Why would I or anyone else choose to be born into a restrictive, dogmatic, fundamentalist religion. One that felt like I was in a box. A box with no windows. A box that if I climbed out, I would become separated from everyone I knew including my family – possibly forever. Why would I choose this? This became the question I had to ask once I understood that we each choose our life path, the circumstances we are born into and even our parents and ancestral lineages – before we are born.
I did climb out of the box. I did leave behind a whole community who would not see me outside the box. Others climbed out with me. Some of us were able for a time to climb in and out at will but we knew there would come a day that we’d never go back in.
I’ve struggled with this question for years. Ever since I became aware that every circumstance that I was born into, I chose. Why did I choose to be born into a restrictive and controlling religion? Why?
I now, finally understand it as a path to initiation. A path that many in my same soul tribe have chosen.
By being in a situation where the will of others are imposed upon me. Where I have no wants and desires of my own – every waking thought is controlled by a brain washing dialogue imposed on my free will. Where fear is used to control. By being in this small space with four very high walls containing me – I was initiated to the path of freedom.
The spiritual lesson or test of the initiate in this circumstance – being raised in a fundamentalist Christian cult, is breaking out. Freeing myself. Freeing others by standing in my authenticity and showing them there is a way out. And actually the whole point is to get out. Demonstrating for others the look and feel and vibration of freedom.
I’ve recently met another ex- Jehovah’s Witness who is also a healer and way shower. She is still in the break out phase of atheism. That’s the path most take to escape the escape room. Leaning into atheism dissolves the control factor. It removes fear of God from the equation. It makes walking through the threshold to freedom possible.
I no longer need atheism now that I am free. I confirmed fo my new acquaintance that there is a spiritual realm and that I consider atheism a spiritual path too. Somehow that was both an affirmation and an invitation for her. An invitation to stop living in the shadow of the box. To step into true freedom. Freedom to stop being a reaction to what I was forced to be. Freedom to attune to my own inner knowing. To trust my own intuition. Freedom to accept myself as more than soulless body. Freedom to know and feel my unity with the cosmos – without asking for permission from Jesus.
We ex-Jehovah’s Witnesses are part of a tribe. Knowers of a childhood, an existence that most can’t fathom. A life of conditioning and restriction that reduces our lives to a contrite existence with no real expression of our true essence.
Some get out but never leave the shadow. Some never get out. Some almost climb out but jump right back in. To get out and walk away from the shadow means finding ourselves outside of the imposed identity. It means witnessing our becoming, our humanity anew. Re-examining everything we thought we knew. Everything we were ever taught. Everything we believed. It’s a re-set on life. It’s true freedom. We are even free to appreciate or keep influences of the box. Structure has become a tool of mine. The ability to pray and connect into that place being called God is also a skill. To listen to lectures and take notes. To sit still in ceremony or meditation for hours on end – this is easy for me. Initiated into stillness through torturous hours and days listening to elders relay ad nauseam the same fear plagued dogma regurgitated anew each week.
I’ve experienced this freedom. Freedom to choose to celebrate a holiday or not because I had no previous- conditioned expectation of holiday celebrations. Freedom to choose a spiritual perspective or none at all. It creates a black or white lens. There can be no gray when you’ve chosen to leave everything you know behind. When every person in your life – adult, aunt, cousin, parent, childhood friend – no longer recognizes you. Won’t accept your Facebook friend request. Chooses not to know you anymore. That experience is extreme. It requires bravery. And makes any future decision or life change – easy in perspective. Quit a job – no problem. Move house, sure. Move to an island in the middle of the pacific and make all new friends, OK why not?
Once your entire reality has been removed from your experience – there is no reality. No experience of reality that feels permanent.
Layer in some grief, death of a parent and now you have an opening. This is an environment ripe for initiation into a spiritual awakening. Out of the box, spirituality without walls and without indecision. Leaning in fully to conscious decision is the only way I can be. I cannot take anything for granted because everything can be removed.
So I guess that’s why I chose it. To have the experience of true freedom. To become conscious. To be initiated onto the path of service to the world, to awaken to an authentic spiritual self realization.
It’s a path of initiation. It took me awhile to recognize it as one. We think of the life of a Buddhist monk in a temple or monastery or the life of a nun. We think of those as paths to initiation. We think of tribal wisdom lineages as paths to initiation. This path was the opposite of those initiations in many ways and similar too. It was a certain kind of path. One with the illusion of love and community but no room for an identity outside the collective. No room for intellectual contemplation or philosophy. An escape room truly is the best analogy. And instead of Stockholm syndrome – your actual loved ones who love you are in it with you modeling how to be trapped and stuck and begging you not to climb out. Threatening to disown you if you do. It’s hard to leave. It feels cozy and familiar. Until you start to suffocate.
My soul couldn’t stay. Too many past lifetimes as an initiate. I’m an old soul. Too far evolved to fall for the soulless illogical, unfeeling, top down ways of the box. It didn’t resonate. It wasn’t authentic. I couldn’t get behind it. I left at age 19. Already traumatized. Married and with a child. I would have many initiation paths. motherhood would be my next. I also had many break out moments. I broke out of a marriage that was not aligned with me.
My first opening was my fathers death when I was six, my next spiritual opening started at 16 with the meeting of my twin flame and the joirney toward self development and understanding of unity and then the religious escape room which led right into single parenting on my own by age 20. It’s all there like the rigors of convent life or initiations of a monk.
Apparently I’m hoping for this to be my last incarnation. To reach enlightenment and stop the cycles of rebirth. Or at least my soul is – my persona isnt as weary of this human experience in the earth school. It seems I set up the over achiever path with a sprinkle of karmic obstacles to make sure my life is never dull.
If you are escaping the escape room. Or have escaped and are confused about your next steps – my gift to you is, go. Find out who you really are. Ask questions repeatedly until you hear the answer. And get into alignment with your soul. The most difficult aspect of this particular path is the belief that there is no soul. I’d call it soul crushing but it’s more like soul ghosting. And how can you get into alignment if you don’t even feel you have a soul to align with? Start there. Listen deeply. Hear your intuition. Find the silent gaps between the thoughts in your head. Keep a dream journal. There is more to you than a body. The soul in me sees the soul in you. I see you. I know your journey. You are amazing and brave and free to be authentic!
And the interesting part for me is the way that this initiation path offers a chance to re-awakens awareness of the Celtic ancestral and indigenous roots for the caucasians who have lost those ties to the old wisdom. By demonizing those ways and telling us all about them in an attempt to discredit them – they become part of the healing journey for the larger perspective. For the initiate who is wise they can become the way forward. If this way of perceiving the world is wrong and in its wrongness it condemns that way. Then that way might be right, and we follow the bread crumbs out of the maze and into the light of freedom. Reclaiming indigenous wisdom is how we heal the rifts in the world and for the dominant race that is a particularly difficult connection to repair because the old ways of the European indigenous wisdom were not kept. But I digress.