WHY I'VE SPENT 80+ HOURS STUDYING THE BIBLE
"You gotta be so grounded in yourself such that these illusions nor other people's perceptions of you can shake you." - Papa Kim
My dad is Buddhist and he comes from a Catholic family. My mom is atheist and she comes from a Buddhist family. I didn’t grow up with much religion. My dad would tell me cool things about Buddhism once in a while, that’s about it.
I’ve never been super fond of Christianity. White supremacy, the patriarchy, colonialism - in my mind, it’s attached to a lot of violence and corruption. But last year, I was curious as to why there was such a strong connection between the residents of the Downtown Eastside and this religion. So I went to a week-long bible study camp called MarkWest and studied the first half of the Book of Mark. When I got home, I wrote a blog post about my learnings.
This year, I did another 40 hours to finish the Book of Mark. Why did I go again this year? Because life shook me up. I burned out in April - hard. I realized that my work with The Tipping Point has been more driven by my fear of pain than by my love for people. And that was because I didn’t love myself enough. I needed to learn self-acceptance. I needed to feel grounded.
I went into this second week of bible study with emotional receptivity. Another 40+ hours of bible study, consecutive days of crying, and a week later, I came to a number realizations.
I was taught that suicide is considered a huge sin in many religions. It felt incredibly invalidating of mental illness and I was irked at the thought of sin. This past month, I learned that to sin is to miss the mark. The mark is 100% love. There are times when we try our best, but fear gets in the way, and we still sin. And that’s okay. The goal isn’t to never sin. The goal is to act with as much love as possible.
There is suffering on the path to love. I had questioned the intensity of suffering in the past few years of my life. I’ve been questioning the suffering that is required to move forward with The Tipping Point movement. But I was validated in that I have been doing it right.
To be connected to greatness, i.e. The Universe, God, The Creator, is like hang gliding. You are the one flying, possibly with mixed emotions of fear and excitement, but something has got your back.
I want to be able to see myself for the entirety of who I am. There’s a passage in the Book of Mark where a blind man asks Jesus to be able to see. That day, I broke down crying at the brokenness of myself. To which my friend said, “I hope you will be able to see yourself the way God sees you - with love and forgiveness.”
I give fear and pain so much power because it is familiar. I am afraid of change, of the possibility of slipping back into that dark place. But what are the chances? I am a different person now.
Healing is harder than surviving. Surviving is preventing myself from leaning into suicidal intent. Healing is acknowledging the suicidal past and becoming more open to love.
It is not easy to open yourself up to love. Many of us never learned to receive it in healthy ways. But on the last day of camp, I did open myself up - just a little bit. Love poured through me and I cried tears of relief and gratitude. Love is a phenomenal thing.
I am learning about love from different perspectives. I am a spiritual learner. I am a follower of Jesus, I am a follower of the Buddha, and I am a follower of New Age spirituality. I will continue to learn from all religions and cultures and enrich my own spiritual identity for a more grounded, loving life.
Shoutout to the Intervarsity Christian Fellowship community for their embrace and acceptance of the entirety of who I am.
How has your religious or spiritual practices affected your worldview? What did they teach you about love? Send us a message or share this blog post with a comment!