For many years, at least seventeen, but really even longer, I've been steadily discarding bits and pieces of the religious beliefs (Eastern variety) that held sway in my mind for thirty-five years.
I've done away with overt religiosity, but subtle remnants remain.
For example, at times during the day for a short period I like to repeat a Buddhist mantra, Namu Amida Butsu.
And while mindfulness doesn't strike me as being at all religious, sometimes I go beyond simply paying close attention to what I'm doing and imagine that mindfulness can lead to benefits such as fewer problems in my life.
That might be the case. However, that sort of imagining can edge mindfulness into prayer territory, a hope for what might be rather than focusing on what is in the present moment.
Last night I had an interesting experience.
It was one of those times where I feel like something that's been churning away in my unconscious suddenly bursts through into conscious awareness -- unexpectedly, strongly, clearly.
The experience only lasted a second or two.
What flashed brightly in my mind was a message that wasn't expressed in words, but via an intuition. Stop. Just stop.
Instantly, without thought, I knew what the "stop" meant.
Stop finding problems in your life when they don't actually exist.
Stop trying to improve yourself, since you don't have a self.
Stop trying to control what can't be controlled.
Stop adding an unnecessary "spiritual" dimension to reality.
The flip side of that "stop" was equally vivid.
Embrace not knowing.
Today I still had a feeling along the lines I've just described. I had a lot of chores to do. I did them. All of them. I didn't make more out of them than was necessary.
Here and now physical reality seemed just fine to me.
Yes, things weren't perfect. I didn't need them to be. I didn't even need them to be any different than what they were.
That included my mind, my awareness, my focus, my emotions, my thoughts.
I felt like a psychological weight had been released from my psyche, a burden consisting of should's left over from the many years when my mind was filled with religious rules, vows, commandments, aspirations, and such.
Of course, this isn't the first time I've had that sort of "Stop. Just stop." message appear in my mind. Here's some blog posts along that line.