hybridize: mixing faith traditions for spiritual gain
recently i’ve been reading about buddhism. my interest was piqued when a friend showed me bill moyer’s interview with pema chodron for his series faith and reason. i’ve watched the interview a few times and find chodron’s ideas about groundlessness and being hooked and suffering compelling. after my third viewing, i decided to pick up one of chodron’s books and read it to get a more in-depth understanding of her teachings. her ideas about compassion and finding divinity within, among others, rang true for me. maybe someday i’ll write about those ideas in greater detail.
what i’m interested in today is whether it’s possible to be a mormon hybrid. i have real problems with the church. some of them are cultural. some of them are doctrinal. some of them are ethical. some of them have to do with my personal spirituality. i’ve been struggling for a long time now with how to maintain my own integrity while practicing mormonism. i regularly consider the option of simply not practicing mormonism, but i’m not quite ready for that step–if only because i don’t want to hurt my family.
while reading chodron’s book when things fall apart, i began wondering about the possibility of a hybrid religious identity. this is not the first time such an idea has occurred to me. i’ve actively experimented with providing myself a spiritual home in the local quaker meeting while still attending mormon meetings. i find a great deal more spiritual peace in quaker meeting than in mormon meetings, which keeps me returning to meeting. and, having read chodron’s book, i find myself drawn to some of the private spiritual practices she teaches, including meditation and tonglen. i think these practices could give me some spiritual equilibrium that i do not find in practicing mormonism–equilibrium that may allow me to continue as a part of the mormon community. and maybe this hybrid of quakerism, buddhism, and mormonism will result in hybrid vigor.
What about you? Have you dabbled in spiritual hybridizing? Do you think it’s possible for someone to hybridize spiritually and remain an active member of a Mormon community? Do you see weaknesses in such an approach? Strengths?