Any who are familiar with my journey know that I spent many a youthful Sunday morning at Church. I attending more than 7 different denominations, never really finding one that suited my needs. I quit going once I entered college, and spiritually I did not miss it. There was something that I did miss though, the comradery that churches have.
There is more benefit gained by modern churches than just paying dues to God. They develop small communities that are very caring and giving to one another. They also develop a trust among themselves, and of their pastor. When I would have a question about a sermon, the pastor almost always took the time to speak with me about, not dismissing me as too young to understand. Every Sunday I enjoyed sitting among the congregation, attempting to discover that truth that would finally bring me inner peace I strove for.
Since college, most of the spiritual paths I have been on have been mostly solitary pursuits. There are advantages to this as well, but I found a sincere lack of direction. It's hard to know how to proceed when you are your own teacher of material you haven't mastered. My pagan days were numbered and, continuing my search for the right answer I came upon Taoism. The more I read about it, the more I knew I had finally found something special.
I made the transition and finally began calling myself a Taoist, though I was still new to the concept. I read several books, some I continue to read now. But I felt the need to talk to someone, anyone who actually knows more about it and can answer some questions for me. Unfortunately, in a tiny town in Iowa, there is not a lot of cultural options open to me, and I've never met another Taoist. I turned online to a group on Facebook. At first, it seemed like a treasure trove of new information. They references so many things I'd never heard of before.
Then, I started to notice that some people were told they weren't real "Daoists" and called "new age" and dismissed as phonies. It bothered me a lot, because the compassionate Tao I had come to love had no room for this kind of treatment, yet here were many calling themselves Daoist and treating others with disrespect. Worse yet, they seem unable to answer questions without correcting the questioner any flaws they found in their question and then getting so lost in rhetoric to lose all connection with the knowledge the questioner sought. I was getting frustrated, wondering if the fringe was where I belonged, not wanting to be a part of this community, and not caring about old Chinese rituals as much as interpreting the Tao Te Ching and applying it to my life.
Yesterday, I read a blog from a Taoist I follow on here, talking about giving away his Taoist books to inmates, as they could use the guidance more than anyone. It was written a month ago, but somehow glitched and appeared on my feed as yesterday. Reading it, I felt renewed, just seeing an author care so much about the message, not the reward. I had always enjoyed this blog and often thought of buying some of his books. Reading more about the author, I found that he is a speaker at a temple in California. Instantly I longed to be able to attend one of his lectures, or at least visit this temple. I was intensely thrilled to see a link allowing me to watch these lectures streaming online. Finally, the ability to be a part of a community again! I've been going through the archives and have loved the amazing insights I'm gaining from them.
Thank you TrueTao.org for allowing me to stay on my path!