With the Thanksgiving holiday coming up here in the United States tomorrow, I was trying to decide whether to write something thanks giving'ly for today's blog post.
Problem is, I don't like forced or expected expressions of any sentiment, including thankfulness.
If it isn't spontaneous and natural, an emotion isn't truly genuine. At least, that's the way I feel. Telling someone, "Say that you love me" -- pointless.
But then I thought about the month and year, November 2014, and realized that it's been almost exactly ten years since I started this Church of the Churchless blog. My first post was November 21, 2004.
(The first month's posts can be perused here.)
This realization stirred up some genuine thankfulness in me. Mostly toward the people who have read my writings, commented on posts, emailed me with praise, criticism, and questions.
I'm deeply grateful to each and every one of you -- including those who have showered me with some wonderfully creative insults and profanity. For them I started a "I Hate Church of the Churchless" blog where haters could leave their entertaining comments.
For me this blog has been a terrific learning experience. Also, fun.
I never really know what I'm going to say until I finish writing a post. Meaning, the act of trying to communicate my churchless ideas brings out fresh insights.
As of today this blog has totaled 1,998 posts; 29,056 comments; 2,303,753 page views. Yay, us! You, me, everybody.
The posts serve as a sort of diary for me. A diary that I can search via the Google box in the right sidebar, something I do frequently. I enjoy going back in time and seeing how my views on various subjects -- God, meditation, morality, whatever -- have changed over the past decade.
There's a trajectory here. Difficult to sum up in a few words, or any words. Yet evident to me.
By writing every other day or so about what's on my mind philosophically/ spiritually/ scientifically, I feel like I've grown more than I would have if I'd kept my ideas to myself. Everybody is different. For me, trying to express what is ultimately inexpressible -- how I see myself and the world -- brings me more in touch with whoever or whatever the heck I really am.
More and more, I feel there is no such thing as I really am. Which is refreshing. When I started this blog, I felt there was some hidden inner essence of me and reality -- soul and spirit -- that needed discovering.
Now I've become... I don't know how to say it.
A mash-up believer of non-religious Buddhism, Taoism, and neuroscience perhaps is the best way I can put it. I don't believe in an unchanging self or soul, nor in life after death. The questions I tried to unravel for over thirty-five years have mostly dissolved for me.
I haven't arrived at any answers that make sense for anyone other than myself. That's enough for me now: living as happily as possible; doing what I can to make my neighborhood, city, state, nation, and planet a better place; trying to know what can be known, while letting the unknowable rest as it is.
I'll keep on with this here Church of the Churchless until I feel like not keeping on. Don't know when, or if, that will happen. I'm fine with not knowing this, as well as lots of other things.
What I do know, though, is that I'm thankful for everybody who reads my posts and comments on them. Without you, this blog would be a lonely place.