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October 27, 2006

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Julia Sweeney on TED talks http://www.ted.com/tedtalks/tedtalksplayer.cfm?key=j_sweeney

This is a wonderful story, a journey that is really well studied, and because Julia is a performer, well practiced.

I am struck by how you could substitute painting for religion in this story. Julia learns to finger-paint at an early age, grows up and realizes that there is more to painting than fingers and acrylics. She studies the other possible ways of representing the world to herself, and puts behind the art of her childhood. Finger painters from the fingerpainting school insinuate that there are other media; she studies, and eventually rejects the rococo stylings of Chopra; and now finds she needs a way to introduce a small child to painting. She wishes she could let her child finger paint, but afterall, she has a much more sophisticated vision now than she once did. Like Alan Watts went from tie-dye to batik.

Importantly, she does not hold her parents responsible in her disabuse, even accepting a fingerpainting group as completely supportable for her ailing father.

Leaving behind our juvenile religions for more mature and meaningful beliefs is a good thing. Julia's journey is a great representation of that.

But it is not more. A religious experience, outside of organized religion, is called growing up.

For months and weeks while I was sick, I used to wonder why God/Creation/All That Is would not reach down and heal me immediately. Pain, suffering, ill health, all make sense to me. If He were to heal all the suffering and pain in the world, we would turn from him as surely as Ms Sweeney did upon receipt of His grace.

I can testify that I personally used to pray for Ms Sweeney, so she didn't heal herself.

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