It is hard to be a skeptic

For 40-something years, I lived in the clutches of religion and supersticion. Some of the members of my family are extremely religious/supersticious and I was under that influence; for instance, I would not walk under a ladder or between a light pole and its tensioning wire because the ladder, wall and floor or the pole, floor and wire form a triangle... and you are not supposed to walk through a triangle, it somehow "distorts" your aura or something. I actually felt my aura "around me" and would feel extremely uneasy if I accidentally walked through any such triangle.

But the worst part of all was THE BOOK: dog-eared, stained, its pages almost loose, we had read it over and over. THE BOOK was "Self-Mastery and Fate With the Cycles of Life", one of the essential books of the rosicrucian's library. This book was written by H. Spencer Lewis, ostensibly the founder of the Rosicrucian order in San Jose, CA, and our family lived by it.

Very succintly, THE BOOK states that there are several time cycles in our lives: daily, yearly and an overarching one that goes in seven year intervals over your whole life. For instance, in the daily cycle there are seven periods in the day, each one aproximately 3 hours and 26 minutes (frack, I forget so many things and not this one!); the first one starts at midnight and lasts until 3:26 am; second one ending at 6:52, etc. These seven periods, each identified with a letter from A to G would alternate during the week, so that, for instance, Monday morning it would be E (6:52 to 10:17 am) and Tuesday, E would be at night (from 8:34 pm to midnight) and so on. (Again, I forget many things but those seem to be etched in my memory). The yearly cycle had 42 days and started on your birthday... I never really got around to the life-cycle, I think it was seven years long. So complicated.

All these timeframes had definite properties and there were things you should not do and things that were bound to be successful if started at the right time.

We lived our lives by this schedule. I got marrried in April (it was difficult to figure out the right month, what with my girlfriend and I having different yearly cycles since we did not share the same birthday) and on a Saturday evening (because it was B, a good time to get married - don't do it on E!). I tried to schedule my customer appointments according to these rules and it was a nightmare.

A good example of confirmation bias. Now that I look back on the whole thing I can remember things that went bad because they were started "at a bad time" as we used to say but so many things we tried to get well done and we did them at "a good time" never came to fruition. Of course, I remember the bad ones and not the good ones that never happened.

I got accepted into the rosicrucian order. I was told it was an accomplishment as I had been "spiritually" examined and found worthy.

I also got into the Self Realization Fellowship. I still have my credential somewhere.

This was part of the baggage that I got rid of when I convinced myself (or rather, gave myself permission) to stop believing in the supernatural. And this is one of the reasons why I say becoming an agnostic has been such a liberating experience. Not only am I guilt free (I am only human after all) but I am also freer with my time... now I have time to do many things at any moment I please.

Anyway, it is hard to be skeptic. It was difficult to convince myself that it was OK to meet people on Friday evening or Sunday afternoon. It was so difficult to stop my "aura" from tangling on those damn light poles! It took me a while and I may still not be "baggage free" as I sometimes catch myself exclaiming the G word or wondering if I should get out of the sidewalk to avoid that triangular configuration ahead.

But... practice makes perfect, they say. And I am happier now than I ever was before. Being a skeptic is hard but is worth it. Try it.

1 comment:

El ultimo De Paz said...

Sorry, I can´t post a comment, isn´t the right time.