled upon Native American books at the library. They contained stories of how we’re connected to the animals and the earth. I wanted to know more, but my religion didn’t address concepts like that. Then came the Kung Fu and Billy Jack films, where the hero, armed only with philosophy and martial arts skills, fought for the rights of the common people against bureaucrats who spat on them and committed crimes that went overlooked.
The stories made me realize that there was so much of that going on in the world—people deemed inferior simply because their spiritual beliefs didn’t mesh with everyone else’s idea of what was right. Influenced by those shows, I studied martial arts, where I learned that my most formidable opponent wasn’t the other person attacking me, but my own mind. I also learned how to meditate and took baby steps into Zen Buddhism, which didn’t have any dogma nor did it tell me what to think.
A friend said that I was going to hell for participating in un-Christian practices, but I saw things differently—I was beginning to emerge from the fear that had controlled me all my life, and learning to look inside myself for the answers. But something was still missing.
All the while, I saw that my religion didn’t save me from a severely abusive first marriage from which I narrowly escaped alive. And when one of our priests was convicted of molesting several boys and I confronted parish officials, they acted like I was being disrespectful by asking questions. Worst of all, my church didn’t provide me any solace when my parents died.
I was done with Catholicism that very day.
In the past, I’d been terrified that God would strike me down for looking in other directions for spiritual gratification, but now God wasn’t striking me down. With my fear no longer inhibiting me, and once I’d stopped searching so desperately for the answers, the answers came to me, through a most unlikely means—in the middle of a rock concert.
My soul lifted out of my body that day, and I saw how everything is connected—every thought, every deed from every being and thing of this world, and all worlds. I saw that God isn’t a race or religion, but part of me, as I am also part of that Divine energy. I saw that it didn’t matter what I called it, or if anyone else believed it—it was my truth. It is—and can only be—love, and the realization that I already am the love and the answers I’d been searching for.
About the Author: Patricia Walker is the author of DANCE OF THE ELECTRIC HUMMINGBIRD: Discovering Enlightenment through Tuna Casserole, Other Dimensions of Consciousness and Sammy Hagar (working title). Fully endorsed by world-renowned rock star Sammy Hagar (formerly of Van Halen), Pat’s book chronicles the true story of the unending supernatural experiences that lead her to self-actualization and the attainment of her dreams—an Eat, Pray, Love for the ordinary folk. For more information and updates, please visit www.bajarockpat.com.