I used to go to an Indian mystic meditation group's version of "church" every Sunday to have my faith renewed. Well, sort of.
Actually, what I enjoyed the most was getting together with friends after the service (a.k.a. satsang) was over. We'd go out for coffee and talk about all sorts of stuff, including how unsure we were about what we supposedly believed in.
Now on Sundays I skip the service and head right for the coffee klatsch. But some days I still have a lingering longing for a revival. Problem is, I don't know what I'm trying to bring back to life.
I suspect, life. The times I feel unsure of myself are when I sense that need for an external bolstering of my What's Life All About? confidence. Meaning, when the question mark gets larger.
However, those times don't come as often as when I was a true believer in an organized spiritual system.
Makes sense. You don't need to be renewed when you don't have a faith that's grown old and stale. Every day is new and fresh for me now, because I don't cling to rigid patterns of acting and thinking nearly as much.
In short, you can't feel like you're off the path if you're not on one.
I do have my own way, though. We all do. There's no way to go through life without your own manner of making sense of it – which I called finding your own meaning in meaninglessness.
Churchless types like me have reached a point where we've accepted that there's no demonstrable proof of one religion, philosophy, or meditation approach being superior to any other. The ultimate truth may be out there, but it does a damn good job of hiding itself.
Some people find comfort in numbers. They enjoy belonging to a faith with adherents in the millions or billions. However, even if 100% of people believe in something that's wrong, this doesn't make it right.
So there's good reason to add one more belief system to the countless varieties already extant: your own. That way you don't need to go anywhere for a revival. You can renew your faith from right inside your own head.
I don't have any general advice about how to do this. All I know is what I find helpful, which might only work for me. It's pretty much the same as what makes my dancing go better, a subject I've written about quite a bit in the Tango/Dance section of my other blog.
Confidence. Trust in yourself. Leading decisively.
Or, following. Because while dancing with a partner involves separate roles, a leader and a follower, when you're dancing life with yourself you're both a leader and a follower. (See "I'm learning to Tango with life.")
Patterns are a big part of ballroom dancing. But patterns are made to be broken. Then we get into a higher form of dance, with a lot more spontaneity and creativity. I'm not there yet. I can see the promised land, though.
In the form of accomplished dancers, like the woman my wife and I took an Argentine Tango workshop from last Saturday. Rachel, like some spiritual teachers, has the ability to inspire her students to expand their horizons. What she can't do, though, is dance for them.
One of the points Rachel emphasized at the workshop is that Argentine Tango, unlike any other dance style (and she knows most of them), can be danced to just about any music.
Why? Because Tango is spontaneous, fully led and fully followed.
Its patterns are linked in a patternless fashion, once you get beyond the beginner's necessary repetition of basic movements. The follower can't anticipate what move is coming next, because the leader can go in many different directions, following his (or her) own sense of rhythm.
I pretty much said it all in "Dancing Tango with myself." Of course, I'm still needing to say it. That's part of dancing with life.
One of the central themes of The Tango Lesson, a great movie, is the tension between leading and following. In a climactic scene Pablo Veron tells Sally Potter, his partner: "You should do nothing. When you dance—just follow! Otherwise you destroy my freedom to move."
All I know is that based on my dancing with myself throughout my waking hours, I sympathize with Pablo. Sometimes I'm a terrible follower. I lead myself in a certain direction, then feel resistance. From me.
"Is this the correct thing to do?" "Maybe there's a better way." "Are you sure?" "Shouldn't you think some more before jumping into this?" "How will it look if you make a wrong step?"
Just follow, Brian! Be an empty vessel. Fill yourself with your self.