Sunday, January 20, 2013
Losing My Religion, Gaining My Spirituality
This past week, I listened with great interest to the NPR featured series entitled Losing Our Religion. I found it most intriguing, in that during the course of the narrative it talked about how so many people in America have moved away from their core religious beliefs into a more secular space of either agnosticism or atheism. What I found most interesting about the series however, was in my view the glaring omission of one key aspect of this incredibly important transitional process; that of moving through this pivotal phase towards a potentially greater and more nuanced spirituality, while falling away from outmoded, inflexible and dogmatic religious beliefs.
This omission intrigues me because from my own personal perspective and experience, this transitional course is more a part of the natural spiritual progression that most Souls are likely to take in their long-term quest for true enlightenment. I believe this phase (and yes, from a reincarnational Soul perspective I do consider it a phase) to be a kind of weigh station in the ongoing movement towards Spiritual awareness and personal divine understanding. Before something new can grow, something else must first fall away. I know in my own spiritual journey, I transitioned multiple times from a number of religious and spiritual paths, each time bringing me closer to a greater and more intimate relationship with Divine Source. I would be remiss if I didn’t state that this road has not been an easy one, and along the way I’ve had to deal with some jarringly painful resets and reaffirmations in my spiritual understanding and commitment to the ultimate search for truth. I am, however, undaunted in my quest and commitment to finding my way back home, helping as many as I can along the way awaken to their own true purpose and intention.
One key component of my personal steadfastness towards this ultimate journey is an unflinching commitment to the seeking of truth wherever I may find it. This outlook and perspective is what I believe to be the only true way of Soul’s quest for genuine enlightenment. It has served me well these many years. While I would imagine that most of you would also probably espouse to this aspirational metric of truth, the reality is that it is a much trickier and fleeting application than one might admit, fraught with deceptions and disappointments at every turn. The fact of the matter is that more people tend to fall into the category of “Gatekeepers” than Truth Seekers. What I mean by gatekeeper is a person who may claim to seek ultimate truth, but will aggressively defend any challenge, contradiction, or potential threat to their current belief system or paradigm. There way is THE way. This individual will hold to their beliefs with irrational steadfastness, regardless of any rational argument or counterpoint that they may be confronted with. A truth seeker in this same situation will be more apt to weigh all aspects of an argument or thing (no matter how uncomfortable), determining what works for them in their own personal quest for truth. This individual is likely to stay with a belief system for a time, but may ultimately outgrow it, asking questions that cannot be answered by their current paradigm, and move away to something that is more nourishing and spiritually fulfilling for them. This is the way of the truth seeker. It can be a lonely road, but the goal is ultimately why we exist.
Please understand that I am in no way standing in judgment of anyone, far from it. Truth be told, there were moments in my life when I was as strong a gatekeeper as there ever could be, simultaneously believing that I was a truth seeker. But when old beliefs were challenged by new paradigms that shook me to my core, I had to look at them squarely and determine if these greater concepts were in alignment with my deeper spiritual (gut) instincts; were they consistent with the nudge I was getting from my Higher Self? When the answer was ultimately yes, I had to move on regardless of the cost. So I speak from experience, having lived on both sides of this fence.
I believe that world religions are extremely important portals and conduits for spiritual growth and education, but I also believe that we as Soul, as enlightened beings re-awakening to our true origins, were never meant to park forever in one belief system for life. I feel that Religions by their very nature have some legitimate aspects of the truth, but no religion has all of the truth. They are a means to a greater end but not an end in themselves. It is incumbent upon each of us to do the personal work necessary to uncover the truth and reconnect the many puzzle pieces that make up our truth. Ultimately, we come to a point in our own spiritual evolution where we realize that WE are our own path to God.
This reality exists within the backdrop of an ongoing march of Religious fundamentalism throughout our world today. Religions have in many ways been unfortunately co-opted by those who would manipulate and change its original intentions into a toxic mix of selective truth coupled with outrageous, irrational deception. This irrational dogmatic thinking has resulted in justifications for the most horrific acts of terrorism known to man, all under the guise of serving God. This must end, our lives depend on it.
Again, I cannot make this point plain enough; in the final analysis, you are your own path to God. You must find your truth and take your journey; the journey that was meant for you. This is the same journey that those we have historically considered to be Saints, Messiahs, and Prophets have taken. Did they come to this earth in search of the best religion? No. Did they come to this earth to propagate a religion? No. They came to this earth in search of ultimate truth, and in their Divine quest and success became a light for others to follow. This light was designed to help others find their own way, using these Spiritual Masters and icons as archetypes (examples) to help show all of us the way, not by worshipping them but by loving them and replicating (as best as possible) what they did to personally find your own Divine light. We all have the same potential. We only need to exercise our inalienable Spiritual rights. Hopefully we will all take this journey, meeting up at some point along this golden road to share our experiences. I look forward to seeing you on that road and trading epic stories of our adventures together. Namaste.