For most of my life I sought out noise and distractions. Now, I want the opposite. I want to be at peace in quiet moments. Not introspective, or distracted, or hyper-focused. Just at peace.
Perhaps this desire is what helped me stay religious as long as I have. Instead of figuring out how to be at peace with myself, I got to fill it with the busywork of maintaining a connection with the divine. My life seemed to make sense. Not because what I was taught made sense, but because I kept telling myself there was a method to the madness.
Without that belief, I don’t have to maintain the sound and fury of trying to please something lurking in my imagination. There’s no excuse for me to existentially punish myself for every little mistake I make. Granted, I still do the latter to some degree, but old habits die hard, I guess.
For me, there has been nothing quite as liberating as not having to believe in a deity anymore. The experience was nothing I was told it would be when I held onto my faith. Liberation doesn’t come from some sort of ego trip or narcissistic urge – as much as people in Christianity says it does. Rather, it comes from the peace of understanding my place in life isn’t divinely ordained.
No one can promise me tranquility. If I want it, I will have to go looking for it on my own. In the moments I do have it, I feel like I have shelter in a storm.