My Rollercoaster Relationship with Religion

Today I am going to mix it up a bit. I am not going to give you the next part of the Unfinished Letter to MR BIG BLUE (because I am sure you are a bit fed up of hearing about this man). Instead, we can talk about my relationship with religion. I am hoping we can stir up a bit of debate on the blog as religion tends to be a bit of a contentious issues.

I’ve never been big on religion or God. My dad always taught me if I wanted something I needed to get out there and work for it instead of sitting on my butt all day praying for it.

From the outset I knew MR BIG BLUE had some strong religious beliefs. At first I was open-minded and I went to visit the Hare Krishna temple with him. It was pretty cool and bit strange (isn’t all religion though?) but the people had a sweet nature about them (although a bit airy fairy) and they were welcoming.

For the first couple of years of our relationship I was fine about his religion. We went to the temple on and off. We went to eat the restaurant connected to the temple at weekends. We were both vegetarian (it was an easy enough transition for me as I didn’t eat much meat anyway). We used to watch documentaries about his faith – some were really cool and others were boring (he’d get upset with me for saying something like that or being in any way critical of the faith). We even took a city break once and went to visit a bigger HK centre.

I didn’t mind religion in moderation. We could still do fun activities. Go on hikes. Dinners out with friends. Movies. Concerts. Vacations. Picnics on the beach.

fanatic religion
Is it Fanatics that put normal people off religion?

Then things changed. I don’t know exactly when or why but it felt like overnight. MR BIG BLUE had a crisis. He said he wanted to eat meat again, started smoking cigars and drinking a lot. It upset me. I didn’t understand why. I didn’t want to eat meat again or self-destruct.

But this phase didn’t last long. He soon sobered up but he felt so guilty for his lapse. Because of this he started to spend more time at the temple. Too much time in fact. He started to go to the temple instead of going to work. In the end that contributed to him getting fired from his job. With no job to give him structure and wages he started to spend even more time at the temple. This angered me. While I was busy slaving away at my desk. He was chanting, dancing (and busy chatting up the Other Women) at the temple. He wasn’t bringing in any money. With just one wage we couldn’t afford to do anything fun. He wasn’t even looking for a job, it wasn’t a priority for him. I felt like he didn’t care about me anymore. He was always with them because they allowed him to escape the problem rather than tackle it head on. I started to hate the Hare Krishnas for this.

This made me draw away from them. I felt they had brought him down and would bring me down too. I needed to surround myself with go-getters. So I found other friends and spent more time with them doing normal fun things. The same things I used to do with MR BIG BLUE. Even during the brief moments we’d spend together he was so fanatical. I couldn’t listen to any music other than Hare Krishna songs. We’d have to always say special prayers before eating. We’d only watch Hare Krishna documentaries. I was being suffocated.

So I ended our rental contract. As much as it broke my heart I said if he wanted to spend so much time at the Hare Krishna temple he should move in there. I decided I would move into a flat share with a random to get my space. I was over all the fighting. So that is what we did…

After he moved into the temple I thought that was it. He had chosen the religion over me. Finished. But we were still in touch. He’d visit me at my flat and bring prasadam (special food that had been offered to the deities) and he invited me to special festivals at the temple.He gave me a special copy of the Bhagavad Gita As It Is (the same scripture he would later swear he hadn’t had a relationship with me on.) and wrote a message inside the cover saying that I should seek shelter in this book if I ever felt sad or missed him. We also started to do other fun things like  going to the beach, picnics in the park, weekends away, hiking, camping. He even got a bike and started cycling with me.

Because of this element of balance I started to take more interest in the religion. I started chanting the Hare Krishna Maha Mantra and it felt good. I can’t tell you why but I felt peaceful. I wasn’t so angry anymore. During Kartik I started to offer lamps to Lord Krishna in my home and make small offerings. I felt good waking up early to chant a few rounds before work. I even got to attend a Hare Krishna wedding and MR BIG BLUE and I joked that maybe that would be us one day. I though we had found a middle ground somewhere we could both be happy. I was wrong.

Then all the drama happened. My world got shattered. I began to question everything again.

Hypocrisy in Religion -  Was MR BIG BLUE the perfect example of this?
Hypocrisy in Religion – Was MR BIG BLUE the perfect example of this?

If there was a God, why would he let something so awful happen to me at the exact time when I had actually taken to religion for once in my life? Should I have trusted my gut instincts that religious people are just hypocrites – saying one thing and doing another? Does religion force people into making choices just to impress other members of the congregation? Can I truly believe anything I learned from the Hare Krishna movement or is it all false? Is there any space for religion in my future without MR BIG BLUE? Would it be better for me to stop going to the temple all together?

Hmmmm….Somethings there for all of to think about, right? So please do tell me about your own religion experiences and how you would approach this situation.

A bit of a long post to keep you entertained over the weekend. Lets get talking peeps.

Till next week my darlings LOVE and hugs

Cinders x o x o

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20 thoughts on “My Rollercoaster Relationship with Religion

  1. Religion itself is (should be) a good thing. Gives us hope, peace… A way of belonging. I have similar experience.

    Although I don’t have a religion, I do believe in a bigger force.. I do believe in some sort of god.. I tried a few times to go to church.. But some people ruined this for me. They were too judgemental. I could write a book on it. Even when I was hanging out with people my age and went To bible study.. I felt so judged for speaking out my opinion and question regarding the bible and god. I left the church a long time ago..

    I found my own way to ‘believe’. I sometimes meditate, I pray at times, I do good, don’t harm anyone, etc. I think religion begins within.

    I think the people ruin religion.. It’s quite sad

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    • Yep well said moondai. 🙂 I always say I don’t hate religion, I just hate religious people. Its no different to a work place as far as I am concerned. Everyone is trying to be the best follower or devotee.

      I enjoy chanting meditation and doing charity projects. I just hate the judgement and pressure put on people to be more saintly.

      Thankyou for sharing your experiences.

      Cinders x o x o

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  2. Ok…there is a difference between being a religious person and a spiritual person, what you are describing with MR BIG Blue is religious. Jesus was a spiritual person with balance. Hate is a strong word and yes self righteousness can and does turn many off towards organized religion enough to find their own brand of religion. So the question to you is are you a religious person or a spiritual person and can you over come the actions of a few if it leads you to a close relationship with God?

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    • I guess I am a spiritual person. I am interested in religion. I believe there is something more than just us controlling everything. I believe in karma. I think there is something you can draw from all religions. None of them in essence is bad. I just don’t want to get involved with the people, their drama, the hypocrisy, etc because at the end of the day each of these religions allows its idiot practioners to represent the movement and thats what puts me off. I guess no matter what I decide to do in the future what I’ve learnt from the HK movement and their essential philosophy will stay with me at least to some degree.

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      • Part of religion is dealing with people of whatever religion youre a part of. Remember every religion is made up of imperfect people so you can not expect everyone to be all of what they claim to be. Because of being imperfect, we tend to be overly righteous meaning that we go to extremes when it comes to religion. Dont be too harsh on organized religion we all are accountable for how we treat others.

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      • I know you are right. If we take the essence of any religion its not bad. It would be nice if we didn’t have to meet the people or have them be so judgemental on us.

        Since I was a child I was fed up of being part of a culture where ppl were obsessed with impressing one another and making excuses for a person just because they came from a certain country, culture, religion, etc. I feel religion does the same thing…thats why I am so conflicted.

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      • Well meeting people is a part of life that we cannot avoid, we not only meet the ones we like but we learn there are ones we don’t like and for what reasons we don’t like them. Religion gives us hope and our faith gives us reason to believe and reason to hold fast what is true. It’s not about making excuses its about realizing that we all are imperfect and learn how to look past the imperfections.

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      • I know what you are saying everyone comes into our lives to teach us something…no experience can be completely negative.

        I grew up in a culture where people would sweep an issue under the carpet just because the person was ‘a friend’ or of the same culture etc. There was once this man who was a bit of pervert, liked to cuddle little girls a bit too tight when he got drunk and was a accused of making passes at them. When the father of one of the girls was told that this pervert had come on to his daughter, he said he talked to his daughter had not come to him (we learned later that he was busy doing a business deal with the pervert at the time). I went to my parents and told them that I thought this man needed to be outed for his disgusting behaviour and ostracized by the community and maybe even go to the police (I was probably about 15 at the time, and the guy never did anything to me.). My parents told me not to get involved and that we had to bear in mind that this man had a wife and kids. WTF??? Who cares about his wife and kids when he could potentially hurt other kids?? Who cares about a business deal??? I said to them what if this guy was from a different culture would they then be willing to go to the cops. They were silent.

        Just one anecdote there.

        I believe that if someone does something wrong they needed to be outed for it. No excuses, especially lame ones like culture/religion !!!!

        Sorry but it makes me rageful. I am ok with religion and what they stand for but if someone misrepresents their religion doesn’t there come a point when seniors say enough is enough… we need to ostracize the bad people to show that we practice what we preach ??

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  3. My personal opinion is you should not be using the Hare Krishna temple, unless you are a member. They are an organized religious sect and if you do not believe fully in their movement, you should not be there. It feels hypocritical to me. I think you are trying to find comfort in something that used to be. You need to find your own path, whatever that may be. I grew up Lutheran. Went to church, bible studies, catechism and got confirmed. Was married in the church, as well. I have gotten away from actually going to church, but my belief is still there. I am very spiritual and have found my own path. Please evaluate your reasons for continuing to go to the Temple. I believe if you really think about this, you will find that your reasons are not really what you think they are. Hope that makes sense. Hugs

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    • I wouldn’t say I am a member. I wouldn’t want to associate myself with any religion. However, I enjoy some of the philosophical talks they have. I enjoy the yoga classes and their charity programme which feeds underprivileged kids. . The nice thing about the HK movement is that they allow anyone to come and take part. While you should be respectful there is no obligation for a visitor to follow any of their principles. Some of the people are wonderful and really do represent the faith well…kind hearted, soft people…not hypocritical like MR BIG BLUE. Many have asked me not to completely give up on the faith and not judge the movement by MR BIG BLUE’s actions or those of the Divorcee, etc.

      Maybe in time I will move away from them completely. I won’t ever become a full on devotee but I don’t feel like I should now be forced away from a place I learnt so much at already.

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  4. You asked if people thought you should not go to the temple anymore. I gave you my thoughts. Then you turn around and defend yourself and say you shouldn’t have to give it up. You answered your own question.

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    • Was just making a point that when I first went there I thought it had no purpose for me but then I learnt that it did. Now it seems silly to give it up and go back to my old ways just because of the MR BIG BLUE drama.

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  5. This is a reply to your comment on my blog. I didn’t know where else to drop a line, so I’m leaving it here. A lot, far too much of this particular post, sounds familiar to me. And it sounds to me like it’s too late for you and MBB. Actually, it sounds like it’s too late for him. That’s really too bad. Though I could say quite a bit about it, I’ll just say one thing here, and then you can get in touch directly if you want to talk more (send an email to the title of my blog, all one word, no hyphen, @gmail.com).

    Groups like ISKCON appeal to a person’s sense of being somehow broken or not good enough – they prompt new recruits to identify something lacking in themselves and then promise that by following their process, in this case chanting HK, whatever is lacking will be magically fixed. You can tell someone’s bought what a cult’s selling when he no longer cares about normal relationships and responsibilities and instead spends all his time doing things related to the cult (like you describe above). To put it another way, in ISKCON the apparent satisfaction you get from chanting your quota every day and following their rules replaces the need to seek out and win satisfaction from other things like being good at your job or being a good husband/son/friend/student/whatever. That is, if you fill your quota and follow the rules, you feel like you’ve got everything under control (even if your life is a complete mess outside the cult). Of course, all of this is reinforced by the idea that all these supposedly spiritual things you’re doing are far more important than anything you could possibly do in the so-called material world. In fact, to them the spiritual stuff is ALL that’s important.

    It’s pretty clear that MBB has already made that mental shift. Even if he were able to change his relative spiritual and material priorities, he would have to be all right with breaking a promise. (He’s taken initiation, right?) And doing that will likely just confirm for him that he’s a horrible, broken person who’s not good enough and is lacking something that only the cult and their allegedly spiritual practices can provide.

    My advice, short and maybe not so sweet, is this: Don’t make the same mistake he did. Be glad they haven’t convinced you that you need them to be of value. Do your own thing. Be yourself. And hope MBB will eventually realize he’s been taken advantage of.

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  6. Wow. Thank you for taking the time to make such a long and detailed comment.

    MBB comes from a great family, but he has some family issues (he was adopted when he was a kid) and now he feels that this is his family. They have been there for him in many ways, but also taken advantage of him. They gave him a roof over his head and food, but what else ? He ended up losing his job, home, money because of them…he has isolated himself from his family and me.

    I have to admit there are things I do like about the HKs and some of them have been very kind to me. But I am a strong willed person. I had more morals than both the Other Women, the Divorcee and MR BIG BLUE all of whom consider themselves very good Vaishnavas. I always think I never got these morals from the Bible or Bhagavadgita but from my parents and maybe watching a few too many Disney movies as a kid 🙂

    MR BIG BLUE just got initiated and thats where half the problems began. He felt he had to lie about having a relationship with me in order to get initiation. His spiritual master and senior devotees knew about our relationship and knew he was lying so they still let the initiation go ahead.

    I would love it if you could read this post and tell me your thoughts on the ORACLE – https://hoplesslyromanticcinderella.wordpress.com/2015/01/30/counting-my-blessings-part-2-new-friendships

    Look forward to hearing more from you 🙂 Cinder x o x o

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