Posts Tagged ‘psychological attachments’

The Tribe

The Tribe

Throughout human history the tribe has been both the context and safety zone for the individual. Without any choice of our own we are born into a tribe, a collection of families and individuals under a common banner, labelled by some distinctive characteristic that separates us from the other.

In my own case I was born into the somewhat politically and religiously obsessed tribe that goes by the name of ‘The Ulster Protestant’. With its heady mix of a strong work effort and a distrust of the Church of Rome, the Ulster Protestant is a strange wee creature. His or her love for duty and a shrunken world view make for an insular and somewhat claustrophobic life experience.

And yet the members of my old tribe don’t realise it, at least until they escape from the disputed ‘Six Counties’ for a career abroad or indeed a two-week break to the cheap sun-drenched Spanish holiday resorts. Bizarrely though the old defensive and somewhat self-inflated sense of being something special among the sons of men quickly re-establishes itself, once back in the gold-fish and tense dual-tribed space known as Northern Ireland or The North.

The Ulster Protestant is usually a decent but somewhat emotionally frigid creature who takes great security from the wealth and prestige accumulated by having the right contacts within the often hierarchical society based on the God down model and fear of lack. No wonder the Ulster Scots made great frontiersmen in the Old West – Daniel Boone and all that.

When it comes to religion the Ulster Protestant loves his God with a guilt-driven zeal or abandons himself to an earthly vices or strong language and very strong drink. The former half of my old tribe are constantly on a war footing to try to bring the latter half back into their god-fearing, church based fold. When one of the other tribe, the Roman Catholic, Irish Nationalist jumps ship and sees the evangelical Light, the Ulster Protestant jumps for joy, for such a conversion only reinforces the predominant view that God is truly on our side, for God and Ulster and all that.

Many of my old friends have managed to hang in there with the tribe, albeit the Christian Charismatic version, with their bubbly love for all; at least all who believe as they believe. Raise the issue of serious theological doubts and the back door will be opened for one’s ushered escape.

So how weird are our tribes?

They promise much but eventually after years of containment the human psyche-soul screams out for release. At least it can do. If the sedative of tribal acceptance is stronger than our desire to find our Self, then we remain, to be buried and laid into the ground of our forefathers.

The transpersonal crisis that cuts through our psychic equilibrium is often the critical game changer in our identity setting. Such an experience often shows the world view of our tribe to be erroneous or somewhat lacking at best. The painful energy of such an event often projects us into a whole new view of both life and God.

The god of the tribe is left behind as a totem representation of the tribe’s perception of itself and its raison d’être. The god around whom we dance the illusory dance of victory each Sunday morning in somber suits or trendy Charisma.

Living outside a tribe is a somewhat scary experience and yet one where we are not alone. Here in the desert of our Being we find One that draws alongside – One who knows what it is like to be hung out to dry outside the city walls of the Tribe.

So, which tribe do we presently associate with? Which rituals and identity games provide us with a pseudo-sense of security and well-being, the benefits of being on top in the human rankings. If we look carefully we shall see the bars of our prison with its inviting open door. The courage is given. Enough said.







Read Full Post »

Religious Attachments Again

Religious Attachments Again

I’ve been amazed over the last few days at how many folk have visited my old Post ‘ How To Recognize Dysfunctional Religious Attachments’. One commentator thought the title a bit of a mouthful, better used for the title of a thesis perhaps! Don’t I just love honesty on the blogosphere! Of course the young lady in question has a valid point, so from now on my post titles will be much shorter and snappier!

So why more on dysfunctional religious attachments?

Well, simply because many of us still appear to have a psycho-spiritual itch that no-one has dared put a name to. To do so would risk immediate expulsion from the religious flock of choice. Since I’m long gone from the power plays of Sunday morning faith life I’ll step forward and put my Irish spiritual neck on the religious block. So, here goes:

Attachments are the invisible chords that hold us into a psychological dependency on a group, person or thing. Usually though they operate best on a person-to-person basis, often in the disguise of undying love or admirable commitment.  They appear to be the chords of love but are far from it, for true love is cordless, releasing the beloved to roam at will. You can see why these attachments attach themselves to the matters of religious belief and practice. It’s a great breeding ground for them as they try to hide in the respectable setting of God and His people.

Attachments are clever little creatures. They can adapt chameleon-like to whatever surroundings they find themselves in. There are Catholic attachments, Protestant attachments, Orthodox attachments, Pentecostal attachments, non denominational attachments etc, etc. Even in the heightened environs of those who claim to practice authentic Christianity in their recovered New Testament church models lurk the dreaded attachments with their insidious attempt to lock up sincere folk within the Matrix of metaphysical desire.

Matrix? Where did that come from? Well, if you’ve seen the movie you’ll remember the shocking setting; rows and rows, tier after tier of embryonic bodies having the life sucked out of them by the merciless machines, as they dreamed of normal life. So to in our religious life?

I believe so.

As we sit in our pews or cushioned plastic seats each Sunday morning we’re lining up to suck a metaphysical certainty of sorts out of our pastor, preacher, priest in exchange for our loyalty. In other words, he/she dishes out the faith and we keep coming and perhaps more importantly, paying.

The psychic glue that keeps the whole sacred attachment show on the road is of course desire and its insidious offspring expectation. We want to know God. Wonderful! Yet this is not a desire in isolation – it has a not so hidden context. We want to know God like Pastor Joe or Rev. Jones or Sister Mary or ……….. This is the key to our dependency, the attachment that locks us into a quasi-like devotion to those who appear to dispense the very life of God. Of course any of us who’ve willingly played the role of spiritual dispenser on a professional basis knows that although we work for God we are in fact chained to our people for both authentication, approval and cash flow. Like a quick-sand that pulls one down into the darkness of death, the ministry game, whether paid or hobby-like in nature has many skeletons in its white-washed cupboards.

Well Dylan, that’s all very well but thankfully I only depend on Jesus!

Wonderful, but may I humbly make a couple of perhaps pointed observations:

1) If you genuinely depend on Jesus why not try giving up attendance at religious services or meetings for the next three months. I respectfully suggest that you might experience some cold turkey symptoms linked to people or group dependency on your newly acquired, quiet Sunday mornings.

2) I wonder if Jesus, or Yeshua as his Jewish mum called him, wants you to be dependent on him. Was the goal of the Nazarene to have a multitude of followers trailing like little puppy dogs or a band of brothers and sisters to join him in the Divine Dance?

Sadly most of us only realize our addictions when we try to give up the substance concerned. I’m sitting here in Cafe Nero, ( I know, not a great name for Christians!), my local coffee shop with my regular Americano in hand. If I’d skipped it this morning I’d most certainly have a headache by 1 p.m. So too with our religious habits.

What is it in our spiritual life that deep down we suspect we’re dependent on? What has hooked us into a religious dependency that we just can’t admit? Many of us, fueled by a fear of rejection, will fight tooth and nail for our spiritual fixes in the guise of zealous God lovers.

As we let go of our various religious Attachments it can appear that our spiritual life is about to rapidly go down the drain of non belief.

Not so.

Alone in our vulnerability we shall feel the Divine Hand reach out to lead us in the Dance of Life. The Dancer and the Dance, a celebration of Union and freedom; the freedom to be and to give Love, no strings attached.


Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: