Like many of us in the US, I was raised as a member of organized religion.
But by the time I was 17, I knew the faith I grew up in wasn’t for me. For the next 27 years, I did a lot of spiritual searching, and felt intensely uncomfortable in any kind of church. I did eventually find my way—into a brand of spirituality that really works for me. I’ve come to call it hybrid spirituality: one that incorporates beliefs from more than one faith tradition, and is open to including even more.
My purpose here isn’t to slam anyone who’s found a comfortable place in conventional religion; everyone has to follow their own path. What I am saying is that, for some of us, a spirituality that incorporates more than one tradition is a beautifully fulfilling thing. If that kind of spirituality turns out to be the path that nourishes one’s spirit and opens one up into a relationship with the Divine, I have a feeling God wouldn’t mind. In fact, I think God would be rejoicing.
So many of us in so many faiths have been taught that there’s only one “right way” to believe, only one chosen people or right way to worship. I contend that the only “right way” is the one that works for each individual as a path to a more fulfilled life and a deeper walk with the Divine. There’s nothing wrong with picking and choosing what does work—even if it involves making a different choice than the one you grew up with. Even if it combines elements of more than one spiritual tradition.
For me, my combination of traditions fulfills just about everything I need from a spiritual system. My traditions are beautifully inclusive: people of every age, race, creed, and sexual preference are welcome. My traditions also acknowledge both the male and female aspects of God; they reverence the earth and nature; and they conceive of God as being within us, without, and in all things. They have a moral compass. They also recognize the enormous power of thought, and encourage self-responsibility for the thoughts and actions we produce. And, very importantly for me, my traditions recognize the vast potential in us humans, and acknowledge the deeper mysteries underlying our familiar reality.
Where did I find all this? Primarily in the Science of Mind tradition (also known as Centers for Spiritual Living), in combination with Wicca and a few elements of the conventional church I grew up in. As I continue to learn and explore, I realize I also have some beliefs in common with Spiritualism and Theosophy. And I’m open to incorporating even more.
So—are you a person with hybrid spirituality? What’s the combination that works for you? I’d love to hear from you.